Where to find them
The palmate newt has a distinct preference
for shallow ponds on acid-rich soils.
It is therefore most commonly found on heathland in the south and west, and in the north on moorland and bogs.
Palmate newts seem able to withstand dryer conditions than the smooth
newt and are often found further from water during their terrestrial
Telling smooth newts apart from palmate newts can be trying.
Both are brown in colour, with a yellow/orange underbelly, and both
species rarely exceed 10cm. The best way to tell females apart is the fact that the throat of
the smooth newt is spotted and that of the palmate newt is plain pink or
yellow. The male, in breeding condition, is easy to tell apart from the
smooth newt. Palmate newt males have a filament at the tip of the tail and black webbing on
the back feet, neither of which are present in smooth newts.
The lifecycle of the palmate newt is very
similar to that of the smooth newt and they also eat very similar prey
(including frog tadpoles).
Eggs are laid individually on plant leaves during the spring and the
newt larvae (efts) that hatch out have a 'frill' of external gills behind their
head. The larve grow their front legs first, unlike frogs and toads, and
leave the water in the summer months once they have lost their gills. Palmate
newts eat various invertebrates and outside of the
breeding season they are often found on land, in damp areas of the garden
under logs or other debris.
In Great Britain, the palmate newt is
protected only from sale and trade in any form.