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Tetrodotoxin terrors

Discussion in 'Salamanders & Newts' started by furryscaly, Apr 9, 2005.

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  1. furryscaly

    furryscaly Elite Member

    Figured I'd help out the caudatan forum with some recent news. Well, when I was home on leave I spent an entire day at my old high school talking to hundreds of students about a variety of exotics, mostly herps (although Rupert was a hit too. Its not everyday you see a pheasant on a leash).

    Some of the herps I brought were my newts, including Zooba, the rough-skinned newt (Taricha granulosa). Although I washed my hands after handling him, I think at some point in the day I didn't do so good a job at it. By the time the day was over, my thyroid glands were feeling a bit swollen. This got me a little nervous, cause rough-skinned newts contain enough deadly tetrodotoxin to kill a full-grown man. Just in case it was the tetrodotoxin that was causing my symptoms, I forced myself to vomit after I got back home. Man, a good muffin gone to waste. Whether it was truly due to the tetrododoxin, I'll never be 100% sure, but I did feel better after I emptied my stomach.

    Fortunately though, Zooba's skin alone wouldn't have enough poison on it to kill me, its within his glands that he holds the deadly blow. Had he oozed out white beads of fluid, then I would've been in trouble. What really steams me though is that anyone can go down to the petstore and buy a rough-skinned newt without a permit or even having to know anything about them. They go for less than $10 and if some little kid, or some drunk friend swallows one, you better think about what you want on their tombstone.
  2. BlackJack

    BlackJack Subscribed User Premium Member

    Holy cow! I'm glad you're OK and feeling better. That's intense.

    Did you mention their toxicity to the students you were talking to?
    I would think petstores should be required to post warning labels on tanks with poisonous animals... so frustrating!
  3. furryscaly

    furryscaly Elite Member

    Yeah, the toxicity was one of the key points in my newt discussion, along with the general differences between newts and sallies, and how pet stores know very little about various newt species. Actually, rough-skinned newts are fairly common in pet stores, though most die due to improper housing. They're rarely sold under their true name, often going by orange-bellied newts instead (not the same as fire-bellieds though). I wasn't terribly worried when it happened cause I knew there aws no way I ingested enough to kill me, but it still gave me a little rush. Enough of a rush to make me puke, just to be on the safe side.
  4. fuse

    fuse Elite Member

    thats very nice of u to be helping out bt do be careful dude!!!
  5. Merlin

    Merlin Administrator Staff Member Premium Member

    Maybe you need a warning sign!

    Don't laugh! As silly as it sounds people were getting high licking toads! :eek:
    I wonder how they found out they could do THAT! :rolleyes:
  6. rbl

    rbl MacGyver in real life

    Glad you kept your perspective of life ;)

    Merlin, you need to redo your warning sign:

    btw, that kind of signs was how the prince charming business went belly up ;)
  7. furryscaly

    furryscaly Elite Member

    Hey, that was a good muffin. Had chocolate chips in it. Mmmm.
  8. Toadie78

    Toadie78 Elite Member

    choco chip muffins rule. and you only have one thyroid gland dude.
  9. furryscaly

    furryscaly Elite Member

    :p my thyroid swelled then. That's the one in your throat right? Whatever one is in your throat.
  10. esbat

    esbat Reptile Rescue Premium Member

    My daughter's grade 7 class went on a camping trip and the teacher taught them that.
  11. Toadie78

    Toadie78 Elite Member

    i know crazy huh. I think thats the gland in your throat.
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