This little fellow is a familiar and friendly part of woodland life. The red eft is the immature stage of the aquatic Red Spotted Newt.

On rainy days, it is easy to find red efts on the damp forest floor at our campsite in Upstate New York. They eat small insects and worms and , as all amphibians do, need to keep its skin damp and supple.

They start out life in ponds. The adult Red Spotted Salamanders are totally aquatic. They are also green.

The Red Eft lives on land for up to 7 years. Their red color is a warning to any animal who might find them delicious. They are quite poisonous if eaten. They are fun to handle and safe too but always wash your hands after handling any animal especially amphibians. Many have toxic and distasteful secretions.

On one occasion a few years ago, I witnessed one who was deformed. Amphibians (frogs,salamanders) have been on earth for very much longer than mankind. Recently, there have been some dramatic dangers to their survival. Scientists are studying if humans and their pesticides are responsible.

Birth defect ~ No right eye and a stubby tail.

When the eft is mature, it will turn green and develop gills and a flat tail. I constantly find them in many sizes and colorations.

Don’t forget that eft makes a delightful word for amazing teachers AND it comes in handy while playing word games too. 🙂

Loving dampness on forest floor.