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Old 16th July 2009   #1
Wes von Papinešu
(wes_von_papinešu)
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Default OR Press: Letter: Take care when handling toxic, dangerous rough-skinned newts

GAZETTE-TIMES (Corvallis, Oregon) 24 June 09 Letter: Take care when handling toxic, dangerous rough-skinned newts

(The Monday Gazette-Times) has a front-page picture of a young girl holding a rough-skinned newt. These are the most common salamanders in the Northwest. I see them frequently in
McDonald Forest.

People should be aware that the skin secretions of this salamander contain a potent toxin (tetrodotoxin) as protection from predators. Despite the toxin, they are eaten by some snakes. There is reportedly enough poison in one newt to kill 17 humans.

It is unlikely that people will eat the newts but there are horror stories like the time a newt crawled into a coffee pot of campers who didn’t notice and two died the next morning after breakfast. The newts deserve to be treated carefully.
Bob Custer
Corvallis

Editor’s note: Bob Custer is right. The rough-skinned newt’s skin secretions could pose an irritation, and that it is poisonous if eaten. However, no newt experts could confirm the veracity of the story about the newt in the coffee pot. However, an online search did turn up a reference to an old tale about loggers in coastal Oregon being found dead, and those who found them seeing a boiled newt in their coffee pot. So if it’s an urban legend, it’s a persistent one ,with different versions (or different victims?).
http://www.gazettetimes.com/articles...tter062409.txt




Last edited by Kaysie; 16th July 2009 at 17:51. Reason: Separated paragraphs
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