Does this animal pose a health risk to native
wildlife, humans, livestock and agriculture?
Significant Cause for Concern
Tiger salamanders are known carriers of the highly infectious amphibian chytrid fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd), which causes the disease chytridiomycosis. This species is immune to Bd, but the fungus is a significant threat to most frog species. Bd has been linked to massive die-offs and recent extinctions of native frogs around the world.
Tiger salamanders are also known carriers of ranaviruses a large complex of related viruses (Family Iridoviridae) that infect reptiles, amphibians, and fish. The transportation of tiger salamander larvae for use as fishing bait appears to have exposed wild salamander populations to ranaviruses in western North America. Tiger salamander larvae themselves sometimes suffer catastrophic mortality from ranavirus infection; such episodes can recur year after year in the same population.
Like most amphibians, salamanders can carry Salmonella. If transmitted to humans, Salmonella can cause vomiting and diarrhea; these symptoms are often mild in healthy adults but can be fatal to young children and the elderly, or anyone with a compromised immune system. It is therefore important to wash hands before and after handling these animals; however, surfaces may also become contaminated. Thus Salmonella can be transmitted from exotic pets to any member of a household, even those who do not handle the pet directly.