Taricha tarosa tarosa
During the non-breeding season in California, the newt can be found on land, hiding under rocks, logs, and in crevices. During the breeding season, the newt takes to the water to live in slow moving pools and coastal streams. The glands on the skin of the newt produce a neurotoxin called tetrodotoxin. This is the same toxin found in pufferfish and is 100 times more toxic than cyanide. The toxin is only harmful if ingested, so the newt has few natural predators. The common Garter Snake, however, in a prime example of an "evolutionary arms race," has developed a resistance to tetrodotoxin and regularly dines on newts.
Santa Monica Mountains, California
Enhydra lutris nereis
A mom and pup feed together on kelp crabs. Sea otters and dolphins are the only non-primate mammals known to utilize tools. Otters may use a variety of tools in different ways to open or obtain their prey. They also tend to specialize in the types of prey items that they eat since each prey item requires as specific skill set for locating and handling the prey. This knowledge is passed on from mom to pup, which is nicely demonstrated in this image.
Monterey Bay, California
Though the majority of these large seals remained unconcerned with the photographer's presence, one single female was on high alert. Once hunted to the brink of extinction, these pelagic deep sea hunters now number over 100,000 in the United States.
Channel Islands, California