Eastern Tiger Salamander

Ambystoma tigrinum

Quick Facts

  • Species

    Native

  • Size

    7 to 8.5 inches in length

  • Habitat

    Forests, grasslands or marshy areas; live close to ponds or other small waters for breeding

  • Range

    Eastern tiger salamanders 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 the largest land dwelling salamander in North America. It is found across the United States, but is an endagndered species in Delaware, Maryland and Virginia.

Appearance

Eastern tiger salamanders have thick bodies 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 green. 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 back legs. Larvae have a yellowish-green or olive body with dark blotches. They have 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 move to their breeding ponds in late winter or early spring. After courtship, females will lay eggs and attach them with twigs, grass stems and leaves to the bottom of the pond. An egg mass can contain up to 100 eggs.

Eggs 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.
  • Eastern tiger salamanders spend most of their lives in underground burrows, which helps them escape extreme temperatures above.
  • 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

  • Size

    7 to 8.5 inches in length

  • Habitat

    Forests, grasslands or marshy areas; live close to ponds or other small waters for breeding

  • Range

    Eastern tiger salamanders 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