Today’s animal of the day is the tiger salamander. These amphibians get their name from the distinctive vertical stripes that adorn their bodies and resemble the markings of their mammal namesake. Tiger salamanders range in color from dark gray to brown or black. Their body markings are anywhere from brilliant yellow to a brownish yellow color. The tiger-like vertical stripes are the most common pattern, but some subspecies sport either small or large spots.
- Most reach a size of 6 to 8 inches, although some can grow up to 14 inches long. They are one of the largest salamander species in North America.
- Tiger salamanders have thick bodies with sturdy legs and long tails.
- They live along the Atlantic coast of North America, from below New York to Florida. They also populate the center interior of the country from Montana down to Arizona and eastward through Ohio and Kentucky. Tiger salamanders can also be found in parts of southeastern Canada and eastern Mexico.
- These amphibians favor the seasonal freshwater pools called vernal pools as their habitat of choice but can also be found near ponds and slowly flowing streams.
- They are secretive creatures and spend most of their time below ground in the burrows they dig up to two feet deep. They emerge after heavy rains.
- Tiger salamanders can live up to 14 years.
- They eat worms, insects, frogs, slugs, and snails.
- Eggs are laid in ponds, and the newly hatched larvae don’t leave until they reach adulthood within five months.
- Although tiger salamanders have a healthy population currently, their wetland habitat is being diminished.