California Tiger Salamander

The California Tiger Salamander is an amphibian that is found around Sonoma County and Santa Barbara.  They are in the amphibian family called the Ambystomatidae.

What Does the California Tiger Salamander Look Like?

The California Tiger Salamander is a large and broad salamander.  It is wide and has a snout that is round.  The eyes of the California Tiger Salamander are black and small, and they protrude from the side of the head.

The California Tiger Salamander will get around 7 inches long.  The reason it is named tiger is because it has yellow or white bars on its back with the back of the salamander being black.  This gives it a tiger looking appearance in color.

The belly of the California Tiger Salamander is usually a lighter color of yellow or white.

Male California Tiger salamanders are different because they have a swollen stomach area and their tail fin is bigger than the female.

What Does the California Tiger Salamander Eat?

The California Tiger Salamander is a carnivore and it eats mostly insects that do not have backbones.  It eats things like mosquito, tadpoles, insects, worms, and algae.

Where Does the California Tiger Salamander Live?

Most California Tiger Salamanders like to live where there is grasslands or wetlands.  They live close to areas that have water sources so that they can lay their eggs there.

Some ponds are full of these kinds of salamanders because they like to spend their time close to the water where they can find food.

Most California Tiger Salamanders do burrow underground.  They do this like other burrowing mammals, and they do it so that they can hid from predators.

Do California Tiger Salamanders Hibernate?

Even though the California Tiger Salamander is a burrowing animal, they are not good at it and they require the help of other burrowing animals to dig for them.  When it is dry out, the California Tiger will go into the burrow and will stay there until the weather is cooler and has more moisture such as during November.

Finding a Mate

When the California Tiger Salamander does come out from hibernating, he will try to find a mate.  This mostly happens when there are storms brewing and they will go up to a mile away to find a mate.

California Tiger Salamander females only have babies one time and when they do, they can have up to 1,300 eggs at once.  They usually have these eggs in somewhere with tall plants that can hide the eggs.  It takes around 14 days for the eggs to hatch and it takes the baby salamanders a long time before they become adults, longer than other amphibians.

After they have their eggs, they will leave the pond area and water areas and go to find burrows to live in.

Species protected by the Santa Clara Valley Habitat Conservation Plan

What Kind of Predators Does the California Tiger Salamander Have?

The California Tiger Salamander has a few predators such as the bullfrog, birds, egrets and fish.

Are the California Tiger Salamanders in Danger?

The California Tiger Salamanders are in danger of being endangered and so they are not allowed to be hunted.  Even though they are not considered endangered yet, they are getting less and less.

The reason that they are in danger is because of the destruction of wetlands and forests.  Many of them have lost their homes due to development and farming.  They also have died of natural predators that have ate them or killed their eggs.

Another problem for the California Tiger Salamander is that squirrel populations have been lessened and so the California Tiger Salamander doesn’t have as many burrows to hide in.

Facts About the California Tiger Salamander:

  • The only place to see a California Tiger Salamander is in California.
  • Many California Tiger Salamanders are killed before they lay eggs.
  • When a California Tiger is hibernating, they go into a state of dormancy (being like dead) called estivation.
  • Unlike other salamanders, the California Tiger spends most of its time under the ground.

What Did You Learn?

  • What is the California Tiger Salamander?  The California Tiger Salamander is an amphibian that is found only in California.
  • Why is it called at Tiger Salamander? The California Tiger Salamander is called a tiger salamander because it has a black body and stripes of yellow or white that make it look like it has the same coloring as the tiger.
  • What does the California Tiger Salamander eat? The California Tiger Salamander eats insects that do not have backbones such as slugs and mosquitos.
  • Where does the California Tiger Salamander live? The California Tiger Salamander lives in California cities and close to water sources and where there is high grass or plants.
  • What is interesting about the California Tiger Salamander? The interesting thing about the California Tiger Salamander is that it spends most of its life living underground where other animals have burrowed such as a squirrel or a groundhog.