Eastern Tiger Salamander
The Eastern Tiger Salamander (Ambystoma tigrinum), is a species of mole salamander found throughout North America in Canada and much of the United States. Although it is common in many of the regions in which it is found, their numbers have declined historically. Wetland destruction plays a vital role in its decline. Also, introduced fishes to its regions have lowered their numbers as well. Tiger salamanders require a habitat where they are the top predator in order to thrive. Waters with low pH levels also are avoided as they offer a high mortality rate to salamander larvae and embryos. These salamanders are listed as endangered in several states and in Canada it is listed as endangered in at least one province.
Eastern Tiger Salamander are 6 – 8 inches long at adulthood. Some specimens can reach up to 13 inches in length. Adults are mainly blotched with gray, green or black, and have large, lidded eyes. The snout is short and the neck is thick. The tail is long and the legs are strong and sturdy. Their diet consists mostly of small insects and worms, but it may also consume small frogs and mice.
Tiger salamanders are extremely loyal to their birthplace and will travel quite some distance to reach it. They are rarely seen in the open however and spend much of their time in burrows. As adults they rarely go in water except to breed. During the breeding season males nudge a willing female to initiate mating, and then deposit a
spermatophore on the lake bottom. The female picks up the packet and deposits the now-fertilized eggs on vegetation. Breeding in captivity has been unsuccessful for unknown reasons. Tiger salamanders are often used in the pet trade or used in research.