Smooth newt

  • Scientific name: Lissotriton vulgaris
  • Type: Amphibians

Key information

Smooth newts, or common newts, are olive green or pale brown with a bright orange, black spotted underside. In the breeding season males develop a wavy crest from their heads to their tails. They are widespread throughout mainland Britain.

Smooth newts are nocturnal and spend the day hiding under large stones or compost heaps. From mid-October they hibernate, emerging again in February or March. Males seek out females and entice them by wafting a glandular secretion.

The male drops a packet of sperm (spematophore) near the female, which she collects. A week or so later she lays up to 300 eggs on broadleaved aquatic plants. The larvae hatch, and during the next 10 weeks change completely, or metamorphose, into juvenile newts.

What they eat:

On land it eats insects, slugs and worms. In the water they hunt insects, tadpoles, water snails and small crustaceans, such as shrimps.


10cm (females are smaller than males)

Identifying features:

Natural habitats: Bog garden Pond Woodland area

Where and when to see them

In and around the pond and bog garden. Outside the breeding season also in parks, farmland, woods, wet heathland, bogs and marshes.

Smooth newts can usually be seen in the spring and summer.

  • jan
  • feb
  • mar
  • apr
  • may
  • jun
  • jul
  • aug
  • sep
  • oct
  • nov
  • dec