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Toxic amphibians gather in Langford, common across B.C. coast

Rough-skinned newts gather in large numbers around wetlands from February to April
Langford warns residents to avoid contact, leash pets at toxic rough-skinned newts appear in Westhills. (City of Langford/Facebook)

Keep pets leashed and watch your step, Langford warns as a potentially toxic critter hangs around Westhills Park.

Rough-skinned newts were spotted near the gazebo, the city warned on March 7. The semi-aquatic amphibians are known to gather in large numbers around wetlands from February to April and can cause skin irritation when handled.

They contain harmful toxins when ingested, prompting the leash warning.

Taricha granulosa, or rough-skinned newt, are found in forests across Vancouver Island, the Gulf Islands at the mainland coast as far north as Echo Lake and Skeena River, according to a provincial conservation status report from 2022. The poison it produces is similar to that created by the puffer-fish with toxicity levels varying varies in different parts of the newt’s range.

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Christine van Reeuwyk

About the Author: Christine van Reeuwyk

Longtime journalist with the Greater Victoria news team.
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