The Eastern Hellbender Salamander, a.k.a. "Snot Otter," Is Named the Official State Amphibian of Pennsylvania

iStock.com/JasonOndreicka
iStock.com/JasonOndreicka

A slimy salamander that's typically found under rocks has been thrust into the spotlight in Pennsylvania. As NPR reports, the Eastern hellbender salamander, also known as the snot otter for its mucus-covered body, has been named the state's official amphibian.

The Chesapeake Bay Foundation has campaigned to make the hellbender a state animal for two years, and following passage of the bill through the state's Senate in February, Pennsylvania's House of Representatives voted to recognized the creature on April 16.

In addition to swimming through rivers and streams in Pennsylvania, the giant salamander can be found in waters throughout the Appalachian region, from Georgia to New York. It can grow up to 2 feet long, and it breathes through skin flaps that are loose and wrinkly to maximize the surface area through which it can absorb oxygen. They hide amid rocks and they're mostly active at night, which makes them hard to spot in the wild.

The hellbenders' numbers have shrunk in recent decades. Since the late 1990s, populations have suffered greatly from deforestation around bodies of water, leading to a warmer environment for them with more pollution runoff. Dams, construction, fishing, and reduced dissolved oxygen levels in their native waters may also be hurting them. Today they're considered endangered in Maryland, Ohio, Illinois, and Indiana.

By voting to make the hellbender the official state amphibian, Pennsylvania legislators hope to raise awareness around the animal's precarious position. It joins the ruffed grouse, the Great Dane, and the brook trout as an official animal of the state.

[h/t NPR]

Amazon's Under-the-Radar Coupon Page Features Deals on Home Goods, Electronics, and Groceries

Stock Catalog, Flickr // CC BY 2.0
Stock Catalog, Flickr // CC BY 2.0

This article contains affiliate links to products selected by our editors. Mental Floss may receive a commission for purchases made through these links.

Now that Prime Day is over, and with Black Friday and Cyber Monday still a few weeks away, online deals may seem harder to come by. And while it can be a hassle to scour the internet for promo codes, buy-one-get-one deals, and flash sales, Amazon actually has an extensive coupon page you might not know about that features deals to look through every day.

As pointed out by People, the coupon page breaks deals down by categories, like electronics, home & kitchen, and groceries (the coupons even work with SNAP benefits). Since most of the deals revolve around the essentials, it's easy to stock up on items like Cottonelle toilet paper, Tide Pods, Cascade dishwasher detergent, and a 50 pack of surgical masks whenever you're running low.

But the low prices don't just stop at necessities. If you’re looking for the best deal on headphones, all you have to do is go to the electronics coupon page and it will bring up a deal on these COWIN E7 PRO noise-canceling headphones, which are now $80, thanks to a $10 coupon you could have missed.

Alternatively, if you are looking for deals on specific brands, you can search for their coupons from the page. So if you've had your eye on the Homall S-Racer gaming chair, you’ll find there's currently a coupon that saves you 5 percent, thanks to a simple search.

To discover all the deals you have been missing out on, head over to the Amazon Coupons page.

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Treat Your Feline This Holiday Season With Fancy Feast’s Cat Food Advent Calendar

Fancy Feast/Chewy
Fancy Feast/Chewy

In anticipation of the holiday season, many children and adults get to unwrap mini presents each of the 24 days leading up to Christmas day, during what's known as Advent. Though Advent itself dates back to the 4th century, the version we know today, complete with the chocolate-filled calendars, was popularized in the early 1900s. And apparently it's no longer just for humans, because Fancy Feast is letting your feline roommate in on the fun with this unique cat food Advent calendar, now available at Chewy for $23.

For the 24 days leading up to Christmas, your cat will get to enjoy a variety of different wet foods, including favorites like grilled salmon, chicken, and more. There is even a unique ornament included with each calendar featuring a cat in the shape of a heart that can go right onto your tree. (Also, don't be surprised to find your actual cat making its way into the middle of your tree; they're known climbers.)

Now while you enjoy your Advent calendars from brands like LEGO, Funko, and more, your cat will be able to join in on the fun as well. To learn more about Fancy Feast's Feastivites Advent Calendar, head on over to Chewy.

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