Could the trinity alps salamander be a Cryptobranchidae  (Japanese giant salamander and North American Hellbenders)


The Trinity Alps Giant Salamander is an alleged giant salamander that is reported to live in the Trinity Alps of northern California. It is often considered a cryptid, as no specimen has ever been recovered and it is not a recognized species. Although the salamander is larger than most salamander species inside the United States, it is comparable in size to the hellbender. It was first reported in the 19th century and has not been reported frequently since the early 20th century.

Tom Slick led an expedition to search for the creatures, but it was not successful. An elderly man interviewed during the expedition claimed to have seen several salamanders the size of alligators on the lake shore in his youth. A member of the giant salamander family (Cryptobranchidae), known as the hellbender is found in the eastern United States, and in fact the cryptobranchid family may have had its origins in North America.


During the 1920’s Frank L. Griffith reports seeing 5 Giant Salamanders ranging from 5 to 9 feet in length in the Trinity Alps’ New River. In 1939 Thomas L. Rodgers reportedly had the opportunity to study a Giant Salamander caught in the Sacramento River.

In the 1940’s Vern Harden of Pioneer California claimed that he saw nearly a large amount of Giant Salamanders in the remote Hubbard Lake.

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