Creature Feature: California Newt, Cute AND Deadly

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🐾Welcome to the NEC’s weekly Creature Feature!🐾

The California Newt (Taricha torosa) is a species endemic to California. Adults can reach 5 to 8 inches in length. Their skin produces a potent neurotoxin that is hundreds of times more toxic than cyanide but is only harmful if ingested. Due to their toxicity they have very few natural predators. Garter snakes are their most common predator and some species have developed a genetic resistance to their toxins. The California Newt’s diet mostly consists of earthworms, snails, slugs, woodlice, bloodworms, mosquito larvae, crickets and other invertebrates.

This photo was taken in the Smith River by the NEC’s Coastal Programs Coordinator, Casey Cruikshank.

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