What do think of when you say the word Newt? … maybe you thought they were just a mythical made up creature! Well in fact the Oregon coast is home to this very interesting creature the Rough Skinned Newt!
Rough-skinned newts were named for their dry granular skin―most other salamander species have moist smooth skin. A terrestrial adult newt has a brown head and back with a bright orange belly and can grow to almost eight inches in total length.
Through the non-breeding season, terrestrial adults live in forested areas along the coast and through to the eastern foothills of the Cascades. They find protection in or under soft logs. For their size, these newts travel relatively long distances between their breeding and non-breeding habitat and may be seen crossing sidewalks and roads during spring and fall as they migrate.
An interesting study from Standford University reveals Rough-skinned newts harbor in their skin the same deadly toxin found in blowfish. A newt must be ingested to be toxic but Garter snakes that dine on the newts have evolved resistance to the toxin, spurring greater toxicity in the newts by natural selection.
Researchers report that in some areas, the snakes have somehow evolved levels of resistance far beyond what the newts are capable of countering. The newt emits an acrid smell that probably discourages most predators from tasting it.