Although they're not something we see too often in our area, Colorado does, in fact, have an official state amphibianthe western tiger salamander.

Part of the reason these amphibians aren't a common sighting is because they are nocturnal, however, if the conditions are right, you may just come across one in your yard someday.

Tiger salamanders prefer to live near bodies of water in damp forests, pine barrens and arid plains. According to 9News, if the conditions are right, tiger salamanders lose the gills they are born with and move onto land, only returning to the water to feed and breed. As adults, they might also take over abandoned mammal burrows. But another place they've been known to make homes out of in Northern Colorado is inside sprinkler valve boxes, which is where the salamander in the photo was found.

Kelsey Nistel/TSM
Kelsey Nistel/TSM

It makes sense that they would take shelter in these moist, dark places, but it can definitely lead to a surprise if you're not expecting to discover one.

Tiger salamanders can grow to be 14 inches. They'll feed on pretty much anything they can catch, including insects, slugs, worms, mice, and even other salamanders. In recent years, researchers have found them to be reproducing at higher elevations in Colorado.

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