How many species of newt are native to the UK?
There are three species of newt
native to the UK, the Great Crested newt, the Smooth newt and the
Q2. How big do they grow?
The Great Crested newt is our biggest
newt and they can reach up to 18cm in length, the Smooth newt reaches
about 10cm in length and the Palmate newt is the smallest reaching
only 8cm in length.
All newts continue to grow throughout their life;
consequently the largest individuals are normally the oldest. Female
newts are always bigger than same age males, sometimes by as much
as a third.
Q3. What do
All newts are predators from birth.
They take a wide variety of live prey including; insects, frog tadpoles,
invertebrates and earthworms.
Q4. How long
do newts live?
Given good habitat and avoiding
accident/predators some individual newts can live for up to 15 years.
Q5. How long
do newts spend in the pond?
Adult newts only return to mate
and lay their eggs in the pond and will normally only spend about
four months between March and July in the pond.
Q6. Can newts
breathe under water?
In simple terms no, however they
can absorb a limited amount of oxygen directly from the water through
their skin. All newts will eventually drown if prevented from surfacing
Q7. Do only
the male newts have a crest?
Yes, only male newts have a crest,
it grows when the male returns to the pond in spring. It is absorbed
into his body when he leaves the water at the end of the breeding
The crest is used to attract female
newts and stimulate them into mating. The bigger and more impressive
the males breeding crest the more chance he has of attracting a
Q8. Where do newts go when they leave the pond?
After leaving the pond all newts
spend their days sheltering from predators and the sun under rocks,
logs, overgrown boarders around compost heaps and in dry stone walling
around the garden. They emerge at night or after rain to hunt for
insects and earthworms.
Q9. What happens
to newts in winter?
In winter (from November to March)
all newts take cover in frost free shelters; deep inside piles of
rubble, compost heaps, dry stone walling, old brickwork, rabbit
burrows, mouse and vole holes under fallen trees and logs. Exposure
to a hard frost will kill them.
Q10. How many eggs will a female newt lay?
A female newt depending on her
size and the species can lay between 150 and 300 eggs during the
spawning season. The exact number of eggs an individual female produces
is dependent on her age, size and condition.
Q11. How many of these eggs will become adult newts?
Less than one percent of all the eggs laid by a
female newt will become adults.
Q12. Do newts bite or sting?
In a word; no.
Q13. Can newts
live in garden ponds?
Yes, Smooth and Palmate newts have
proved to be especially adept at establishing themselves in garden
ponds and water features. Given the right conditions and a bit of
management even small ponds/gardens can support surprisingly large
Q14. How can I get newts to colonise my pond?
Understanding their life cycle
and basic habitat requirements is the key to successfully establishing
newts in your pond and garden.
Q15. I have a specific question about; frogs, toads,
newts, my pond?
Email your question to firstname.lastname@example.org
one of our experts will get back to you with the answer or advice.
can I find out more about newts?
The new book by James Grundy “Newts
in your pond and garden” will answer all your questions in
detail. It explains how to create newt friendly habitats, and establish
newts in your pond and garden.