Monday, January 30, 2023

MendoMoments: Why Is That Newt So Dang Happy? Because His Human Bro Brought Him Back to Life

This newt is smiling the smile of a creature that narrowly escaped death, thanks to his new human bro Elias Laughton [Photo provided by Laughton]

Elias Laughton was out and about in his yard west of Hopland when he found a newt trapped in the bottom of a plastic bucket, desiccated from the recent unexpected heatwave. The little guy was “past the point of dehydration” resembling a “dry skeleton”.

Saddened by the amphibian’s fate trapped in the “plastic tomb”, Laughton picked the newt out of the bucket and was “surprised to see its tail give a slight squirm.” 

“Life! But, what to do?”

Summoning his knowledge of the newt’s life cycle, Laughton imagined “each year as the ground cracks and hardens, trapping them in the summer hibernation.” He realized that the creature had “experienced plenty of dry weather.” 

So, Laughton “decided to try and re-create Nature’s perfect conditions.” 

Wrapping the newt in a damp paper towel, Laughton placed him in a clean glass bowl and tucked him away in a “dark corner of the pantry.” 

Mother nature’s mysterious ways began. Laughton was amazed as he watched the excess water be “absorbed by the salamander’s body.”

The amphibian spent three days in a “rehabilitation chamber” and every day his human caretaker would add more water.

One morning, Laughton checked in on the newt and was greeted by “a living, breathing being.”

Amazed at the creature’s resurrection, Laughton noticed his little buddy “even graced me with a smile when I brought him back out into the light of day.

Thinking back on the little guy, Laughton said, “Animals are beautiful people.”

We would like to add, people can be beautiful people too.

MendoMoments, is dedicated to showcasing the land, animals, and people that make up Mendocino County. All Mendocino County residents and visitors are invited to participate. Send photographs to including a description of what your photograph depicts, where it was taken, and any other important details.

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Matt LaFever
Matt LaFever
I like to think of myself as a journalist for the everyman. Journalism has become a craft practiced largely by the urban elite. It’s time to take it back. I have been an Emerald Triangle resident since 2006 and this is year ten in Mendocino County. Please, email me at if you know a story that needs to be told.

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