The barred salamander is among the largest known salamander in North America. These amphibians can be found throughout the western half of the US and prefer, forests, woodlands, and grasslands for their habitat. Considered to be terrestrial, adult barred salamanders typically only visit water sources for breeding or rarely to cool off or stay moist. Juveniles of the species hatch with gills and a tail fin, taking around nine months to fully metamorphose into their adult form and leave the water. Like California tiger salamanders, the barred salamander’s diet consists mainly of insects, worms, and snails. They will occasionally eat larger prey like small rodents, fish, and even other salamanders.
Lindsay Wildlife Experience is home to a hybrid salamander named Hobbes. Hobbes arrived at the Lindsay Wildlife Hospital in 2021 with an injured tail. Closer examination revealed that Hobbes shows characteristics of potentially being a hybrid of two distinct species – the barred salamander and the California tiger salamander. This phenomenon is a known regional occurrence, with hybrid offspring documented as growing larger and more aggressive than either parent species. Their large size and tendency toward aggression allows them to outcompete non-hybrids in their habitats, which has resulted in legislation preventing found hybrids from being released back into the wild. Due to injury and potential hybrid status, Hobbes cannot be released into the wild and will remain at Lindsay Wildlife Experience as an animal ambassador.