Geographical Range Southern Canada to Mexico
Habitat Various habitats, including mountain forests, moist meadows, dry brushlands
Scientific Name Ambystoma tigrinum
Conservation Status Common

One look at the “tiger stripes” on this salamander and you’ll see where it got its name. The tiger salamander’s stripes (and occasional spots) make the animal hard to spot in the wild, since the mottled coloring helps it blend in with its surroundings.

Like most amphibians, salamanders breathe oxygen through their skin, so they must stay moist. They spend most of their time hiding under logs, wet leaves, or rocks, emerging to look for small animals to eat.

There’s a down side to having such porous skin: it leaves the salamanders susceptible to pollutants and other environmental toxins. That’s why scientists use these so-called "indicator species" to measure the health of an ecosystem.