Urban Wildlife - Smooth Newt

female smooth Newt © Philip Precey

Fascinating Fact about Smooth Newt

Three species of newt are native to Britain – the great crested (Triturus cristatus), smooth and palmate (Triturus helveticus). All three occur naturally in
Nottinghamshire, although you are only likely to see the smooth newt in Nottingham. All three are protected by law in the UK.

All about Smooth Newt

What to look for

Smooth newts grow up to 10cm long. The females are quite
plain but the males are normally olive green above, with black
blotches. Both sexes have a bright orange belly spotted with
black. The males also have a high wavy crest during the breeding
season.

when & where to see

Newts are mostly nocturnal. During the spring and
summer months (March to June) adult newts may be
seen in garden ponds, drainage ditches and lakes
whilst they are breeding. Outside of the breeding
season they can be found in a variety of habitats,
including woodland, gardens and parks. During the
summer, tadpoles may be seen in ponds.

did you know?

  • On land, newts eat slugs, snails, earthworms and small insects. In the water, they eat small insects, fi sh fry, and frog or toad tadpoles and spawn.
  • Newts start to return to their ponds in March. Newts have an elaborate courtship ritual in which the male “dances” in front of the female, waving his crest and showing off his fi ne colours. After mating, the female lays her eggs singly using her hind feet to fold the leaf of an underwater plant around each egg.
  • Newts start to return to their ponds in March.
    Newts have an elaborate courtship ritual in which
    the male “dances” in front of the female, waving
    his crest and showing off his fi ne colours. After
    mating, the female lays her eggs singly using her
    hind feet to fold the leaf of an underwater plant
    around each egg.
  • Newt tadpoles hatch at about two weeks, miniatures of their parents, with feathery external gills. By the time they are ready to leave the pond in August, their numbers are much reduced. Some may remain in the pond for a further year before undergoing metamorphosis (transforming from tadpole to adult); this can happen if the food or oxygen supply is poor.
  • After leaving the pond at the end of the breeding season, adult newts take up residence under logs and stones, in crevices of walls and in other  similar places. They frequently hibernate in such places, some will bury themselves in the soil, or use underground cavities around the foundations of buildings. They will sometimes share their winter quarters with frogs and toads. Hibernation refugia can easily be created in your garden by placing piles of rocks, wood, and even pieces of carpet.
  • Garden ponds are becoming ever more important for newts, as ponds in the open countryside become scarcer or more polluted.

Photos

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