Lissotriton helveticus - formerly Triturus helveticus

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 phase.


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 larvae 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.