Fun Tiger Salamander Facts For Kids

Martha Martins
Jan 11, 2023 By Martha Martins
Originally Published on Aug 05, 2021
Edited by Luca Demetriou
Tiger salamander information on the world's longest terrestrial salamanders.
Age: 3-18
Read time: 7.7 Min

The tiger salamanders are the largest terrestrial amphibians in North America. These salamanders have many group subspecies.

The eastern tiger salamanders are a species of the mole salamander group. The subspecies include the California tiger salamander, the plateau tiger salamander, the eastern salamander, and the western or barred salamander.

The eastern tiger salamander has a long tail, thick head, and a rounded snout. Tiger salamander range of colors vary between brown, green, gray, or black body with yellow or dull brown spots or stripes.

Most of the time this largest land dwelling salamander can be found in burrows dug almost two feet deep, which is located close to a water body. They rarely come out from their burrows, and that too is only during the night for food or for the purpose of mating.

They are known as reclusive creatures who prefer to be buried in their holes. The tiger salamander is the most wide-spread salamander species in North America.

The tiger salamander's skin is important for their survival. Eastern tiger salamander breathes through their skin.

The chemical release through their skin is an important signal during the mating season. They also produce a toxin from their tail gland to protect them against predators. The toxin is not deadly, but it will cause a lot of pain.

Eastern tiger salamanders require consistent temperature and humidity to survive better. After reading the interesting information on the eastern tiger salamander, do check out our other articles on marine toad and frilled lizard as well.

Tiger Salamander Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a tiger salamander?

The barred tiger salamanders are semi-aquatic animals who live in deep holes near a freshwater pond, lake, or stream.

What class of animal does a tiger salamander belong to?

The tiger salamander (Ambystoma tigrinum) belongs to the amphibian class of animals. Barred tiger salamanders live like lonely creatures that are found in the wetlands.

How many tiger salamanders are there in the world?

The exact population of tiger salamander (scientific name Ambystoma tigrinum) is difficult to find. But there is plenty in the wetlands of North America as their conservation status is also of least concern. The loss of its natural habitat can be a major reason for any decline in the population of this species.

Where does a tiger salamander live?

The barred tiger salamander lives in the wetlands of North America. They are widely found in the United States of America, including Alaska, southern Canada, and also in the northern part of Mexico. They are known as the largest land-dwelling salamander in North America.

What is a tiger salamander's habitat?

The tiger salamanders are found in forests, grasslands, or marshy areas. They are found in the areas surrounding a water body where the soil is loose and can be easily dug by them, as they live their adult lives on this land buried deep inside it.

Who do tiger salamander live with?

The tiger salamanders are reclusive creatures who live by themselves buried on the grounds. They do not interact with fellow salamanders, too, until it is time for breeding. Tiger salamanders prefer to be left undisturbed in their holes around forests, grasslands, and other regions.

How long does a tiger salamander live?

The barred tiger salamander lifespan can go up to 16 years in the wild. They are carriers of diseases that are causing some harm to their overall population, but the numbers infected are not yet clear. The life cycle of the barred tiger salamander usually ranges between 10-16 years.

How do they reproduce?

The tiger salamander has only a 50% chance of breeding more than once in their lifetimes. The breeding time is around ponds in late winter or early spring.

They need warm grounds and thawed water to breed. The breeding takes place in their combined breeding ponds in late winter. The mating process for the tiger salamander is somewhat complicated.

The male, after finding a suitable female tiger salamander, will nudge it to initiate mating. He will deposit a spermatophore in lake's bottom.

After 48 hours of insemination, the female will lay eggs at the breeding sites. The female will make a nest-like with twigs and grasses at the bottom to protect the eggs. The eggs will hatch after 12-15 days and the larvae will mature in the pool.

The tiger salamander will take three months to fully mature in the pool and then leave it. When in the pool, the larva has external gills and a prominent caudal fin that starts just behind its head.

Some larvae may metamorphose as soon as possible in the north, where there are seasonal pools. They are known as small morph adults. In the ancestral pool in warmer climates, the larvae don't metamorphose until it's an adult.

These large larvae are known as waterdogs. They are used as fishing baits and pet trades.

What is their conservation status?

The conservation status for the tiger salamander is of the least concern. Their populations are found in plenty in the wetland regions of North America.

However, the effects of deforestation and loss of wetland areas is a major cause for concern for its declining populations. Acid rain in certain areas of the United States have also led to a shocking decline in their populations.

Tiger Salamander Fun Facts

What do tiger salamanders look like?

The tiger salamander species looks like a lizard and a small crocodile, whereas it is unlike any of these creatures. It is a thick bodied amphibian who spends its complete adult life on land buried in a self-created hole.

The tiger salamanders have a thick head, short rounded snout, strong legs along with a long tail. They have a brown, green, gray, or black colored body with either yellow or dull brown spots or stripes. In some of the species, the body has smaller and irregularly shaped yellow spots.

The tiger salamander species looks like a lizard and a small crocodile.

How cute are they?

They are cute-looking animals. But they prefer to be left alone. They are very sensitive to their habitat, temperature, and humidity. And cannot survive without burying themselves in the soil around the water bodies. They have brilliant dark-toned skin with bright brown or yellow stripes or splotches.

How do they communicate?

The tiger salamanders are reclusive animals who don't like the company of their own. They may communicate only during mating season. Apart from this, they are buried in the ground and may not have any kind of contact with the outside world.

How big is a tiger salamander?

The tiger salamander grows to a size of 6-8 in. The largest specimen to be found had a length of 14 in. They are one of the largest terrestrial species of salamander found in North America.

How fast can a tiger salamander run?

The salamander top speed would be about 10 mph. They are not known to live in their home and birthing ground that often. Salamander is likely to remain in the same spot all through their lives.

How much does a tiger salamander weigh?

On an average, the tiger salamander weighs between 0.24-0.50 lb. As per their size, the weight will change proportionately, a tiger salamander baby will weigh lesser than an adult tiger salamander.

What are their male and female names of the species?

There are no known male or female names for tiger salamanders.

What would you call a baby tiger salamander?

The baby tiger salamanders may be called water dogs or small morph adults as per their transition from aquatic larvae to subterranean adults.

What do they eat?

What do tiger salamander eat? The tiger salamander eats almost anything that they find, which includes snails, fish, frogs, and insects.

They also tend to eat various types of fishes and slugs. They will also feed on smaller salamander larvae, fish eggs, baby snakes, insect larvae, newborn mice. They are known to eat their own kind too, tiger salamander can eat other tiger salamander larvae as well.

Are they poisonous?

The toxins released by the tiger salamanders are not deadly, but they will surely leave behind a painful sting. The toxin is produced in their tail glands for its protection from predators. When threatened, they will rear up and display the gland, sometimes squirting the toxin directly on the predator.

Would they make a good pet?

They may not be suitable pet animals due to their reclusive nature. They are buried underground most of their adult life, coming out only during the night to feed and mate.

They are vibrant colored creatures to look at, but at the same time, they are sensitive to their habitat, and the temperature-humidity of the areas affects them gravely.

So a slight change in surroundings of a tiger salamander pet may affect them badly. You must take tiger salamander care seriously as tiger salamander poison can be a big irritant.

Did you know...

The tiger salamander has the ability to generate a detached limb like other salamanders. This new limb may have a different pigmentation than the rest of the body.

The tiger salamander has porous skin, through which it can breathe. It also secrets mucous to keep the skin moist.

The eastern tiger salamander is the official state amphibian of Illinois.

The California tiger salamander is listed as Vulnerable in the IUCN list.

Are tiger salamanders poisonous?

The tiger salamanders are not dangerous to humans but secrete a poison that leaves a painful sting on their predators. It is advisable to handle them with care.

How to make a tiger salamander habitat?

A tank can be created with aquarium gravel, aquatic plants, and some slopes so that the salamander gets ease to walk around from the water to the land and there is enough ground for it to bury in a hole created by itself.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other amphibians including pool frog, or frug facts.

You can even occupy yourself at home by drawing one on our salamander coloring pages.

Tiger Salamander Facts

What Did They Prey On?

Worms, snails, slugs and insects

What Type of Animal were they?


Average Litter Size?

100-10000 eggs

How Much Did They Weigh?

0.24-0.50 lb

What habitat Do they Live In?

deep burrows around ponds, lakes, slow-moving streams

Where Do They Live?

united states, southern canada, eastern mexico

How Long Were They?


How Tall Were They?

7-14 in







Scientific Name

Ambystoma tigrinum

What Do They Look Like?

Dark grey, brown or black bodies, with brownish yellowish stripes or large spots

Skin Type


What Are Their Main Threats?

racoons, coati, river turtles, badgers, snakes, bobcats, and owls

What is their Conservation Status?

Least Concern
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Written by Martha Martins

Bachelor of Arts specializing in Linguistics

Martha Martins picture

Martha MartinsBachelor of Arts specializing in Linguistics

Martha is a full-time creative writer, content strategist, and aspiring screenwriter who communicates complex thoughts and ideas effectively. She has completed her Bachelor's in Linguistics from Nasarawa State University. As an enthusiast of public relations and communication, Martha is well-prepared to substantially impact your organization as your next content writer and strategist. Her dedication to her craft and commitment to delivering high-quality work enables her to create compelling content that resonates with audiences.

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