Individual study: Construction and use of artificial shelters to supplement habitat for hellbenders (Cryptobranchus alleganiensis)
Briggler J.T. & Ackerson J.R. (2012) Construction and use of artificial shelters to supplement habitat for hellbenders (Cryptobranchus alleganiensis). Herpetological Review, 43, 412-416
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A replicated study in 2007–2011 in Missouri, USA (Briggler & Ackerson 2012) found that artificial shelters were used by hellbenders Cryptobranchus alleganiensis in the wild and captivity, but breeding was limited. Six hellbenders used five of the seven shelters in the wild in 2010–2011. One clutch of 182 eggs was found being guarded within one shelter. In captivity, many shelters were used by hellbenders, but only one clutch of eggs was recorded. Artificial shelters were constructed from chicken wire covered with concrete (chamber: 41 x 37 cm). Six prototype shelters were installed in a riverbed in winter 2007–2008. A couple of these attracted females but no eggs were laid. Following modifications, seven L-shaped shelters were installed in a river in June 2010 and 20 in a captive enclosure in August 2011. ‘Wild’ shelters were checked in July and November 2010 and October 2011 and captive shelters were checked weekly.