Belongs to: amphibians

Compare with: smooth newt

Palmate newt Triturus helveticus


Best time to see: late Feb to end Aug

Key facts

The smallest British newt, the male having webbed feet on its hind legs

Habitat: breed in shallow ponds with clearer, more acid water than suits the much commoner smooth newt

Widespread across western Europe, but in Essex restricted to the south-west corner, including Epping Forest and Thorndon

Recognition

Similar to smooth newt, but smaller, paler in colour and with fewer spots on its underside; up to 9 cm

Breeding males have a smooth-edged crest, higher on tail than body, and its hind feet are dark and heavily webbed

Females are similar to female smooth newts but, unlike these, have an unspotted, pale throat

Lifecycle

Female lays each egg singly on a leaf under water, then wraps it up in the leaf and seals it

Tadpoles hatch after about a week, feeding on tiny animals such as daphnia

Young newts leave the pond in late summer

  • Main photo

Photo © Will Atkins