Palmate Newt (Lissotriton helveticus)

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Newt at allotment pond, 25 March 2020.  (Photo by G)

We have some newts living in the pond at the back, which we’ve identified as a plamate newt.  According to Wikipedia they are a species of newt that is common in Great Britain (not a species of  concern), but is rare to endangered in areas of mainland Europe.  They are protected by law in all countries.

 

From ‘FrogLife‘: A year in the life…Spring

Adult newts emerge from overwintering sites in early spring and head to a pond to breed.  Males perform an elaborate courtship dance before the eggs are laid.  Individual eggs are laid and wrapped up in the leaves of pond plants.  At this time of year adult newts spend quite a lot of time in the water and will hunt frog tadpoles.

Depending on local weather conditions, 2 to 4 weeks later larvae (sometimes called newt tadpoles) will hatch out.   The larvae have feathery gills around the head, distinguishing them from frog and toad tadpoles.  A couple of months after they hatch, the larvae start to grow their front legs (again, different from frogs and toads), followed by the back legs.

Summer: When they have absorbed their gills, they leave the water as newtlets (or efts), around August.

Autumn: Autumn is spent preparing for winter. Newts feed on various invertebrates.

Winter: Palmate Newts spend the winter sheltering under rocks, in compost heaps or buried down in mud.  They don’t hibernate as such, and may take advantage of milder patches of weather to come out and forage.