Family: Ambystomatidae Mole Salamanders
Genus: Ambystoma Mole Salamanders
Species: californiense California Tiger Salamander
Conservation Issues (Conservation Status): This species is protected by California State and Federal laws.
A threatened species – (endangered status in Sonoma and Santa Barbra Counties) estimated to have disappeared from more than 50 percent of its historic range. Many populations have been extirpated due to loss of or fragmentation of suitable habitat through urbanization and agriculture. Eradication of California Ground Squirrels due to concerns about their effect on cattle grazing and agriculture may also threaten populations of this salamander because of its reliance on ground squirrel burrows. Predation by non-native Bullfrogs also appears to be a threat.
Growing up in the 60’s on the San Francisco peninsula, I used to find these Salamanders regularly in my backyard. Usually under boards, leaves etc. whole families of them.
I have lived in Monterey County for nearly 25 years. This is only the second Tiger Salamander I have seen in that time. (The first was at the back of my property shared with a good neighbor in deep eucalyptus duff about 18 years ago).
This blessed creature appeared in the nursery here in Prunedale yesterday, a brief encounter and then it burrowed into the straw bale planter, no doubt on a journey in search of a mate. I am still rejoicing and feel blessed. I wish it long life and prosperity!