California Newt ( Taricha torosa )
California Newt - California Newt information - California Newt facts
Taricha torosa occupies southern parts of the United States. It can be found in the coastline (Taricha torosa torosa) as well as in the mountain area (Taricha torosa sierrae). It is approximately 14-20 cm long, whereas males are larger than females. They vary in colour, which ranges from bright brown to dark brown and with yellowish ventral side.
The breeding process (internal fertilisation) is from December till May and usually follows after a “dance ritual”. The California newt prefers dry climate and lives close to ponds, lakes and other water areas.
The food they eat consists of insects, slugs, worms, snails, bugs and even their own eggs and larvae. Although they are successful predators, newts are also eaten by a number of animals such as birds, snakes, large spiders, mammals, birds and so on. Therefore they have developed anti-predatory mechanisms and defensive behaviour.
When threatened they use several weapons how to scare and protect themselves against their enemy. It includes a typical sound, then unique posture with raised head and tail, and last but not least they can excrete a neurotoxin from numerous poison glands in their skin. Their body contains a highly toxic tetrodotoxin, which is harmful to other animal species however not harmful to the newts. This toxin is so powerful, that only 1 drop can kill up to 7 000 mice. The Puffer Fish contain this substance as well.