No, not of the Gingrich kind but from the salamander family, which the California Newt is one strain of. Fun side note, a newt is always a salamander but a salamander is not always a newt.
Ignore the hairy knuckles in the photo above. While they might remind us of the more primitive and perhaps dangerous side of man, it’s the tiny animal clasped between the fingers that we should pay heed to.
The toothy grin and small stature of the California Newt convey cuteness and innocence, yet that Dr. Seuss like orange body is drenched in poison hundreds of times more toxic than cyanide. Harmless to its host, this neurotoxin is strong enough to kill most predators, including humans, but only if ingested.
Think on this before judging someone as weak, incapable or easy to manipulate. Meekness on the outside quite often belies a strong spirit made of many hard fought battles from the past. One who has tamed their interior poison to work for them instead of against, so it no longer spews at random but only when gravely threatened.
So admire the Newt, treat it with respect and dignity but never underestimate it and certainly never, ever try to eat one! Things will not turn out well as this poor frog below discovers too late.