My fascination with rivers is often fueled by the unknown. Even in waters I've explored hundreds of times, it feels like the potential to experience something few have ever seen is a definite possibility every time I go below the surface. This is especially true in the flowing waters of Southern Appalachia, where the display of life that greets you each time you dip your head below the surface is truly phenomenal. Giant salamanders, known as hellbenders, can be seen lurking among the cobble and bedrock of these ancient mountain streams. Having been fortunate to spend a great deal of time underwater with these giants over the last few years, I've seen them display an array of fascinating behaviors. However, this is by far the most remarkable. Drifting downstream I spotted a hellbender that appeared to have some company. Clamped tightly in the jaws of the giant, a northern water snake struggled to fight free from its grasp. The snake put up quite a fight and was soon able to escape from this otherworldly scene avoiding becoming the hellbenders next meal. Going beneath the surface, @Freshwatersillustrated is currently working on a feature length documentary to share and celebrate the hidden underwater worlds of Southern Appalachia. To learn more about this project and the life that inhabits these incredible rivers, keep an eye out for more posts from Freshwaters Illustrated as they continue their work on Hidden Rivers. Be sure to watch the trailer at: https://vimeo.com/66103145
Added to the zoo!! Meet Nova, a Florida Cooter. 🐢She's 5 months old and was just rescued from a pretty terrible situation. She was living in a bag, yes a bag, along with almost 100 other turtles. If anyone knows how to get rid of the algae on her shell *please* contact me!