Thursday, September 8, 2011

Tiger Salamander

It's been so dry in the past few years that I haven't seen many Tiger Salamanders
(Ambystoma tigrinum).  

National Geographic says this about the Tiger Salamander:

Thick-bodied amphibians with short snouts, sturdy legs, and long tails, tigers are the largest land-dwelling salamander on Earth. They can grow to 14 inches (35 centimeters) in length, but the average size is more like 6 to 8 inches (15.2 to 20.3 centimeters).
They are also the most wide-ranging salamander species in North America, living throughout most of the United States, southern Canada, and eastern Mexico. They live in deep burrows, up to two feet (60 centimeters) below the surface, near ponds, lakes, or slow-moving streams and are one of few salamanders able to survive in the arid climate of the North America interior.
Highly voracious predators, they emerge from their burrows at night to feed on worms, insects, frogs, and even other salamanders.
Their population is healthy throughout their range, but deforestation, pollution, and rising acidity levels in their breeding pools is affecting their distribution. Many are even killed by cars as they cross roads in the spring en route to or from their breeding sites.
Tiger salamanders are long-lived, averaging 10 to 16 years in the wild.
This was a hurried photo shoot as there was a convoy of oilfield trucks not too far behind me.  I wanted both a photo and to get this little one off the road (and me too) before the trucks thundered by.  Mission accomplished. 

I saw two more not-so-lucky ones on the road that morning.

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