File photo

It’s not just us humans who get romantic around Valentine’s Day. Have you heard of newt love? UC Botanical Garden director and zoologist Paul Licht is intimately familiar with the mating habits of the two newt species – Taricha torosa (California newt) and Taricha granulosa (rough-skin newt) – that become amorous at this time of year. And it’s quite a sight (watch video, above).

According to the Botanical Garden, these small, dark-skinned amphibians hide in the underbrush and are rarely seen by humans, but, once the rains come, scores of them gravitate to the crystal-clear waters of the Japanese Pool. (Perhaps using the famous newt crossing in Tilden Park to get there.)

Want to see it for yourself? Visit the Japanese Pool during garden hours. Docents are on hand to explain the newts’ mating habits, lifecycle and habitat – from 2 to 3:30 p.m., Sunday, Feb. 17, and Monday, Feb. 18. (Free with garden admission.) Visit UC Botanical Garden Berkeley website for more information.

Locals call for road closure to prevent slaughter of newts [10.26.12]

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Tracey Taylor is co-founder of Berkeleyside and co-founder and editorial director of Cityside, the nonprofit parent to Berkeleyside and The Oaklandside. Before launching Berkeleyside, Tracey wrote for...