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California Newt

Newt stands on leaf, floating in water

Latin Name

Taricha torosa

History at CuriOdyssey

Our California Newts come to us from the Aquarium by the Bay in San Francisco in May 2023. They are at least six years old.

Fun facts about California Newts

The newts have rough, grainy brown skin on top with an orange/red belly that serves as a warning that they are poisonous (they are only poisonous if eaten). CA newts have a remarkable emergency defense against wildfires. When the newt is exposed to fire, the slim coating on its skin  foams up and chars to a crusty white ash, which protects the newt from catching fire, while the foam sealed underneath serves as insulation against the heat of the flames.

What do California Newts eat?

At CuriOdyssey, we serve our newts crickets and worms. In the wild, newts eat mostly insects and works, aquatic larvae and tadpoles, occasionally the nestlings of very small birds.

How long to California Newts live?

In the Wild: 10–15 years.
In Captivity: up to 20+ years have been recorded.

Where do California Newts live?

Wet forests, grasslands, chaparrals, and coastal habitats with sufficient moisture, up to 1200 m (4200 ft). Found along the coast and coastal mountains from Mendocino County down to San Diego County.

Are California Newts endangered?

California newts are classified as a Species of Special Concern in California, but do not have federal protection. Habitat loss and destruction, particularly as a result from human alteration of the land, is a threat to newt populations throughout California. The accidental introduction of crayfish and the intentional introduction of mosquito fish (to control mosquito populations) are also a threat, as California newts have no way to defend their young against these predators, which are immune to newt skin poison.


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1651 Coyote Point Drive
San Mateo, CA 94401
Ohlone Land Acknowledgement
[email protected]

CuriOdyssey is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, Tax ID 94-1262434

Accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. The gold standard for animal care and welfare.
ASTC Member. Association of Science and Technology Centers.
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