Smiling tigers on prowl at aquarium

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Visitors to Hastings Blue Reef Aquarium are in for an extra special treat following the arrival of a pair of tiger salamanders, which have recently gone on display.

Originally from America, the tiger salamander is the world’s largest species and can reach lengths of up to 30 centimetres. As well as being the biggest they also have the reputation for being the happiest as they appear to have a perpetual grin.

They are part of the mole salamander family which also includes the Critically Endangered axolotl. Known as the ‘Peter Pans’ of the animal world, axolotls remain in their tadpole stage for their entire lives.

Found throughout the USA, tiger salamanders live in burrows on the edge of swamps and other watery environments. They can live for up to 20 years and full grown adults have been known to catch frogs and even mice.

Blue Reef Aquarium’s Leanna Lawson says Mole salamanders such as these are definitely one of the more unusual species of reptile. “We already have some of their cousins, the axolotls, on display but this is the first time we have had tiger salamanders as well,” she said. “Although ours still have quite a lot of growing to do they are already impressive looking specimens.

“I think a lot of their popularity with visitors and the zoological team is they always look so happy. It’s difficult to look at them and not want to laugh because of these daft grins they’ve got!”

Tiger salamanders get their name from the tan to yellow vertical bars on their dark brown to black bodies. These bars vary in thickness depending on the population. They range from central Nebraska south to southern Texas and west to central Colorado and New Mexico.

The tiger salamander is also the state amphibian for Kansas.

Blue Reef Aquarium, Rock-a-Nore Road is 0pen daily from 10am.

For more information call 01424 718776, or visit the website at: www.bluereefaquarium.co.uk/hastings or find them on Facebook.