February 27, 2024

Smooth Newt (Lissotriton vulgaris)

We get a lot of these little fellows in our garden and I usually remove a few individuals from our cellar each year. Our house is surrounded by farmland and the interconnected network of drainage ditches provides plenty of useful habitat. Like our other species of newt, the Palmate and Great Crested, the adults generally only really frequent ponds during the breeding season between February and June.  The rest of the year is spent foraging and generally being terrestrial creatures, albeit preferring to spend their time in damp places.

Like our other newts, these amphibians hibernate during winter in sheltered places often under logs and stones. To help them out in this respect I’ve built several substantial piles of stones, in certain key areas of our garden. The scientific name for these is hibernacula – protective cases, covering, or structures, in which an organism remains dormant for the winter. I finished my largest yet last summer, so I’m hoping I may record even more newts in the garden this year.