State Amphibian of Kansas

State Amphibian of Kansas

Barred Tiger Salamander Is The Official State Amphibian of Kansas. The Barred Tiger Salamander was Adopted during the 1994 legislative session, as the Kansas State Amphibian. A large Barred Tiger Salamander amphibian that can grow to 14 inches. The State Amphibian barred tiger salamanders can be found in the wild from southwestern Canada through the western United States to northern Mexico. Barred tiger salamanders are primarily nocturnal.

They are opportunistic feeders eating anything they can catch, including various insects, slugs, and earthworms. State Amphibian of Kansas Tiger Salamanders inhabit areas near bodies of water, including damp forest areas, pine barrens, and arid plains, where the soil is easily burrowed. Kansas State Amphibian Tiger Salamanders are also known to occupy abandoned mammal and invertebrate burrows. They are primarily terrestrial as adults, but their juvenile larval stage is entirely aquatic, having external gills.

 

“Barred Tiger Salamander”

Kingdom: Animalia

Phylum:  Chordata

Subphylum:  Vertebrata

Class:  Amphibia

Order:  Caudata

Family:  Ambystomatidae

Genus:  Ambystoma

Species:  tigrinum mavortium

 

Habitat

  • In the Wild:  Barred tiger salamanders live in prairies, forests, forest ponds, and limestone streams from SE Alaska through all of the United States to the edge of the Mexican Plateau.  
  • Exhibit Location: USS Antiquities; Zoo to You Collection

Characteristics  

  • This is a large, stocky, black salamander with yellow-white blotches or stripes on the sides.  The color darkens with age and blends in with ground and leaf litter.
  • There are several subspecies of the State Amphibian of Kansas tiger salamander, the largest recorded was 13 inches long.  They usually range from 3-6 inches long and weigh only a few ounces.
  • Poisonous tail glands produce a toxic milky substance if eaten but otherwise are not harmful to people.
  • Lifespan: In the Wild  2-3 years (high mortality rates);  In Captivity 12-15 years

Behaviors  

  • Kansas State Amphibian Barred tiger salamanders are nocturnal (active at night).
  • They spend most of their adult life burrowing in the loose substrate or living in burrows of ground squirrels, gophers, or badgers.
  • For self-defense, they curl the head and tail up over the back to display the poison glands as a warning.
  • Enrichments at the Zoo:  habitat resembling their natural surroundings

Reproduction

  • Sexual maturity may be attained as larvae or after metamorphosis (change) into adulthood.
  • Breeding takes place from December–February, after the first spring rain or early spring thaw.  They return to natal ponds (ponds where they were born) in large numbers and are very active in courtship, circling each other head to tail and churning the water to foam.

Diet

  • In the Wild:  any animals small enough to swallow, such as fish, tadpoles, cricket nymphs, grasshoppers, moths, flies, beetles, earthworms; occasionally cannibalistic (eat their own kind) 
  • At the Zoo:  crickets, earthworms, pinkie mice