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The Mystery Of The 3 Dead Oregon Hunters

Curled up Rough-Skinned Newt. The most poisonous animal in America.

There is a tale about three hunters found dead around a campfire in Oregon in the 1960s. They showed no signs of injury and were not robbed. The only strange thing at the scene was a coffee pot, in which a curled up newt laid inside. a scientist named Butch Brodie became curious about the story and decided to investigate. The newt in the coffee pot-known as the rough-skinned newt-has a dull brown back, but when it is disturbed, it bends its head backward to reveal its orange bright colored belly. Bright colors are common in poisonous animals, they let others know they should probably not be eaten or messed with. Brodie wondered if the newts were toxic too.

Toxic would be an understatement, the newts produced a chemical in their skin called tetrodotoxin (TTX), 10,000 times deadlier than cyanide. We may never know for sure what killed the three hunters from Oregon, but there was definitely enough poison in their coffee pot to kill them and many more.

Another interesting fact about the rough-skinned newt is that the female newts pass some of their TTX to their eggs, to protect them from predators.

Source: Discover Magazine