November through March is migration and breeding season for the California newt, a native salamander species. Newts make their way from sheltered upland areas to ponds, lakes, creeks and other wet areas to breed. Once in the water, they become aquatic and can swim.
Newts migrate in mass and can be seen in large groups crossing District trails and local roadways, especially after rain and heavy fog events. Trail users are asked to proceed slowly and keep an eye out for newts. Areas of known newt migrations in and near Midpen preserves include:
- Los Gatos Creek/Lexington Reservoir including the Jones trail, Los Gatos Creek Trail, Alma Bridge, Montevina, and Black roads
- Mindego Hill Trail from Alpine Road to the council circle.
- Alpine Road near the Ancient Oaks trail
If I see migrating newts on the trail, what should I do?
- Do not remove newts, they do not make good pets and they secrete a powerful neurotoxin through their skin to repel predators. This poison can cause death in many animals, including humans, if ingested.
- Do not handle local newts, instead pass slowly and alert other trail users. Although some newts are not able to successfully cross a road or trail, many do make it as evidenced by the ongoing migrations seen each year.
- Report newt observations using citizen science. The District often “mines” information from iNaturalist and other sources to determine where migrations occur and to identify areas of conflict where dead newts are observed.
Migrating Newts at La Honda Creek Open Space Preserve