Does the harvest for wildlife trade
or captive breeding of this species
harm wild populations?
Little Cause for Concern
Because of the wide distribution, tolerance of a broad range of habitats and presumed large population, Tiger Salamander populations appear to be thriving in the wild. The Tiger Salamander is listed by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), an organization that tracks the status of wildlife populations, as a species of Least Concern - this means that the population is believed to be healthy and not declining noticeably.
When purchasing a Tiger Salamander, ask for proof that it is captive bred from domesticated animals. Only acquire a pet that is from a reputable USDA-licensed breeder or dealer to ensure that you are not buying an illegally wild-caught and/or imported animal.
Does the release or escape of this species into
the wild harm the environment and/or economy?
Some Cause for Concern
Tiger Salamanders are known to interbreed with closely related species in the wild. When introduced to regions of California, they interbreed readily with the California Tiger Salamander (Ambystoma californiense). The recent listing of the California Tiger Salamander as Threatened under the U.S. Endangered Species Act recognized this interbreeding as a potential conservation concern. Tiger Salamanders released into the wild can also spread infectious diseases that are harmful to native amphibian species.
Before obtaining a pet Tiger Salamander, make sure that it is legal to own one in your state of residence and check for permitting requirements. Always keep your pet inside a safe and secure enclosure. Never release a pet into the wild.
Does harvest, captive breeding, transport, or
being kept as a pet harm individual animals?
Little Cause for Concern
There is no evidence that Tiger Salamanders are mistreated in the legal pet trade.
When purchasing a pet Tiger Salamander, ask for proof that the animal was bred or collected by a professional wildlife dealer with a permit to sell the animal. Given the lack of oversight, animals in the illegal wildlife trade may be mistreated.
Does this animal pose a health risk to native
wildlife, humans, livestock and agriculture?
Significant Cause for Concern
Tiger Salamanders are known carriers of the highly infectious amphibian chytrid fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd), which causes the disease Chytridiomycosis. This species is immune to Bd, but the fungus is a significant threat to most frog species. Bd has been linked to massive die-offs and recent extinctions of native frogs around the world.
Tiger Salamanders are also known carriers of ranaviruses a large complex of related viruses (Family Iridoviridae) that infect reptiles, amphibians, and fish. The transportation of Tiger Salamander larvae for use as fishing bait appears to have exposed wild salamander populations to ranaviruses in western North America. Tiger Salamander larvae themselves sometimes suffer catastrophic mortality from ranavirus infection; such episodes can recur year after year in the same population.
When purchasing a pet Tiger Salamander, ask for proof of a clean bill of health. Ask the seller if the animal has been checked by a certified veterinarian and for a list of any medical treatments the animal has received. To learn more about Chytridiomycosis, ranaviruses, and the symptoms of infection, we recommend reviewing the information on Amphibian Ark.