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It might be difficult to differentiate between smooth newts and palmate newts. Both species seldom grow to be more than 10 centimeters in length and have a yellowish-orange underside with a brown upper side. The neck of a female smooth newt is speckled, whereas the throat of a female palmate newt is either plain pink or yellow. This is the most reliable way to differentiate between the two species' females. When in breeding condition, the male of the smooth newt may be easily distinguished from the smooth newt. Palmate newt males are distinguished from smooth newt males by the presence of a filament at the end of the tail and black webbing on the rear foot. Both of these characteristics are absent in smooth newts.
The life cycle of the palmate newt is extremely comparable to that of the smooth newt, and the prey that they hunt is also extremely comparable (including frog tadpoles). In the spring, individual eggs are placed on the leaves of plants, and the newly hatched newt larvae, known as eats, have a 'frill' of external gills behind their head. The larvae, in contrast to frogs and toads, develop their front legs first. They emerge from the water during the summer months after they have lost their gills and once they have grown their front legs. During the non-breeding season, palmate newts may frequently be discovered on land, in moist regions of the garden, hiding behind logs or other debris. Their diet consists of a variety of different invertebrates. The palmate newt is the only species of newt that is protected in Great Britain from being sold or traded in any way.