California Tiger Salamander Breeding Activity

December and January are typically the months when seasonal pools begin to fill up. As the ground saturates and water levels rise, the California tiger salamanders come out of their dry season hides and seek out ponds for breeding.

This CTS in swimming in a few inches of clear water. Note the structure. In this pond, eggs are disbursed.

The females lay single eggs and the males come along behind them to make them fertile. The eggs are laid singly, but sometimes so close to each other that they appear to be in the same gel. Here are a few photos of this seasons crop.

This is the classic single CTS egg. When a pond has a lot of structure, eggs seem to be distributed more evenly about the pond and may be more difficult to find.

 (double click to enlarge for closer look)

When structure is limited, the salamanders will lay eggs close to each other.

Sometimes, when eggs are laid next to each other, the gel almost combines giving the appearance that more that one egg was laid in a single mass of gel.

This CTS breeding pond is on the rise. It will need additional rain in order for it to last until the larvae are mature.



This larvae was photographed in summer when it was nearly ready to depart into the upland.

9 thoughts on “California Tiger Salamander Breeding Activity

  1. I know this is an older post but how does this year look for the CTS breeding? It seems like we’ve had a lot of rain so far.

    • Awesome! This makes me very happy to hear. I’ve never seen a CTS in person but God knows I’ve tried for years. You are a lucky man to have these beautiful creatures roaming about your property.

      Thank you for your wonderful updates.

  2. Hello, I wanted to report that with the heavy rains this year, we have once again found what I thought was a tiger salamander in our swimming pool. It has been 5 or 6 years since we have seen one of these cool creatures in our yard. I am just confused because everything that I have read does not show them existing in our area, which is San Diego County. I would love to text or email you a picture of the guy we saved from our pool, for identification.

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