Tiger Salamander

What is Tiger Salamander?

Tiger Salamander is a species of amphibian family of the animal kingdom. They belong to the burrowing category.

Scientific Classification

Ambystoma tigrinum


Find some interesting facts about tiger salamander.

  • Tiger salamanders secret a slimy substance which is poisonous to other animals.
  • Fish, toads, and other aquatic animals eat up tiger salamander larvae and thus they produce the poisonous mucus to protect themselves.
  • Before mating male tiger salamanders mimic a female tiger salamander to slink in and drop his germ cells on rival male tiger salamanders.
  • Tiger salamanders’ tails do not possess fracture regions.
  • Some of the smaller species of tiger salamanders do not have lungs and they breathe by the gular pumping.
  • Tiger salamanders are one of the endangered species nowadays.


Tiger Salamander Picture

Picture 1 – Tiger Salamander

Source – netstate

  • Length – Tiger Salamanders mostly grow till 9inches to 12inches. Though sometimes, some of them can grow till 14inches.
  • Head – Tiger salamander has a blunt nose, flat head, and small eyes. Their heads resemble to toads.
  • Tail – Tiger salamander has a long and thick tail, which are toxic.
  • Feet – Tiger salamander has four sturdy feet, two in the front and two at the back. The front feet have four toes and five toes at the back.
  • Colors – Tiger salamanders come in a wide range of colors. Usually they come in dark grey, green, black, and blue base on the skin. Their skins are spotted, barred, patched, or stripped with white, orange, or yellow. There are also albinos amongst the tiger salamander species.
  • Skin – Skin of tiger salamander is scale-less, moist and shiny.

Natural Habitat

Being an amphibian tiger salamanders are found near water bodies only during monsoon, which is their breeding season. They are usually found near marshes, streams, ponds, and other small aqua bodies.

Images of Tiger Salamander
Picture 2 – Tiger Salamander Image

Source – wikispaces

Apart from monsoons the tiger salamanders could be found in field, forests, prairies, and other soft ground lands, where they can hideaway under the tree leaves, or underground, or under the litter.

Life Span

On average tiger salamanders live for about a time span of 12yrs to 15yrs.

They attain their sexual adulthood at the age of 4yrs to 5yrs.


Tiger salamander is found near South Dakota, near west river, and east of the Missouri river. Some of the species are found in northeastern parts of the state and some are found in southeastern counties.


There are many sub-species of tiger salamanders.

Eastern Tiger Salamander

Eastern Tiger Salamander is generally dark brown or black skinnerd with blotches or spots of yellow or olive. Scientific name of Eastern Tiger Salamander is Ambystoma tigrinum. It is foud near Nebraska, eastern Texas, Kansas, and New York.

Barred Tiger Salamander

Barred Tiger Salamander is also dark brown or black skinned with yellow vertical stripes on it. Scientific name of Barred Tiger Salamander is Ambystoma mavortium mavortium. It is found near southern Texas, central Colorado, new Mexico, and central Nebraska.

Arizona Tiger Salamander

Arizona Tiger Salamnder is black or dark brown skinned with tiny and very few yellow spots on it. Scientific name of Arizona Tiger Salamander is Ambystoma mavortium nebulosum. It is found near Arizona, Utah, new Mexico, and central Colorado.

Blotched Tiger Salamander

Blotched Tiger Salamander is smaller in size than Arizona Tiger Salamnder. It has light grey, or pale ground colored skin with webbed dark markings on it. Scientific name of Blotched Tiger Salamander is Ambystoma mavortium melanostictum. It is found near southwest Saskatchewan, northwest Colorado, Nebraska, and southern Alberta.

Grey Tiger Salamander

Grey Tiger Salamander is brown and olive skinned with black spots on it. Scientific name of Grey Tiger Salamander is Ambystoma mavortium diaboli.

Sonoran Tiger Salamander

Sonoran Tiger Salamander resembles to Arizona Tiger Salamander or Barred Tiger Salamander. Scientific name of Sonoran Tiger Salamander is Ambystoma mavortium stebbinsi. It varries in colors. It is found in Patagonia Mountains and Huachara.

Endangered Species

Tiger salamanders are now becoming endangered more than ever. Their habitats are usually the water bodies in monsoons, where there are lots of fishes which are their predators. Sometimes even when humans are fishing the tiger salamanders also get caught in the fishing rod and are killed.

Other parts of the year the tiger salamanders reside in the forest and other marsh lands where they dig under the soil. Sometimes they even get squashed under the traffic.

Humans are getting interested in petting tiger salamanders and thus they have a growing demand in the black market as well. Not always that the tiger salamanders get tamed and accustomed to the new environment, and they eventually die out of the change in their natural habitat.

As Pets

Tiger salamanders are becoming more popular as pets than ever.


The cage should be ideally 15gallons for one tiger salamander. The housing should be provided by the natural ambience of the tiger salamanders as much as possible. It should have parts of both land and water bodies. The cage should not come in contact with any pesticide. The ground should be provided with a thick layer of soil to allow the tiger salamander digging in it.

Some rocks, aquatic plants, etc. nee to be placed in the water body for the female tiger salamanders to help attach their eggs while breeding.


Tiger salamanders require a daytime temperature of 68degree to 72degree F, and at night they require around 50degree to 60degree temperature.


Tiger salamanders require quite a high level of humidity, around 70%.


Tiger salamanders should be ideally fed in every 2-3days. They survive on bugs, insects, smaller amphibians, etc. They are not very selective regarding food.


After mating, the female tiger salamanders lay eggs, which they hide attaching them to the aquatic plants, logs, and stones under water. It takes around 4weeks for the eggs to hatch, and comes out small larvae which have feathery gills.

The larvae stay under water till they reach semi-adulthood. At this stage they tend to shift to more earthly plots. The tiger salamanders become eligible enough for sexual activities at around 4-5years.

The tiger salamander eggs can grow into cannibal and normal morph larvae, and neotenic, air-breathing cannibal, and only air-breathing adults.


Check out the pictures of Tiger Salamander to know more about its appearance.

Photos of Tiger Salamander
Picture 3 – Tiger Salamander Photo

Source – statesymbolsusa

Pictures of Tiger Salamander
Picture 4 – Tiger Salamander Image

Source – pictureshunt

Tiger Salamander Diet Facts

Tiger salamanders feed on worms, little mice, insects, other smaller amphibians like tadpoles, small snails, etc. Tiger salamanders are used to eating once in every 2-3days at least. Calcium and vitamins are a must in their diets.

Tiger Salamander Poisonous Fact

Tail of tiger salamanders are toxic and if by chance are eaten then death is inevitable. Some species of tiger salamander secrete mild poison in form of mucus on their skin. Though not fatal but this poison can cause serious harm to human beings.

Tiger salamanders are a wonderful species of amphibian family, which is endangered now. They need to be conserved. They can be wonderful pets if kept properly. But if thought to be petted then they need lot of care and a surrogate natural atmosphere.

58 responses to “Tiger Salamander”

  1. j says:



    PPPRRAAISE!!!!!!!! JESUS!!!!!!!

  2. shane hartnett says:

    eastern tiger salamanders can live for 25 years and prefer temps between 60 and 75 degres farenhight

    sorry my spellings so bad

  3. shane hartnett says:

    and its best not to feed tiger salamanders mice on a regular bases or thay will get VERY fat

  4. Darby Schabacker says:

    We accuired 2 salamanders from a field biology class. And have been taking care of them for almost 4 weeks. They are still in the tadpole stages of life. They are called “Waterdogs” I can not find any information about waterdogs but know they eat small tadpoles and can eat 10 in a day. Their color is starting to darken and their gills are very furry. I will post again in 2 week if big changes occure.

  5. Kalee Brown says:

    My boyfriend recently brought home 12 of these awesome creatures! Not sure I like them or know what to do with them but they are pretty neat.

  6. Randon says:

    I found a tiger salamander under a trailer house my mom and dad was getting ready to move i named him tiger, I love him

  7. joshua says:

    what if you get the slimy stuff on your fingers

    • miatortilla says:

      idk it was bad till i read this and then i thought back to my tiger salamander and i held him and he was fine and i was fine i think he was a barred salamander so i hope this helped 🙂 we found him outside and he just walked into our hand so we figured he had been a pet so we kept him he died when we forgot to put water in his cage he dried out 🙁

    • GPSpector says:

      Wash your hands.

      Also, it is best not to handle them due to the oils in your skin is poisonous to them and can make them sick or could kill them.

  8. Amber M says:

    I have a tiger salamander and he’s the cutest pet I’ve ever had, he’s a little timid at times but still has a personality as strange as it may seem. I am worried as there are black spots spearing on him out of no where and eyes are starting to get a film over them, does any know what this may be and how I can fix it? I’m afraid to loose him, he’s only 3 years old I believe… Can anyone help

  9. B Wagner says:

    I found TWO of these in my basement. Wow, I guess I’m lucky since they are endangered.

  10. betty demchak says:

    i just resentley had a tiger lizard in my dogs water bowl i went out to take him out for the day and was about to dump the water that was left in it out but then i spotted him/her and it is buitiful i didnt want anything to happin to it so i have it in the house till i can buy a tank for it its doing good eating and just being normal i guess im hoping maybe i can come across another one soon maybe they will be differnt and then ill have female and male im not much of a insect or lizard lover but i just fell in love with this one and im hopeing he stays alive cuz hes so buitiful and they are hard to find and i was very lucky i got the chance to have him my question is if i touch it will i get sick or if one of the kids touch it can they get sick please email me back with information

    • Charlotte says:

      Its best not to handle them. The salt and oils on our skin are not good for them

    • amanda m says:

      i have a tiger salamander and i hold him all the time. i wash my hands before and after i hold him. i allow my seven year old to hold him to when hes being still of course.if they are really poisious then well i havent been sick at all from him and ive had him for a little over ayear.

  11. Adam Perkins says:


  12. Emilie says:

    I came across a tiger salamander in my shop about a week ago. This is probably the biggest salamander I’ve ever seen in real life. I ended up putting it in my terrarium because I was afraid my cat was going to get it. It is a really neat animal and seems to be adjusting well to his new environment. I haven’t decided whether to keep it or donate it to my university’s Biology department since they helped me identify what kind of salamander it is. Is there any way to tell if it is a male or female just from looking at it?

  13. Jaylin LaMontagne says:

    Last October I found a Tiger Salamander in my yard but we found it under a log in full view.I decided to name him Sele he is the only salamander I know that has an attitude. Whenever I touch him he doesnt do anything but when my stepmom touches him he freaks out he just hates her.I think im the only one in my house that will let me touch him when my stepmom just comes near him he starts swinging his tail he has even tried biting her. Does anyone know why he hates her or how he even knows the difference between us when hes not even looking

  14. Destiny says:

    If u do touch them what will it do to u

  15. Angela says:

    I had news and salamanders as a kid and just loved them! I just got 3 salamanders from a friend and have them all set up in a big reptile aquarium. They have a waterfall, a pond, an overturned log, several semi-aquatic plants, and their substrate is several mosses and bark. All natural, no chemicals or dyes. They are very happy! Already digging under, eating good, swimming, and exploring. Yea!

  16. Zelly says:

    I just recently found two Tiger Salamanders in my garden and I think they are the coolest things ever. I named one of them Butch because he thinks every thing is food especially fingers and the other one is Sharky because he likes to drown the bugs he catches. Sharky is very sweet. I thought it was crazy when I figured out that they were endangered because there are so many at the drainage pond near my house. They really like worms meal worms and the pupas from the meal worms along with the beetles from the meal worms. They are also very easy to train. I can just tap on the cage top befor I take it off to feed them and they both come out of thier caves. If I make a clicking noise then Sharky will crawl into my hand… I’ve only had them for about 2 weeks now.

  17. Amber says:

    Ive been taking care of a tiger salamander that I rescued from being eaten by my mother’s golden retriever and a couple barn cats that we own…ive had him/her for the past year…but recently weve let it go.

  18. Samantha says:

    I just found two of these in my backyard today and three in my backyard last summer. One of the ones we found today is near death. We named them; paco, albin, Samuel, Simon, and perpetua.

  19. Noelle J says:

    I have lived in Colorado 34 years and never knew these were “common” in our area. I rescued one thinking it was a pet someone threw out-my son wants “spot” to stay. I need all the info and advice I can get.

  20. Sheri says:

    I just discovered one in my horse’s water tank. It is about 4 inches long. My concern is that one of my horses or my cat will bite it (poison???) while taking a drink on these hot days. Should I remove it or leave it alone to eat the bugs?

  21. Carla says:

    My Husband and I were on a hike and we discovered a huge pond hidden in some thick mountain terrain that had well over a fifty (or more) Tiger Salamander. It was a site to see considering we had never even heard of a Tiger Salamander. The Tiger Salamander,s was huge, I couldn’t believe it. We could see them in the pond, but could not decide if they were fish do to the size of the Tiger Salamander. After doing some research it does not say much about Tiger Salamanders in Utah so my question to you is..is it common to find Tiger Salamander in Utah.

  22. dime bag darrell says:

    how much are these thing worth??

    • GPSpector says:

      Here in Colorado, I found one in a window well. I decided to keep it. When I went to PetSmart to get info, I found out that here in Colorado, it is ok to have them as pets but it is illegal to buy or sell them here.

  23. Danny says:

    What is the proper way of holding one of these amazing lizzards?

    • GPSpector says:

      Simple answer: You don’t. They are very sensitive to the oils in your skin and it can make them very sick. also, they can secret a slim that is poisonous. It is designed to kill most animals that eat it but it would probably just make you sick if you get it on you and you wash your hand before preparing food or sticking your fingers in your mouth.

  24. cj says:

    we have recently found one of these at the dried up river where everyone goes 4 wheeling at…..i played with it and held it alot! and i mean..hours at a time! i kissed it alot….and then became horribly sick,sicker than i have ever been in my life!!! i bled internally,and it was alot like a stomach virus,but worse…i sat on the toilet,with the trash can in front of me…for hours! i was this sick for 5 days…..it was from the salamander. we are letting it go,because we have a 6 and 7 year old who just can’t resist! its also endangered,and i’d feel horrible if it died in captivity!!! i like to keep the house cold…

  25. JDAVIS1113 says:

    North Central Indiana! Tiger Salamander spotted! He was on the sidewalk, in 40 degree weather! I have him in an aquarium now! Feeding him earthworms till it gets warm out, then I will let him hang out in the yard!

  26. bailey says:

    i dont have to go enyware for a tiger salemander i get salemander eggs every year in my pond me and my little sisster catch like20 a DAY!so if you need salemanders come to my house

  27. Billy says:

    hey guys, I think i have found a tiger salamander, it was under a bag of trash in the yard and it is missing left front leg. I think a cat drug it from a small pond near the house. Its about 4 or 5 inches long hefty tail, olive green with like white splotchy spots and a few black spots. Is there a way to post the pictures of it on here? so i can know for sure what I found? I think its very young.

  28. Annie says:

    I found a tiger salamander two days ago been reaserching for what it was till yesterday glad i could have some good advice question though dos the soil have to be wet and piced down and how many plants do they need i have a bunch but i need to know if its enoughf oh and if your wondering im 12 takin good care of it have a good tank and i found him at a comunity garden in greatfallls montana in some compost and how deep dose the water neeed to be sory if i spelled things wrong

    • lt says:

      read up on it online. we just found ours too & there is lots to know. special soil, can’t get muddy & can’t use real plants as they burrow. use silk ones. separate area for water, but nedes moss on top of soil & must stay moist/humid

  29. Heidi says:

    I found two tiger salamander’s in my basement window ditch. The baby was crawling around and the mom was borrowed under a tennis ball. I was afraid it’d be too cold down there, so I rescued them. I put them in my backyard garden. The mom took off and the baby is wandering around:( I’m hoping I did the right thing, but sad I may not of. These two we’re found in Lafayette, CO and it’s not the first time we’ve had a cute lizard in our basement window well.

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  32. Mike says:

    I touched the tail and it spewed something on me, what will happen?

    • kaeli says:

      i found one and i didnt know about it

    • Joy says:

      Tiger salamanders are poisonous, but only if you deliberately eat them or put your hands in your mouth after touching them. The stuff it spewed on you is poisonous, so just wash your hands and you will be fine. the poison is not strong enough to kill a person, but to be on the safe side just wash your hands. The salamander probably thought that you were going to try to eat it and so it did that to defend itself. normally they will not excrete poison unless they are in pain or feel threatened.

  33. Madison Age 9 says:

    I found my salamanders under a horse water tank and the other one I found by my rabbits! I handle them all the time, will that kill them? Now that I read these facts and stuff I am afraid that I can kill them. They are my favorite pets. They always have a smile on their face. I like to hand feed them cause they are VERY lazy. They like to snap at my hand so I am VERY careful. I made this coerce for them to stretch their legs but they are very slow.

  34. Madison Age 9 says:

    I found my salamanders under a horse water tank and the other one I found by my rabbits! I handle them all the time, will that kill them? Now that I read these facts and stuff I am afraid that I can kill them. They are my favorite pets. They always have a smile on their faces. I like to hand feed them cause they are VERY lazy. They like to snap at my hand so I am VERY careful. I made this coerce for them to stretch their legs but they are very slow and lazy like I said.

  35. arick says:

    I have a pet salamander that my dad found

  36. Blondie Dawg's Mom says:

    I found one of these in my window well I thought he died like the frogs do that get stuck in there so I thought about rescue but then figured it died anyway one day sitting at my desk I heard what I thought was a frog but sounded rather sick I got up and looked and there was my little “Sally Mander” now about every 2 to 3 days I will here a short sick sounding frog croak and I got to the well and there he is coming out to see me. I try to find him bugs but he doesn’t seem to like them he does like raw hamburger and venison so I chop it up really small and kind of toss it at him now seems he wants to come right up to get it but he looks like he is mad or something. I am attempting to catch him as I do not want him to freeze out there in the window well thank you for your information and all the great salamander stories I can hardly believe they are endangered with so many just here on this blog must be a lot that no one sees. wow
    Has anyone else ever heard sounds from them like do they learn to mimic the frog or me when i am talking to the little frogs? Do all make a noise and if so what is that sound?

  37. Auntie to Salamanders says:


    Tiger salamanders should be ideally fed in every 2-3days. They survive on bugs, insects, smaller amphibians, etc. They are not very selective regarding food.

    we have 2 salamanders and well one is very picky about what she eats, so the phrase “they are not very selective regarding food” is totally untrue for the 2 we have

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