Facts about Newts

Why the Newt Mascot?

Why did we choose the Newt to be our mascot?  Was it because of his (or her) very clever and oh so neutral “Newt” name?  Or was it because newts are frequently GREEN?  Well, yes, … but it’s also because we think the newt fits what we do so perfectly.

The following are some very interesting facts about our Newt friends that relate to sustainability and reflect what we do (and care about) at Paper-Newt, our organization:

Did you know that …

  • Newts can regenerate many of their limbs, including their hearts, eyes, intestines, jaws and even their spinal cords!  Just like we can sort of regenerate paper through recycling, newts can actually regenerate themselves!  Wouldn’t that be great if we could all be as clever as newts!
  • Newts love the number 3 (like the three R’s of paper conservation: reduce, re-use and recycle), and they have three distinct cycles of life: aquatic larva, terrestrial juvenile, and adult. (If only they could also fly then they would truly represent all areas of the environment!  Oh well, no one’s perfect!).
  • Just as paper production produces toxic waste, many kinds of newts produce toxins through their skin.  Toxins and the environmental impact of paper use is a byproduct of human pleasure and commercial activity; in the case of newts, they have toxic skin as a defensive mechanism to protect themselves.
  • Although newts produce toxins on their skin which can be harmful to humans, proper handling (which includes post-contact hand-washing) means they can be touched and even become loveable pets!  Just like paper, newts can be toxic to humans and the environment if not handled properly or respected.
  • Just as newt skin can be toxic to humans (and paper production can be toxic for the environment), oils in human skin can be toxic to newts. Lesson to be learned: handle both paper and newts very carefully and not more than you have to!
  • Because of their paper-thin sensitive skin, newts are amazing environmental indicators (which actually makes them great mascots for anything environmental).  Because of the high permeability of their skin, newts are very sensitive to changes in the pH level of their aquatic habitats. Want to know the state of a pond’s water quality?  Ask a newt.  That’s what scientists do (sort of).
  • (Warning: this last one is a bit of a stretch).  You know how virgin paper production isn’t good for trees – the more virgin paper you produce the more trees you destroy?  And you know that if we destroyed every single tree on the planet it would make us very sick because of the environmental consequences?  And you know that trees are plants?  Well, did you know that if newts eat plants they can get very sick and even die?  It’s true – newts are carnivores and so can’t digest plants.  So newts aren’t vegan!  They like meat, which as we know isn’t terribly environmental, but still they make great environmental mascots!  Nobody is perfect, including newts, but if we all do our part then together we can make the world a better place!  So let’s hear three cheers for the newt!