March 30th 2014

Doing the annual clean of the ponds, a few Smooth (or Common) Newts came up with the mud. Adult Newts only spend time in the water for breeding, coming out of hibernation from deep in mud, under stones or logs etc in February or March, to mate from March to May. Smooth Newts are the most common of our three native Newt species (all of which are legally protected), and find their way to shallow ponds and rivers at this time of year, able to detect water from a distance away. Smooth Newts are the most terrestrial- the rest of the year they help keep the population of slugs and snails down. All our native Newts are nocturnal and are best seen by using a bright torch – at this time of year you may see courtship behaviour this way. Male and female Smooth Newts are hard to tell apart most of the year but during the breeding season males become much darker than females, and develop a wavy crest from head to tail. These newts easily found their way back to the pond after being fished out in the spring clean-up. Conditions: High cloud and haze, dry, cooler. Temperature: Max 15- Min 7c

Male Smooth Newt

Male Smooth Newt

Adult Smooth Newt

Adult Smooth Newt

Smooth Newt, showing it's dark spots and yellow/orange belly.

Smooth Newt, showing it’s dark spots and yellow/orange belly.

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