The Toxic Red-Bellied Newt



This red-bellied newt, Taricha rivularis, defends itself against a threat by displaying its tomato red underside. The more danger the creature perceives, says AmphibiaWeb, the closer the head and tail and head bend towards each other. In addition, says the site, the newt secretes a toxic substance while it is arching.

If any animal ignores the bright red coloration which signals poison, then they are in for an unpleasant surprise. The skin of the newt has been estimated to contain enough toxin to kill between 1000 and 2500 mice. And, yes, if eaten, the poison is enough to kill a human. If you do pick one up, wash your hands well afterwards.



  • is this for real?? I’ve caught a million of these in my life…

  • Wade Davis zombiefication in Haiti.tetrodotoxin and scopolamine.makes legend.

  • Boy am I glad I don’t eat newts! Though, most of them I’ve ever seen are the classic California Newt, with their undersides tending much more to yellow, I’ve also seen/caught lots of these red guys. I only remember one that just looked too creepy to touch, as though he might be sick. He was bright red and his skin on top was much darker, bulging more in the midsection, too. He seemed to me to be too far from the pond or anywhere damp enough for an amphibian, so I scooped him up in a little cardboard box and put him in the water.

  • And, I never saw one do that arching trick either.

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