Do Tiger Salamanders Have Predators?

To satisfy their voracious appetite, tiger salamanders have evolved into shrewd predators. That’s also what makes them fun to own as pets. Feeding time is always action-packed. especially if you’re feeding them live prey! So, we often like to think of tiger salamanders as the hunters, and not the prey.

This got me wondering if, in turn, tiger salamanders also have predators. In other words, are there other animals out there that ambush, hunt, attack and eat them? And if so, who are these animals?

Here’s what I learned:

Tiger salamanders have a number of predators in the wild. They are not apex predators, meaning that despite being predators themselves, they are also prey for other animals such as newts, salamanders, fish, snakes, birds, badgers, and bobcats.

If you want to learn more about the main predators of the tiger salamander, read below!

Table of Contents

Do Tiger Salamanders Have Predators Featured Image

What Are the Predators of The Tiger Salamander?

Tiger salamanders are amphibians. As such, they spend the initial stages of their lives underwater and then mature into land-dwelling adults. As a result, they are at risk from different predators at different stages of their lives.

Let’s take a look at who these predators are, and when tiger salamanders are most vulnerable to them.


Tiger Salamander Predator Pike
Pike Lurking in the Depths

As eggs, larvae, and then juveniles, tiger salamanders live underwater. In that habitat, they are most vulnerable to aquatic animals. The most obvious predators are fish.

Thankfully, tiger salamanders have a preference for breeding in vernal pools. Vernal pools are temporary bodies of water that appear after thawing and heavy rains, which cause flooding in depressed grasslands and woodlands.

Vernal pools tend to be home to many species, as they are ephemeral and would not make a reliable long-term habitat. As a result, tiger salamanders are safer in vernal pools than in ponds or slow-moving streams, where biodiversity tends to be richer.

As adults, tiger salamanders spend the vast majority of their time on land, in their burrows. They mainly return to the water to breed. On these occasions, they are also exposed to predators.

Here’s a quick list of the type of fish that might try to feed on tiger salamanders. You will note that they are mainly carnivores.

  • Perch
  • Bass
  • Pike
  • Eels


Some of the tiger salamander’s predators are also amphibians, just like them!

Yes, you’ve read that right! If you think about it, it makes sense. Amphibians all tend to share similar habitats. And they all eat different types of eggs and larvae, especially during their juvenile stage.

Here are some of the other amphibians that may try to eat tiger salamander eggs and larvae:

  • Newts
  • Frogs
  • Salamanders


Tiger Salamander Predator Garter Snake
Garter Snake Moving Across A Mossy Rock

Tiger salamanders are at risk of being attacked by snakes at any stage of their lives. In North America, there are many species of snakes. Whilst the majority of snakes are terrestrial, certain snakes spend a lot of their time in the water – so the danger is everywhere!

However, it’s most common for adult tiger salamanders to be hunted by snakes. Indeed, snakes and tiger salamanders live to seek shelter in similar places, especially under logs and in burrows.

Here are some of the snakes that might seek to make a meal out of tiger salamanders:

  • Water Snake
  • Garter Snake
  • Hog-Nosed Snake


Tiger Salamander Predator Owl
Owl Perched on a Branch

Just like snakes, birds are a threat to all types of tiger salamanders throughout their lives.

During the underwater stages of their lives, shorebirds and wading birds are known to feed on their eggs and larvae. They make an easy catch and a nutritious meal.

As adults, tiger salamanders are also exposed to these birds when they migrate back to the water to reproduce. However, their plight doesn’t end there. Owls and other birds of prey are also known to hunt them in the grasslands and woodlands when they emerge from their burrows.

Here are some of the types of birds that tiger salamanders need to be wary of:

  • Shorebirds
  • Wading Birds
  • Owls
  • Hawks


Tiger Salamander Predator Badger
Badgers In Their Burrow

Badgers are carnivores. They eat almost anything, and their sharp front teeth help them munch through even the toughest meat, gristle, cartilage, and bone! They feed off insects, small rodents such as mice or groundhogs, birds, prairie dogs – and you guessed it: even tiger salamanders!

Renowned for their burrowing skills, badgers will sometimes find tiger salamanders living in their food caches or borrow (tiger salamanders like to “borrow” the burrows dug by other animals), and gobble them up.


Tiger Salamander Predator Bobcat
Bobcat in The Forest

The bobcat, also known as the red lynx, is a wild cat native to North America. Bobcats are both carnivores and scavengers and expert hunters!

Bobcats mostly eat rabbits and hares. They also eat rodents, birds, deer, reptiles, and certain land-dwelling amphibians, such as tiger salamanders.


Tiger salamanders have many predators.

These predators are aquatic, and terrestrial, and prey on them from the air! Depending on what stage they’re at in their life cycle, tiger salamanders are more at risk from certain types of predators and less from others.

However, there are threats no matter how old they are and where they live. It’s also worth noting that humans are, in fact, the biggest threat to tiger salamanders as a species, California tiger salamanders in particular.

So, if you thought tiger salamanders have it easy, think again.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do Tiger Salamanders Have Defense Mechanisms?

The main defense mechanism of tiger salamanders, when faced with an immediate threat, is their ability to secrete poison. If you want to read more about this ability, read Are Tiger Salamanders Poisonous to Humans?

Are Tiger Salamanders Fast?

Tiger salamanders are not known for their speed. As a matter of fact, they tend to move relatively slowly so as not to draw too much attention from predators. However, tiger salamanders can increase their speed and run to shelter if they need to escape a predator.

Did you like this post? Then you might also like How To Care For A Tiger Salamander [Beginner’s Guide]


Hello and welcome to Pets From Afar. I'm Glen. My daughter Siri and I are mad about axolotls. I created this website to document our findings and experiences, as we learn more about these amazing amphibians. Follow along and enjoy the fun!

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