Recently, a push by the Chesapeake Bay Foundation PA Student Leadership Council to make the Eastern Hellbender PA's state amphibian has seen good beginning success. Having written the legislation, the council was able to get PA State Senator Gene Yaw, a Republican representing PA District 23, to sponsor the bill. The bill was introduced by Senator Yaw on May 2, 2017 and had its first consideration June 14, 2017, as well as the addition of multiple co-sponsors. The Hellbender can reach sizes up to 29 1/8 inches long, making it Pennsylvania's largest amphibian. Unfortunately, the behemoth is usually quoted as being "near threatened," and few know many details about the harmless creature. Among PA citizens, especially anglers, the Hellbender gets a bad rap, one example is the fact that it is often called the snot otter. Some common misconceptions about the Hellbender are that it is unlucky for fishing, kills off fish populations, and is vicious. This is not true as the Hellbender is docile and is mostly nocturnal. Bad water quality and pollution have contributed to the Hellbender population decrease, and the fact that in the past fishermen who caught the large amphibian would simply kill it, only making the issue worse. The new bill looks to rectify that by building awareness of the Eastern Hellbender as a gentle species, and increase conservation efforts. The Eastern Hellbender ranges from New York to northern Georgia, and can be found as far westward as Missouri. If the bill passes the Hellbender will get some well needed conservation attention, and hopefully make a quick population recovery. What do you think of PA's possible new state symbol?