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Tiger Salamander Care

Tiger Salamander Care

Tiger Salamander (Ambystoma tigrinum)

also know as the Eastern Tiger Salamander. NOTE: There is also a species called the California Tiger Salamander (Ambystoma californiense)

Popularity: People who own these enjoy them, as they are easy to care for and can be lively at times. They should be handled with care because their skin is delicate.

Origin: North America

Native habitat: Near bodies of water such as ponds and streams

Size: usually 6-8 inches, but sometimes up to 14

Lifespan: 10+ years – there are estimates of up to 25 years

Appearance: Adults usually have blotches of black, green, or gray. Their lidded eyes are large, their snouts are short, and their necks are thick. They have strong legs and long tails. There are four toes on the front feet and five on the back.

Diet: Mostly small insects and worms, but sometimes small frogs and baby mice

Activities: They rarely come out into the open, and prefer to spend their time burrowed as deep as two-foot deep underground.

Defense Mechanisms: They secrete a substance that is poisonous to some predators. It sticks on predator’s skin and is distasteful to them.

Misc characteristics: Tiger Salamanders are the largest terrestrial salamanders in the United States.



A 10-gallon aquarium tank makes good housing for a Tiger Salamander. The lid should fit tightly and be made of screen or plastic with holes to allow for airflow. One side of the housing should be dry, and the other should be moist. It should not be soaked, just damp. There should also be an area of water that is separated from the dry area by elevation. In other words, the dry area should by higher than the water so the water doesn’t over saturate the substrate.


Salamanders like to burrow, so provide deep enough substrate to allow them to dig. Good choices are coconut husk, sphagnum moss and potting soil that is free of chemicals, fertilizers and gravel. Gravel is irritating to the salamander’s skin.


Provide some hides for the salamander. Chunks of bark, driftwood and logs are good. You can also decorate with live or artificial plants.

Temperature and Humidity

The temperature should range from 55-78 degrees F, with the cooler temps being in the evenings and winter months. Maintain a humidity of around 70 percent. This can be done by daily misting with chlorine-free water and the addition of live plants.


Feed the salamander two to three times per week. Good offerings are vitamin, mineral and calcium dusted cockroaches, crickets, earthworms, mealworms, night crawlers and similar items. The pet will want to overeat, so be careful that you don’t overfeed it.


If you cannot set the housing up to hold a water area, provide a shallow dish of water that the salamander can soak in.

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