It rains a lot in Western North Carolina. Like, on average 71 inches a year in Transylvania County. And you might think, when it comes to hiking, that would slow us down at Earthshine. Who wants to stomp around the forest when it’s wet out? Well, if you’re a red eft, a soggy day is just perfect for a stroll. So, spring and summer, whenever it rains, we love to go out looking for these little friends. They’re pretty easy to spot too. Four legs. Tail. Usually about 2 to 4 inches long. Never seem to be in a hurry. Oh, and they’re bright, fiery orange, so they kind of stand out.
A red eft is actually the juvenile form of a common newt. They start their lives in water, hatching from eggs, but as soon as they can crawl away they become totally terrestrial and wander around the forest floor for a couple years. They don’t need to move very fast, because that bright coloring is a warning to predators that they taste bad.
Yeah, and we know they’re ridiculously cute, but it’s not a good idea to pick them up. No, they can’t hurt you, but their skin is super absorbent, and the salt and oils on your skin can be bad for them.
There’s a whole other forest when it rains at Earthshine. Totally worth getting soaked to see it.