tiger salamander utah pictures & some detals

After an evening of steady rain, which has been fairly rare in Moab this Spring/Summer, Rhonda spotted a wide-eyed little visitor looking in our back door. Over the years we have become fairly adept at identifying some of the common desert reptiles that we come across but this wet slimy thing, that appeared to be smiling at us, was outside of our experience range. Should we even touch it? Heck, most of the creatures that we have come to love in the desert are covered with sharp spines and armored skin. After a quick call to local reptile expert (and Rock Club President) Jerry Hansen, we discovered that it was a salamander, albeit a fairly large one. I managed to grab the following photos of our nighttime visitor
tiger salamander, Ambystoma tigrinum, is found in many areas of North America, and it is a common species throughout Utah. Within its range, the tiger salamander can thrive in almost any habitat type, as long as water is found nearby. Water is necessary for two reasons: 1) the larval stage of the salamander life cycle is aquatic, and 2) the terrestrial adults return to water to breed. Interestingly, the tiger salamander is the only salamander species which occurs in Utah.