Animals in Winter: Rough-skinned Newt

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Rough-skinned Newt – Taricha granulosa

The rough-skinned newt, named for its rough granular skin, is a medium to large-sized newt with a rounded snout and bright orange underside. The rough-skinned newt is the most common salamander found in the Pacific Northwest and is amongst the five most common amphibians in Washington State.

Newts can be found in forested habitats and are typically out and about when the temperature is moderate, and the ground is moist. Adults will travel the forest floor in search of soft bodied invertebrate such as slugs. During the breeding season, adult newts will migrate to ponds, wetland, lakes, road ditches and slow-moving creeks to mate. During this time, February to April, large groups of newts are often found clumped together in aquatic habitats.

The rough-skinned newt does not have many predators due to its highly toxic nature. Rough-skinned newts produce a toxin (tetrodotoxin) within their skin which few predators can survive when ingested. However, the Common Garter Snake (Thamnophis sirtalis) is one predator that has evolved defenses against the newt’s toxins and can eat rough-skinned newts without harm.

SHADOW Lake nature preserve has both excellent terrestrial and aquatic habitat for the rough-skinned newt.

 

By:
Joy Stewart