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Reddish Vale Country Park

The common or smooth newt has the widest distribution of our native newts.

 

They emerge from hibernation in March and breed through to May, the adult newts generally leave the water in July.

 

They spend the rest of the summer and winter very close to the breeding pond, hiding in leaf litter, long grass and under stones. This is called the 'terrestrial stage', the males absorb their crests and become more drab in appearance. The newts come out to feed after dark on small invertebrates as they prepare for hibernation in September. These newts are very likely to make use of garden ponds and will be most often seen during the aquatic stage, when they will rise to the surface of the pond to gulp air.

 

Males are smaller than females, during the breeding season they develop a wavy crest, continuous from head to tail, males also have fringing on the hind toes at this time.

 

Males are smaller than females, during the breeding season they develop a wavy crest, continuous from head to tail, males also have fringing on the hind toes at this time.

 

During the breeding season the males seek out females and entice them by wafting a glandular secretion. The male drops a packet of sperm (spematophore) near the female, which she                                                                                                                                             collects. A week or so later she lays up to 400 eggs on broad leaved aquatic plants. The larvae hatch, and during the next ten weeks change completely, or metamorphose into juvenile newts.

 

Although common newts are protected in Britain under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, their numbers continue to decline across Europe. They are vulnerable to urbanisation, agricultural change and pollution of their habitat.

Smooth Newt

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Length, 10-15cm,

Lifespan, max 20 years,

Diet, on land, insects, slugs and worms. In the water they hunt insects, tadpoles, water snails and small crustaceans.

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Smooth Newt