Aug 25, 2009

Newt Ribs

I know, these newts looks like your run-of-the-mill newt. Nothing extraordinary to look at, though they might be fun to keep in a terrarium.

Photo source: Peter Halasz via Budapest Zoo

What you don't know is that the Spanish ribbed newt, Pleurodeles waltl, has a rare talent: it can thrust the pointed ends of its rib cage through its sides to produce defensive spurs.

Photo source: BBC via

When it comes to dealing with self defense mechanisms, I've become pretty adept, at least when it comes to countering my son's ploys to avoid a diaper change. He tries the time-honored tricks of flailing, rolling, flopping, and making himself dead weight by going limp. I've learned a blend of distraction, cajoling, good humor, and a patented leg lock (to be used on the floor only) to get said diaper changed. If, however, I ran the risk of my boy intentionally thrusting his ribs through his flanks to pierce my hands with their pointy ends, diaper changing would be an entirely different ordeal. That's escalation on a level with which I am not prepared to contend.

Thanks for the newt, Ida.


April Lorier said...

Aw, comeon! Your fatherly instinct would persevere, I just know it!

g3 said...

You forgot to mention... the ribs are also poisoned! Toxic dirty diapers pale in comparison!

Ellen said...

Does the skin heal or is this a one time use like some members of the insect family? I wonder if it hurts???

Anonymous said...

Yikes. And I love newts.