Tiger Salamander

ZOO LOCATION: My Big Backyard

Lifespan: Up to 15 years

Wild Diet: Insects, earthworms, small mice and other amphibians.

Zoo Diet: Crickets

Predators: Snakes, turtles, herons and fish.


IUCN Status: Least Concern

Habitat/Range: Adaptable to a wide variety of habitat conditions in North America.

Characteristics: The tiger salamander is the largest land-dwelling salamander in the world. Typically, salamanders have light, vertical bars running upward from the belly to the midline of the back. They are most variable; the markings take on many shapes and forms. The body is dark brown to black with yellow bars and spots giving it the 'tiger stripe' look.

Behavior: Tiger salamanders best avoid predators by a nocturnal and secretive lifestyle. They are active under the cover of darkness and spend most of their time in underground burrows or in thick vegetation near water. They may take cover in mammal burrows or in soft soil conditions; they will dig their own burrows.

Reproduction: Reproduction is a bisexual performance, involving the fertilization of the female's egg by the male's sperm. This is mostly done when they are mature adults, but, sporadically, the tiger salamander and other types of salamanders have acquired sexual maturity while still possessing the larval body form. These species have been found to live longer than the transformed adult.

Conservation: Loss of habitat is a threat for some salamander populations, especially in highly developed areas. Water pollution also tends to be a threat to their survival, though it seems they may not be affected by the the chytrid fungus. These salamanders can carry chytrid, unaffected, on their skin and then spread it to other bodies of water, threatening more species.

Be a responsible pet owner. Don't release any of your "pets" into the wild. Introducing non-native animals can damage the environment and out-compete native wildlife and spread disease.