Belongs to: amphibians

Compare with: great crested newt

Smooth newt Triturus vulgaris

Also known as: common newt


Best time to see: late Feb to mid Oct

Key facts

Our commonest newt, breeding in many garden ponds and other small bodies of still water

Habitat: breed in ponds with plenty of vegetation, otherwise live in scrub or other cover nearby

Widespread across most of Europe except the extreme south

Recognition

Olive-brown except in breeding season (Feb–June), when male has black spots, orange belly and crest; up to 11 cm

Move to water to breed Feb–June, otherwise hide by day and emerge at night to feed; hibernate in chinks over winter

Feed on small invertebrates, in and out of water, sometimes small fish, other amphibians and their eggs

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

Most young leave the pond in August–September, but some over-winter in the pond

  • Main photo

Photo © David Corke