What is the Illinois State Amphibian?

An eastern tiger salamander.
An eastern tiger salamander.

The US state of Illinois is located in the American Midwest. It is also a Great Lakes state. The state became the 21st state to be admitted to the union after its admission on December 3, 1818. Also known as the Prairie State and the Land of Lincoln, Illinois has an area of around 57,914 square miles. 

The state amphibian of Illinois is the Eastern Tiger Salamander, which is scientifically known as Ambystoma tigrinum. The salamander is an example of one of the modern symbols after its selection recently on February 2, 2005. Even the selection of the salamander was done in a modern manner – in 2004, the state held an online election which had three candidates. Aside from the winner, the other two candidates were the American toad and the gray tree frog.


Typically, the Eastern Tiger Salamander (a type of mole salamander) grows to a length of anywhere between six and eight inches. Sometimes, they may grow to lengths of up to 14 inches although they rarely go beyond that. Aside from large lidded eyes, the adults can have a number of colors including grey, black, and green. Average sized Eastern Tiger Salamanders normally eat worms and small insects. However, the larger ones have been known to eat baby mice as well as small-sized frogs.


The salamander is a shy animal that is rarely seen out in the open, especially in adulthood. Instead, they prefer to make their habitats in burrows that are around two feet from the ground. This form of life is the same for all mole salamanders. As young ones, during their larval stage, they are entirely aquatic. To support this life in the water, they have prominent gills and a fin for movement in the water. As adults, they are mostly terrestrial although they have to go back to the water to breed. Normally, they go back to the water where they were bred in even if it means making a long journey. They are widespread all over Illinois, which is why they are classified as creatures of least concern.


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