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Great Crested Newts?



  • Definitely GCN. Wildlife trust sent out 'experts' to my brother's pond to trap for identification what we had told them were GCNs. They reported back to say there were none in the pond!  We promptly broke the law, caught several (and there are loads!) and showed them. They were somewhat dismayed at their own lack of expertise and knowledge.  However, I have to say that the various county Trusts are, in my opinion, still the best way forward for nature protection and conservation in the country and run by some caring people. 


  • Palmate newts are not common in my area and I understand are rarely found in garden ponds. (although the same is often said of GCNs), I did consider this possibility but the largest of the newts in question is around 5cm, so quite large for a Palmatre larrvae.

    Yes, I must say that as soon as I saw this specimen up close I was convinced.

    What's strange about their appearance is the fact that this is a very small pond (3 - 4 m in diameter) and I have always associated GCNs with very large ponds. The other local colony live in a small pond (about 5m as far as I can recall) so perhaps these chaps are used to cramped spaces. Still, cramped they may be but they couldn't be more welcome.

    I know that the other pond was under threat from invasive species (Crassula Helmsii), so it's possible that they bailed out / were displaced and have found their way to my humble abode.

  • When we had a smallholding in High Suffolk we had a huge colony of GCNs - they lived in a horse pond in the meadow near the house, another pond across the field, and in a neighbour's well.  There were other colonies in the village and on the farms around.  Several building/restoration projects were held up while planners and naturalists worried about the newts in the area.  Eventually they realised that the whole area was simply teaming with them image

    In the autumn we would find them underneath our coconut matting doormats as they'd leave the ponds for the winter and decide that underneath doormats was the perfect spot for hibernation - unfortunately the newts didn't understand that the nature of a doormat is that people stand on them image

    One of the highlights of the year was watching the male courtship displays each spring, with the sunlight through the water flashing on the silver streak on the males' tails. 

    One day as I stood and watched, a large female grass snake swam across the pond, hunting the newts - absolute magic. 

    “I am not lost, for I know where I am. But however, where I am may be lost.” Winnie the Pooh

  • Awesome, isn't it, all happening out there for us to marvel at.  We're so small on this planet.


    Last edited: 27 September 2016 15:45:58

  • I reckon they read my sign and just knew they were in an amphibian friendly gaff.


  • Just an update. I had someone round from Yorks Wildlife Trust today and they were confirmed as  GCNs! Too small to emerge this year so will probably overwinter in my pond. Apparently the pond they are living in is not a typical GCN pond as it is quite small, but they may have been attracted by the fact that I have a network of 5 ponds, (all densely vegetated) and my overgrown wildlife area and compost heap would have represented perfect foraging space for GCNs. All in all, small pond aside, perfect GCN territory! 

    The rules aren't as strict as they once were either. I just need to be sensitive to their presence when mowing or pond clearing and to let YWT know if any suspicious mass deaths are noted. 

  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Posts: 82,737

    It's simply marvellous isn't it, in the real sense of it being something to marvel at imageimageimage

    “I am not lost, for I know where I am. But however, where I am may be lost.” Winnie the Pooh

  • You bet DfA..... I couldn't be more chuffed. It's odd, but l feel somewhat honoured by their presence. Now just need to keep next door's effing cat away.

  • Hi guys first time on this site, today while gardening I came across this little guy. Can anyone identify what It is? 
  • nutcutletnutcutlet Posts: 26,974
    james, you need to start a new thread and include a photo

    In the sticks near Peterborough
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