Conserve Wildlife Blog

New Jersey Tiger Season

December 17th, 2015

Biologists and volunteers survey for New Jersey Eastern Tiger Salamanders

by Larissa Smith, biologist/volunteer manager


It’s the time of year when Conserve Wildlife Foundation biologists and volunteers along with Endangered and Nongame Species biologists start to survey for New Jersey’s “tigers,” and by tigers I don’t mean the big striped cats, we’re talking about the Eastern Tiger Salamanders. These large mole salamanders spend most of their life burrowed under the ground and in December begin to emerge to migrate to vernal pools and breed. Eastern Tiger Salamanders are endangered in New Jersey and only found in 15 pools in the most southern part of the state.


Last week dedicated volunteers Wayne Russell, John King and myself went out to check on a few known breeding pools.  The water level in the ponds was lower than usual due to the lack of rain, but John found an adult male in one of the pools.

Tiger Salamander found 12__9_15@ W. Russell

Tiger Salamander found 12/9/15 Photo by W. Russell

We were delighted to find a male in the pool so early in December. At another known breeding pool we found the partial remains of two Eastern Tiger Salamanders that had obviously been eaten by a predator. But the good news was that we also found two tiger salamander egg masses in the same pool.


Predation is just one of the challenges that these salamanders face. Tiger Salamanders themselves are targeted by collectors for the pet trade which is why their breeding locations are kept a secret. Their habitat is declining due to habitat loss and fragmentation, development, pollution, changes in hydrology, and climate change.


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Larissa Smith is a wildlife biologist and volunteer manager for Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey.


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One Response to “New Jersey Tiger Season”

  1. Mark Kulkowitz says:

    Please keep informed about Salamanders!

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