Report Card

California Tiger Salamander
Ambystoma californiense

Photo by Michael Starkey

Population Grade:
  • D
Habitat Grade:
  • F
Threat Vulnerability Grade:
  • B
Overall Grade:
  • C
Habitat Loss Threat Level:
  • Major Threat


Habitat has been lost due to industrial and housing developments, roads, and agriculture.


Support local policymakers and agencies that consider wildlife and the environment in their decisions about development to try to reduce habitat loss.

Climate Change Threat Level:
  • Secondary Threat


Changes in precipitation and severe weather events will likely impact the species.


Reduce your individual carbon footprint. Support policies and decision-makers taking action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and help wildlife adapt to changes we’re already seeing.

Pollution Threat Level:
  • Minor Threat


Pollution comes from household sewage, urban waste water, and agricultural runoff.


Make sure your septic tank is secure to prevent runoff flowing into salamander habitat. Reduce the use of chemicals on your property and help protect clean water.

Harvesting & Trade Threat Level:
  • Minor Threat


California Tiger Salamanders may be harvested as pets and as bait.


Do not purchase salamanders as pets or bait. Reducing the demand for this industry will help conserve them in the wild!

Invasive Species Threat Level:
  • Secondary Threat


The Barred Tiger Salamander was released by people into the California tiger salamanders’ habitat. This invasive species out-competes the California species for food and habitat – a major problem since the Barred Tiger Salamanders are spreading. The two species may also hybridize, changing the genetics of the Californian species.


Do not release pets or bait into the environment to try to reduce the impact of invasive species on amphibians.

Disease Threat Level:
  • Minor Threat


Potentially impacted by the Chytrid fungus.


Wash your shoes and equipment after every hike, fishing trip, or visit to wetlands. You can help reduce the spread of this deadly fungus!!


Total population unknown but this species has been eliminated from over 50% of its historic breeding sites.


California Tiger Salamanders rely on ground squirrel and pocket gopher burrows in open grasslands for shelter. They need fish-free temporary ponds for breeding sites. They have also adapted to using cattle ponds. Most habitat is on private land.

Click here for map legend. Maps courtesy of NatureServe.

Natural History

Rain triggered breeding migrations of adults occur during late fall and winter. Females lay eggs individually or in small clusters on submerged vegetation.

Additional Information

Amphibians were graded based on their population status, occupied habitat, and vulnerability to threats. These report cards are living documents that change based on the latest amphibian expert opinion received through the Amphibian Report Card website. We rely on experts to keep the information up-to-date. If you're a species expert, share your expertise here. To learn more about how amphibians were graded, click here.

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