Where to find them
Great crested newts are widely distributed throughout
Britain, though absent
In the last century great crested newts have disappeared from many sites
across Europe, mainly as a result of pond loss and intensive agriculture.
Great crested newts are the largest of the UK's three native species. In
comparison to the smooth newt and the palmate newt, the great crested
newt is significantly larger, growing up to 15cm in length and looking
Great crested newts are dark brown or black in colour with a distinct
‘warty’ skin. The underside is bright orange with irregular black
blotches. In the spring, males develop an impressive jagged crest along
their back and a white 'flash' along the tail. Females, particularly in
the breeding season when they are swollen with eggs, are bulky in
appearance but lack the crest of the male. Great crested newt larvae are mottled with black spots and have a tiny filament at the end of
Breeding takes place during April/May. Great crested newts undergo an elaborate courtship
routine with males displaying before female newts. After mating, females lay hundreds of individual eggs on the leaves of pond plants.
Each egg is wrapped up in pond plant leaves and/or pond detritus for protection.
Due to enormous declines in range and abundance in the last century, the great
crested newt is strictly protected by British and European law which
makes it an offence to: kill, injure, capture or disturb them; damage or
destroy their habitat; and to possess, sell or trade. This law refers to
all great crested newt life stages, including eggs.