Great Crested newt

Great Crested newt

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The Great Crested Newt is the biggest of the three native species found in the United Kingdom. The great crested newt may reach a maximum length of 17 centimeters, making it much longer than the smooth newt and the palmate newt.

The skin of a great crested newt has a distinctive 'warty' texture and can be dark brown or black in color. The bottom is brilliant orange, and it has random black spots all over it. In the spring, the males grow a magnificent jagged crest that runs up their backs and a white 'flash' that runs along the length of their tails. Females, especially during the mating season when they are distended with eggs, have a hefty look; but, unlike males, they do not have a crest on their heads. The larval stage of the great crested newt is characterized by a mottled pattern of black dots and a thin filament at the tip of the tail.

The months of March through June are prime time for breeding. The courting ritual of great crested newts is rather complex, and it begins with the male newts exhibiting for the female newts. Following fertilization, each female deposits around 200 eggs, which are then carefully wrapped in the leaves of pond plants and deposited one by one.