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Great Crested Newts? sooner do I get my first hedgehog than I find what I think are Great Crested Newt efts. Difficult to say for sure, but the larger size, black spots on the tail and long toes sure look GCN-like. I have smooth newts so am used to seeing lots of them, but these guys are much bigger.

If true I'll be one happy herpetologist!!!!!!

Bad pic, but can any fellow herps confirm my suspicions?




  • Possible, but we'll need more pics. Attached are pics of some from my brother's huge pond in Gloucester. imageimage

  • This is still a larva with gills - 'eft' really refers to the terrestrial juveniles that have lost their gills and left the pond. Hard to see much detail in the photo but it does look like GCN, especially the big, broad head. How large is it? Smooth/Palmate larvae get to about 30 mm, GCN much larger up to about 70 mm. It still looks at quite a young stage for this time of year - most should have left the water already.

  • I thought that looked like gills, but discounted it (blaming my eyesight!) as it's so late.  If they are gills, then I'd say it has to be GCN as nothing else would be that large so young.  Exciting!


  • The_herpetologistThe_herpetologist West YorksPosts: 481

    Thanks everyone. I must say, there seems to be more expertise here that in my regioal wildlife trust who informed me that there are no distinguishing features at this stage in a newt's development - which I know isn't the case.

    The size of the newt in the photo was about 5cm. Huge gills curling over its head.

    The pond is in quite a shady spot so I'm not surprised that the newts are late in developing, this is true of the tadpoles that come from this pond as well (I have 5 ponds and this is the shadiest and coolest).

    Seems the consensus is 'jury's out'. I'll try and take some better pics. I must manage my expectations by retaining a healthy skepticism, but inside I'm so willing it to be true, GCNs are rare up here but I do know of an isolated colony about half a mile away.

    Last edited: 26 September 2016 20:01:49

  • 5 cm is much too big for larvae of the smaller newts. I think you can be pretty confident this is a genuine GCN. Do the larvae have the obvious projecting tail filament?

    Newts can travel quite a way - 1/2 mile isn't an unrealistic dispersal distance. Hopefully the adults will return to breed again next year - depending on the weather you could see them in the ponds any time from January onwards. Need to check at night because they are much more nocturnal than the smaller newts.

    Have you checked to see if there is a local amphibian/reptile group, which might organise visits to other ponds in the area?

  • The_herpetologistThe_herpetologist West YorksPosts: 481

    I'm conscious that if this is a GCN, I've just broken the law, my defence being that at the time I took this specimen from the pond, it was unidentified (honest, your honour). Anyway, here goes:


    Prominent black spots, long toes, big gills.....surely?

  • The_herpetologistThe_herpetologist West YorksPosts: 481

    GCN pic from internet for comparison:


    Last edited: 27 September 2016 08:10:59

  • The_herpetologistThe_herpetologist West YorksPosts: 481

    The other contender: Smooth newt


  • Yes, definitely GCN.

  • too small for a great crested newt, looks like a palmate newt. Great crested are about 5 inches long.

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