Rosamond Gifford Zoo

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Barred Tiger Salamander

Ambystoma mavortium

The Barred tiger salamander is native to the United States. This species used to be abundant in mountain lakes across the country until many lakes were stocked with trout that prey on the salamanders. This species would benefit from responsible fish farming and sourcing.

Range & Habitat

In the Wild: Damp forest areas, fields, meadows, deserts and grasslands.  This species is found from southern Texas to Canada, and from California, east to the Dakotas and Oklahoma.

At the Zoo: USS Antiquities cave; Zoo to You collection

Conservation Status: Least Concern

This species suffers from habitat loss due to deforestation. They also tend to be used for bait in the fishing industry as well as predation and being outcompeted by invasive species.


In the Wild: worms, insects, frogs, and even other salamanders

At the Zoo: crickets, earthworms and mice 

Life Span

In the Wild – 2-3 years; In Human Care – 12-15 years.

Fun Facts about the Barred Tiger Salamander

  • Barred tiger salamanders are one of the longest terrestrial salamanders in North America.
  • They live in damp burrows and lay their eggs in standing water.
  • Barred tiger salamanders are nocturnal and spend most of their time in underground burrows.
  • They have slimy, semi-permeable skin that produces mucus.  This allows them to absorb moisture. 


Retrieved from the Smithsonian National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute:

Retrieved from the Cosley Zoo:

Retrieved from the IUCN Red List:

Updated December 29, 2020