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A Great Crested Newt climbing over a plant exposes the contrasting orange of it's belly and darker colours of it's back

Great Crested Newt

Triturus cristatus

Key Facts

  • Length: up to 17cm
  • Average lifespan: 6-15 yeas

Newts are amphibians, breeding in ponds during the spring and spending most of the rest of the year feeding on invertebrates in woodland, hedgerows and tussocky grassland.

They hibernate underground, amongst tree roots and in old walls. The British populations of this rare amphibian are internationally important.

How to Identify

Our biggest newt, the Great-Crested Newt is almost black in colour, with spotted flanks and a striking, orange belly. The skin is warty. The males have a long, wavy crest along the body and on the tail during the breeding season, giving them the appearance of mini dinosaurs.

Where to Find

Widespread across lowland England and Wales.

How people can help

In past times, the Great-Crested Newt would have lived in natural wetlands across Britain. But human activity, including the drainage of land for agriculture and the loss of ponds through development, has resulted in the disappearance of many wetlands. This has taken its toll on wetland wildlife like newts. Being particularly partial to lowland farmland and old quarries, The Wildlife Trusts are working closely with planners, developers and farmers to ensure this ‘Warty Newt’ is looked after. If you know of a pond that might have Great-Crested Newts in it, contact your local Trust to ensure it’s recorded and protected.

Did you know?

Individual Great-Crested Newts can be identified by looking at their bellies: the pattern of black spots is as unique as a fingerprint. As well as their distinctive crests, males have an extravagant courtship display to woo females: they stand on their front legs, arch their back and wave their tail around as if they are dancing.

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