When Are Tiger Salamanders Most Active?

Tiger salamanders are said to be one of the most common salamander species in North America and the United States. They’re also one of the largest terrestrial salamanders in North America.

Considering this, you would expect to spot many of them when you’re out in the wild. I don’t know about you, but I’ve never actually seen one when on a hike or a camping trip in their native habitat.

I came to the conclusion that if I was looking in the right place, maybe I wasn’t looking at the right time of year, i.e., when they are most active…

Here’s what I discovered:

Tiger salamanders are most active from mid-winter to early spring (i.e., from February to May) when they leave hibernation, surface from their burrows, and migrate to breeding areas (vernal pools, ponds, and slow-moving streams) to breed. Males tend to migrate first, followed by females a few days later.

I also discovered more interesting facts about tiger salamander activity. Keep on reading below to find out more!

Table of Contents

When are tiger salamanders most active featured image

Do Tiger Salamanders Hibernate?

Tiger salamanders hibernate through most of fall and winter, like the majority of terrestrial salamanders. To hibernate, they retreat to their burrows at a depth of 6 to 24 inches (15 to 60 cm), where the ground doesn’t freeze, and bury themselves under the soil.

Hibernation allows tiger salamanders to slow down their metabolism and reduce their body temperature to match the ambient air temperature in order to preserve energy. This enables them to survive the lack of food and the harsh weather conditions which accompany winter.

Do Tiger Salamanders Hibernate In Captivity?

Pet tiger salamanders do not tend to hibernate in captivity unless hibernation is expressly induced.

Tiger salamanders tend not to breed without a period of hibernation. To induce hibernation in captivity, breeders recommend recreating the environmental conditions of their native habitat to trigger their natural instincts.

You can achieve this by lowering the temperature in your paludarium, reducing the intensity of their lighting, and stopping feeding them. You must also ensure that their substrate is deep enough for them to burrow and cover themselves with soil, as they would in the wild.

Whilst they’re unlikely to hibernate for the entire fall or winter, captive tiger salamanders may become dormant for several weeks (anywhere from 2 to 8 weeks or more) if the conditions are favorable.

What Months Are Salamanders Most Active?

Tiger salamanders are most active from mid-winter to early spring, i.e., from February to May.

Tiger salamanders begin to awaken from hibernation when the days start getting longer, temperatures start to rise, and the warm spring rains bring the tiger salamander’s native grasslands and woodlands back to life.


If like me, you were struggling to spot tiger salamanders in the wild, it’s likely you weren’t looking at the right time of year.

Tiger salamanders are most active from mid-winter to early spring, when I’m least out in the wild. And I guess that applies to most of us.

Finally, it’s also worth noting that tiger salamanders are nocturnal creatures. So, unless you’re out looking for them at night, you’re even less likely to find any.

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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