The skin of this enchanting amphibian produces tetrodotoxin, the same neurotoxin found in the Japanese puffer fish. It’s best not to touch it at all. Because of its toxicity, the newt has no known predators.
The Basics —Rough-skinned newt Taricha granulosa Order: Salamanders Caudata Family: Newts Salamandridae Life span averages 12 years
Identification—6 to 8 inches long Color is dark reddish brown or black Newts have dry, granular skin on top with smooth bright golden-orange underbellies
Habitat —Widely distributed along the West Coast from British Columbia to California. Newts are terrestrial but prefer living near quiet slow-moving waters and ponds along grasslands, woodlands and forest.
Diet —Newts are carnivores that feed on worms, slugs, spiders and other invertebrates. Breeding—The timing of breeding varies greatly, most often December through June. Males and females meet and select mates on land, but save the coupling to take place strictly underwater. Females lay their fertilized eggs under the leaves of aquatic plants where they develop until the larvae hatch. The eggs themselves are suspended in a jelly-like substance containing tetrodotoxin to protect them from predators in this most vulnerable stage.
UNDERWRITTEN BY NEWSMATCH/MIAMI FOUNDATION, THE ANGEL GUILD, ROTARY CLUB OF GIG HARBOR, ADVERTISERS, DONORS AND PEOPLE WHO SUPPORT LOCAL, INDEPENDENT NONPROFIT NEWS