Saturday, June 16, 2007

An Unexpected Visitor

"Hi! I live next door, thought I'd drop by and introduce myself, take a look at your new house. Love the porch, all this nice dry concrete to sun yourself on..." Howdy!
Isn't he a cutie? This little guy turned up last night and explored the porch for a little while. He's 4-5 inches long, including the tail. His topside is brown, a bit knobby and dry-looking, and his underbody is light orange. He moved v-e-r-r-r-y slowly, but purposefully, checking out several nooks and crannies while I took pictures of him.

rough-skinned newt
Eventually he decided he'd seen enough, so he walked back to the edge of the porch and slipped away into the 2" drainrock that is our back "stepping stone".
Bye! See you later...
I looked him up on the internet, and it's pretty clear he's a rough-skinned newt (Taricha granulosa). They are common in the pacific northwest, and are known for moving slowly, having rough, warty skin, and generally frequenting this sort of habitat. They have the distinction of being the most poisonous newt in North America. Only our native garter snakes, which have evolved special resistance to the newt's toxic compounds, can eat them and survive. No wonder he didn't seem very concerned with all the humans standing around watching him! I sure hope our cats know better than to try and eat these.

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