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Rough-skinned newt’s skin produces toxin, so don’t touch

To defend itself, the rough-skinned newt produces a dangerous toxin from its skin, so it’s best not to handle the animal.
To defend itself, the rough-skinned newt produces a dangerous toxin from its skin, so it’s best not to handle the animal. Courtesy to The Bellingham Herald

With its bumpy skin that ranges in color from dark-gray to reddish brown, the rough-skinned newt (Taricha granulosa) is eye-catching, but don’t pick it up for a closer look.

To defend itself, the amphibian can produce a powerful toxin from its skin. While the toxin’s danger is highest when the newt has been eaten, some people who have picked one up say the toxin irritated their skin.

Newts are a kind of salamander, but with rougher skin and flat tails. Stocky, they can reach 8 inches in length. They spend most of their time on the land, living in piles of leaves, under rotting bark, and in damp areas near bodies of water. During mating season, they migrate to lakes, ponds and rivers, where females lay their eggs on aquatic plants.

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