Belongs to: amphibians

Compare with: smooth newt

Great crested newt Triturus cristatus

Also known as: warty newt

rare in Europe

Best time to see: Mar to mid Oct

Key facts

Largest and rarest of Britain's three newt species; legally protected

Prefers still or slow-moving water with plenty of aquatic vegetation and dense cover nearby

Found across most of Europe but south-eastern Britain is its stronghold


Usually darker and larger than smooth newts, with a warty skin and irregular dark blotches on their orange bellies

Up to 14 cm long, breeding males with a prominent crest and a broad tail with a distinct white stripe

Adults leave the water after breeding to spend the rest of the year in cover nearby, eating slugs, worms and insects


Enter the water in late March or early April to breed; the female laying single eggs each wrapped and sealed in a leaf

Tadpoles eat small aquatic animals, leaving the water as young newts in late summer or sometimes the next spring

Immature newts find somewhere cool and moist nearby and hole up for several years until they are big enough to breed

© Will Atkins

© unknown

© Lin Wenlock