Eastern Tiger Salamander

Ambystoma tigrinum

Quick Facts

  • Species

    Native

  • Habitat

    Adults can be found in forests, grasslands or marshy areas. They need to be able to burrow underground and also live close to ponds or other small waters for breeding. Eastern tiger salamanders spend most of their lives in underground burrows, which helps them escape extreme temperatures above.

  • Range

    Eastern tiger salamanders have the greatest range of any North American salamander. They can be found from southern Alaska to eastern Canada and throughout the United States down into Mexico. Despite their wide range, in the Chesapeake region, they are found only in Delaware, Maryland and Virginia, all of which list it as an endangered species.

  • Diet

    Worms, snails, insects, frogs and slugs

  • Lifespan

    10 to 16 years

  • Status

    Endangered

The eastern tiger salamander is thick bodied, with yellow blotches on its dark brown or black skin. It can be found in parts of Delaware, Maryland and Virginia.

Appearance

Eastern tiger salamanders are thick bodied, with yellow blotches covering their dark brown or black skin. The spots have no set size or pattern, and can vary throughout their expansive range. Their bellies are yellowish or olive. Their heads are large with a broad, rounded snout. Eastern tiger salamanders generally grow to be between 7 and 8.5 inches in length, but can reach up to 13 inches. Males are generally longer, with a more compressed tail and stockier hind legs. During the breeding season, they have a swollen vent area. Larvae have a yellowish-green or olive body, dark blotches and a stripe along each side and a whitish underside.

Feeding

Diet includes worms, snails, insects, frogs and slugs

Predators

Predators include badgers, snakes, bobcats and owls. Larvae are eaten by aquatic insects, other salamander larvae and snakes

Reproduction and Life Cycle

Eastern tiger salamanders migrate to their breeding ponds in late winter or early spring. After courtship, females will lay eggs and attach them with trigs, grass stems and leaves to the bottom of the pond. An egg mass can contain up to 100 eggs. They can take anywhere between 19 and 50 days to hatch. After hatching, the larvae remain in the pond until they are adults, at 2.5 to five months old. Eastern tiger salamanders live up to 16 years in the wild.

Did You Know?

  • The eastern tiger salamander is the largest land dwelling salamander in North America.
  • Overall, the eastern tiger salamander population is stable. However, their populations are declining in many areas—particularly in the southeast—due to lose of forest and wetland habitats.
  • Eastern tiger salamanders are listed as endangered in Delaware, Maryland and Virginia.
  • The largest recorded eastern tiger salamander was 13 inches in length.

Sources and Additional Information

Quick Facts

  • Species

    Native

  • Habitat

    Adults can be found in forests, grasslands or marshy areas. They need to be able to burrow underground and also live close to ponds or other small waters for breeding. Eastern tiger salamanders spend most of their lives in underground burrows, which helps them escape extreme temperatures above.

  • Range

    Eastern tiger salamanders have the greatest range of any North American salamander. They can be found from southern Alaska to eastern Canada and throughout the United States down into Mexico. Despite their wide range, in the Chesapeake region, they are found only in Delaware, Maryland and Virginia, all of which list it as an endangered species.

  • Diet

    Worms, snails, insects, frogs and slugs

  • Lifespan

    10 to 16 years

  • Status

    Endangered