Tuesday, March 13, 2012

It's Raining Newts!

We are so lucky to live right on a section of Copsey Creek and with it comes a bounty of amazing wildlife. Like the California Newt, known to some as the "orange bellied newt".

These little creatures nestle under debris found along the creek but when the rains come they go on "walk about" and that often includes all the area surrounding our house. They can be found during the day but tend to be more nocturnal. Sometimes they venture out in nice weather too and it is not unusual to find them wandering down the front path in search of their favorite food, slugs.

We don't ever go outside at night without a flashlight, even during a full moon, as we could potentially step on a newt. Some are easily visible as they can reach sizes up to eight inches in length. However, it is not unusual for us to find babies that are only about an inch long. When the rains come we scour the driveway before anyone moves a vehicle as we would be devastated if we were to squish one of these little guys.

It is important that you wash your hands after handling newts as their skin has a neurotoxin that is a hundred times more toxic than cyanide. The neurotoxin is only dangerous if consumed but it would be a bummer to forget to wash your hands and then go about eating a sandwich or something.

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