We found a small red eft in the yard today, the first we’ve ever seen here. In fact, I don’t think I’ve seen one since I was a boy in Western Pennsylvania. It seems remarkable, as it’s about 49 degrees, and it was moving a bit. The spots on his back are characteristic.
For scale, here he is at the bottom of a pint mason jar, before being returned to the yard.
This is the juvenile stage of the eastern newt. That’s a salamander, but this stage lives on land and has lungs. The red color is thought to signal to predators that it is toxic. The lifespan is thought to be 12-15 years. The length, fully grown, is about five inches.
Here’s a link to a bit more info:
According to Jensen, Camp, Gibbons, and Eliott’s Amphibians and Reptiles of Georgia (University of Georgia Press, 2008), it is common throughout the state. Why was it here today? Well, we’ve had a bit of rain over the past few days, and, “Efts, especially those in northern Georgia, frequently wander the forest floor in broad daylight after rain showers, apparently oblivious to to would-be predators such as birds” (256).