The eastern tiger salamander is the largest salamander in Minnesota. They are dark in color with irregularly placed yellow spots. Their skin is soft and smooth. Even though they get their name from their coloration they are aggressive predators, preying mainly on worms and insects with the occasional small frog or mouse for variety.
Salamanders are amphibians that spend the first part of their life living in the water. The larva hatch from eggs that are attached to aquatic vegetation. They breathe through large external gills. In takes about 4 to 6 months for them to reach there adult form. As they go through their metamorphosis they will develop internal lungs. As an adult they will use these to take in oxygen, although they exhale most of their CO2 through their skin. Adults spend most of their time in borrows a few feet below the ground. They will typically only venture out during the mating season in the spring when they will return to the water. I photographed this salamander crossing the road in the fall which means that it was probably a juvenile.