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Common newt

Amphibian

Triturus vulgaris

Common newts are olive green or pale brown with a bright orange, black spotted underside. In the breeding season males develop a wavy crest from their heads to their tails. They are widespread throughout mainland Britain.

Common newts are nocturnal and spend the day hiding under large stones or compost heaps. From mid-October they hibernate, emerging again in February or March. 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 broadleaved aquatic plants. The larvae hatch, and during the next 10 weeks change completely, or metamorphose, into juvenile newts.

What does it eat?

On land it eats insects, slugs and worms. In the water they hunt insects, tadpoles, water snails and small crustaceans, such as shrimps.

When will I see it?

Usually in the spring and summer.

Where will I see it?

In and around the pond and bog garden. Outside the breeding season also in parks, farmland, woods, wet heathland, bogs and marshes.

Vital statistics

Length: About 10 cm, females are smaller than males

Calendar

Not seen in JanuaryNot seen in FebruaryNot seen in MarchSeen in AprilSeen in MaySeen in JuneSeen in JulySeen in AugustSeen in SeptemberNot seen in OctoberNot seen in NovemberNot seen in December

Key to calendar