These miniature dinosaurs are in danger of becoming a rare sight in Britain.
Three types of newt make their home along our ponds, lakes and canals, but increasing urbanisation and loss of habitat have reduced the areas available for these ancient amphibians to live in and breed. This has had an impact on populations across Europe.
Great crested newts are the largest and rarest newts found in Britain. The palmate and smooth newt are comparatively common, with evidence suggesting they're present along all of our waterways. However, nocturnal newts remain in hiding under stones or logs during the day and are not often seen.
Newts have a similar life cycle to frogs and toads, hibernating through the winter months and returning to breeding ponds in the spring.
Like other amphibians, they are terrestrial (living on land) for parts of the year and use the waterways mainly during the breeding season. A healthy population of 250 great crested newts would need at least one hectare of terrestrial habitat, as well as a suitable still-standing breeding pond, to survive for any length of time.
Great crested newt - dark, warty skin speckled with white spots. Undersides are yellow or orange. Males have a high, jagged crest running along their backs (especially pronounced during the breeding season).
Smooth newt - pale brown or olive green with spotted throats.
Palmate newt - olive green or light brown skin with orange bellies and spot-free throats
Great crested - maximum 17cm
Smooth - 7-11cm
Palmate - 9-10cm
Great crested - maximum 27 years
Smooth - maximum 20 years
Palmate - maximum 10 years
Diet: carnivorous newts will eat anything they can catch, from worms and water snails to other invertebrates and insects
Last date edited: 22 February 2021