Tiger Salamanders and Mammals: Underground Companions?

Expanded version of the article printed in Nature Notes No. 4, 2017

By Dr. Ellen A.G. Chernoff and Jennifer Macke

Tiger salamanders are common on the Pajarito Plateau and throughout northern New Mexico. Because they live underground, we rarely see them. The underground parts of our world are one of our “final frontiers”; we know very little about what goes on down there! Read more Tiger Salamanders and Mammals: Underground Companions?

Salamander in Garden Pond

A local resident in the Camino Encantado neighborhood of Barranca Mesa recently had a surprise when she was cleaning out her garden pond. She saw something in the water that she couldn’t identify, “about a foot long”, she said! PEEC helped her to identify it as a tiger salamander. It was a male, in breeding condition.

Though common, tiger salamanders are rarely seen, as they usually stay underground. In spring, they seek any body of water they can find in order to reproduce. It wasn’t clear whether this fellow had spent the winter in the pond, or had just arrived this spring in search of a mate.

You never know what surprises you might find right in your own back yard!