The tiger salamander is a
thick-bodied animal with a rather large head and
broad rounded snout. The body is usually
yellowish or olive with dark spots. Those spots
are never in any set shape, size, or position.
Experts can usually tell where any individual
tiger salamander "hails from" based on
the color and pattern of the background and/or
spots. Males are proportionately longer, with a
more compressed tail and longer, stalkier hind
legs than females. The largest terrestrial
salamander in the world, a fully grown male may
be up to 14 inches in length.
Tiger salamanders range from
southeastern Alaska east to the southern part of
Labrador, and south throughout all of the United
States down to the southern edge of the Mexican
Depending on the specific
sub-species, this salamander inhabits forests,
grasslands, or marshy areas, as long as there is
soil in which they can burrow. Like other
amphibians, the tiger salamander must have access
to pools of water in order to lay its eggs, but
those pools need not be permanent.
Tiger salamanders migrate to
breeding ponds in late winter or early spring,
usually after a warm rain that thaws out the
ground's surface. Courtship takes place at night,
with the male doing most of the courting.
Eggs are laid in small pools,
and attached to twigs, grass stems or leaves. An
egg mass may contain up to 100 eggs, with each
female producing from 100 to 1,000 eggs per
season. The time period between laying and
hatching can be anywhere from 19 to 50 days,
depending on climate.
Larvae are yellowish green or
olive, with dark blotches and a stripe along each
side. They remain in the birth pool until 2.5 to
5 months of age, but will retain their gills into
adulthood if the conditions are unfavorable
outside their birthplace. Tiger salamanders live
up to 16 years in the wild.
Habits and Behaviors
Adult tiger salamanders spend
most of their life underground, spending their
days in burrows in order to escape the
temperature extremes on the surface, coming out
only at night in order to feed. They are more
active in spring and fall.
Worms, snails, insects and
slugs make up most of the adult tiger
salamander's diet. Larval salamanders feed on
small crustaceans and insect larvae, moving up to
tadpoles, smaller salamander larvae and small
fish as they mature.
The barred tiger salamander is
the official state amphibian of Kansas.
genus & species Ambystoma tigrinum
Animal Diversity Web http://animaldiversity.org/accounts/Ambystoma_tigrinum/
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