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Rough-skinned newt

Taricha granulosa

Description:

This little guy was crossing the trail and almost was run over about 3 times before I decided enough was enough. I knew that this species was particularly toxic, but I took my chances because I was aware that one must INGEST the toxin produced from glands on the back and head in order to be killed. I was very careful and washed my hands immediately afterward. I made sure not to handle the creature for any longer than was necessary to move it and snap a few photos. Then I put it down off the trail and it scurried away to a safer venue. Rough-skinned newts (as well as many others) venture higher up on land around this time of year, often in masses. It is extremely important to take care when crossing trails, especially around any freshwater source as they are vulnerable and often killed from unaware hikers, bikers, etc. I've seen one too many flattened newts, and it's a bit heartbreaking. PLEASE take care if you're going to venture out, because they are slow and unable to cross human-infiltrated surfaces as quickly as feet or wheels. While I do NOT suggest handling them (especially if you don't know whether or not you are particularly sensitive to the toxin-- it can irritate the skin of some people), if there is no other way to get the creature to a safer path, and you know there will be traffic, handle them quickly and carefully. I do regret taking even a few more seconds to take a photo, as the creature was probably terrified. That was my mistake. But please see this photo as a realization of my own desires needing to take second-place to those of the creatures of this planet. Take nothing but photos, and leave nothing but footprints, right? Thank you for reading this, if you have. I love this community!

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Christy Chow
Spotted by
Christy Chow

California, USA

Spotted on Jan 19, 2015
Submitted on Feb 7, 2015

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