#Nature Awareness 1/7/2013 - Hellbender. The hellbender is the only North American member of the giant salamander family - a group of three species notable for their exceptional size and wrinkled skin. It is a large, carnivorous, aquatic amphibian. The hellbender is usually green, brown, or gray in color and often displays darker spots throughout the skin. The hellbender is nocturnal and uses its flattened, spade-like head to dig out crayfish and other prey. This animal is known for its strong bite and slimy skin secretions. Female hellbenders lay their eggs in autumn and the males then guard the eggs until they successfully hatch. Symbolism: emotional security, protection against toxic situations, fire energetics, unique being, nocturnal energy cycles, defense, sensitivity.