CERTAIN newts possess a neurotoxin that can be fatal if ingested. Toxic varities include the Taricha species that are found in Oregon, California, and southern Alaska (Figure). In addition, certain species found on the east coast such as the Notophthalmus species of the Carolinas are toxic, but the toxin is only 1/100th as potent as that found in Taricha.1
Report of Cases
A 29-year-old man drank approximately 150 mL of whiskey at about 11 AM July 9, 1979. At 6 PM he swallowed a 20-cm newt on a dare. Within ten minutes he complained of tingling of the lips. During the next two hours he began complaining of numbness and weakness and stated that he thought he was going to die. He refused to be transported to a hospital and was left alone for 15 minutes and then experienced cardiopulmonary arrest. Resuscitation measures were initiated, but two
Bradley SG, Klika LJ. A Fatal Poisoning From the Oregon Rough-Skinned Newt (Taricha granulosa). JAMA. 1981;246(3):247. doi:10.1001/jama.1981.03320030039026
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