Newts – what do they eat? What eats them?

November 29, 2010

in Amphibians, Birds, Gardening For Wildlife

Great crested and smaller smooth newt

Newts – What do they eat?

What do newts eat? George Pilkington of Nurturing Nature explains, ” It depends on where they are! On land or in a pond”. I was asked this question the other day by one of my neighbours who found an adult newt in his garden a few weeks ago. The answer quite simply is, it depends on where they are living at the time! The question prompted memories of me and my friends walking several miles carrying our fishing nets to Sefton Park, in Liverpool and trawling the numerous ponds found there for newts, frogs and toads, the latter being much easier to spot and therefore catch. Many people are aware of newts and perhaps that they live in and around ponds. Other than that they know very little. Like adult frogs and toads, though, they really only use ponds during the breeding season for courtship, laying their eggs and off they go, leaving their young to fend for themselves in the pond for the next few months.

Being nocturnal, newts are not easily found during the daylight. When on land they usually hide under stones, logs, rocks, compost heaps and areas that are dark and damp. When in ponds they hide in dense weeds and vegetation patches underwater.

A pair of smooth newts

Hunting strategies

They have two strategies when foraging for prey; active and passive. Active predation means hunting by seeking out or searching for their prey. The passive ‘sit and wait’ predation, is a classic ambush style. Although another ‘strategy’ it could be argued would be, if it moves, eat it! The adults will eat any prey they can swallow and are pathetically bad at judging the size of the meal in question!! They have been seen with large earthworms, much larger than themselves, wrestling and struggling with them in their mouths, before they realise, “Hey this is just a little larger than I thought!” and ‘eject’ them from their mouths sometimes with great difficulty. I have seen toads and frogs doing the same and struggling in their attempts to ‘wipe’ large slugs, with their front legs out of their mouths! Classic cases of “eyes bigger than your belly! ”

Newts ‘on land’ menu

As adults, depending upon species, they live on the land for about two thirds of their lives. As the larger they grow, the larger prey they can consume. They are more active on warm damp evenings. Like frogs and toads, they use their sticky tongue to catch such tasty morsels as slugs, snails, crane flies, mites, springtails,worms, spiders and other invertebrates that stick to the tongue and they reel the prey in like a fisherman reeling in a catch, only much faster!  They are rather nonselective and will prey upon anything that is easily available, for example great crested newts will take smooth newts!

Newts pond menu

When living in ponds, i.e. during the breeding season, they feed where they breed (!) hunting both day and night. They have to use a different method for catching their prey. Using their sticky tongues in the water would simply not be effective.  Although they don’t have teeth as we know teeth to be, they do have plates in their jaws with projections which they use in a teeth-like fashion to grab their prey. As they swallow their prey whole, they do not need sharp teeth for chewing, tearing or cutting up the prey. These ‘teeth’ are known as vomerine teeth, are not sharp and used retain the prey whilst the newt swallows it whole. Researchers have seen newts grabbing the soft body of pond snails and great ramshorns, before rapidly shaking their heads to remove them out of their shells. Similar to a terrier dog violently shaking a rat to death it has caught, if you have ever seen this act of killing rats! Newts do the same with smaller fish and even other newts. Water lice, water shrimps, water fleas (Daphnia) worms, lesser water boatmen, small crustaceans, mayfly nymphs, seed shrimps, freshwater shrimps, leeches and other water dwelling invertebrates. They will also take prey items that fall into the pond such as mosquitoes, beetles, millipedes, bees wasps, ants and sawflies. You may be surprised or even shocked, to know they also eat other tadpoles…..  watch them doing so here.    http://bit.ly/bVbh8H Although smooth and palmate newts do not consume toad tadpoles.

Newts are on the menu!

The heron crushes then kills the newt before eating it whole!

Adult newts in turn may be preyed upon themselves by foxes, badgers, rats, hedgehogs and even shrews have been found to feed on smooth newts. Large ground beetles can predate upon juvenile crested newts in pitfall traps. 19 bird species including kestrels, storks, buzzards, fish eagles, bitterns and even herons. Even though great crested newts have a warty skin, like toads, that produces poisons, it certainly did n’t stop this heron from having a newt meal! I am told that this juvenile heron was one of many juveniles that took newts from a pond, usually in Spring. The adults much preferred taking the frogs from another pond nearby. Perhaps they chased off the juveniles to feed upon the distasteful great crested newts leaving the richer, tastier frog pickings for themselves?

“All my articles AND videos, GIVEN TO YOU FREE, are funded by my  teaching and sales of award winning bumblebee nest boxessolitary bee boxes,  and wormeries. Please help by spreading the word and forwarding this link to your friends and colleagues. http://nurturing-nature.co.uk    Thank you” George Pilkington

Refs: Beside my own experiences and observations:

Beebee,T. (1992), “Pond Life” Whittet Books Ltd, London

Beebee,T. (1985) “Frogs and toads”,  Whittet Books Ltd, London

Langton, T., Beckett, C.,  Foster, J. (2001) “Great Crested Newt Conservation Handbook” Froglife, Halesworth, Suffolk.

Jehle, R., Thiesmeier, R., Foster, J. (2011) “The Crested Newt”, BHS, Angus.

For details about buying the above book and help the British Herpetological Society with their work download The Crested Newt book flyer

Pers. comm. Dr. R Jehle, Lecturer in Wildlife & Organismal Behaviour, Salford University

Pers. comm. Prof .T. Beebee, Prof of Molecular Ecology, University of Sussex

Photo of heron with kind permission from Roy and Marie Battel, who have comprised a lovely wildlife web site at….. http://www.moorhen.me.uk/

For more information about the British Herpetological Society and their work with reptiles and amphibians

Also try…info from frog life…. great crested newts

{ 141 comments… read them below or add one }

Isobel Stead June 23, 2012 at 12:40 pm

I have a few adult newts in a tank in my bedroom, I also have 2 baby newts in a smaller tank. they are about 2inches long but the adults are about 4-5inches, is it safe to put the baby newts in with the adults?

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nurturingnature June 24, 2012 at 9:50 am

Newts are predatory at all ages and will eat anything they can swallow, so a smaller newt may well be on the menu!They have been known to tackle worms much larger than themselves. I would think about releasing the older ones back into wherever you found them….there are legal issues re great crested newts…..try http://www.froglife.org/ for more information.

HTH George

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R March February 2, 2013 at 9:16 pm

I use to catch newts, frogs and toads as a child around the Mottram & Glossop area of east greater Manchester. Having moved to Croxteth Country Park estate some 15 years ago I’ve never seen such an abundance of Newts, toads and frogs. Great crested, smooth & common. The wet level – land is ideal for them and sandwiched between two stately homes seems to have preserved not only these animals but also small mammals and birds. Stouts, wessels, Water voles, shews and hedgehogs. Birds of pray; buzzards and kites , Sky larks, Jays and wood peckers and many more besides. I had a visiting toad in my back garden this summer !! The area is awash with wildlife. The only disappointing activity is a few would be hunters with small dogs, but their impact is small as they aren’t that skilled in the trade. However Ive never come across a bager.

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nurturingnature February 4, 2013 at 9:53 am

I know Croxteth Country Park being from Liverpool. I think the abundance of wild life may be down to it being a country park, with limited public access, a lack of drainage which would be required for building/housing development and certainly a lack of building development itself and the infrastructure this entails.

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sharonpocock April 11, 2013 at 3:30 pm

we’ve had a pond for at least six years and watched as frogs moved in (keeping slugs in check). Two nights ago while letting dogs out late at night i checked the pond as i always do most nights, when i saw some strange and then another strange creature swam into view – two what i believe to be common newts, husband and children not to impressed but dont care i’m chuffed to bits . My one question is, will they hang around or will they move on, they look just like the above pictures one smallish and the other bigger and darker ?

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nurturingnature April 11, 2013 at 5:22 pm

Hello Sharon, It is likely that they are viewing your pond with a view to moving in! In my old pond, I never knew newts were using it to breed until after a couple of years I saw some young newts in the pond. I was made up…..its all part of nature and if they do breed it means you have a first class pond…… as far as newts are concerned at least!!Cheers George

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Jennifer May 9, 2013 at 11:49 pm

I have a giant black newt with yellow spots on it in my pond with toads, frogs, and tons of newborn baby tadpoles! The newt is much bigger that a normal newt and can probably fit in two hands. The problem is, we don’t like how it is eating our tadpoles. We tried removing it once, but it came back. Is there a way I can remove it and put it somewhere else?

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nurturingnature May 10, 2013 at 4:59 pm

Hi Jennifer, A few things spring to mind…..If it is a great crested newt it may be illegal for you to handle the newt….check that out….the other is that frogs on average lay between 1-500 and 3000 eggs. Frogs has evolved to have so many eggs because so many predators eat them. This bounty keeps many other creatures alive from newts to dragonfly/damselfly larvae to beetles and others. The newt is eating them because it itself needs to survive and be fit enough to breed. It is not killing them and leaving them as certain cats do with birds. It needs them for its own survival. Enough tadpoles survive this onslaught to enable frogs to still be in existence. This mother nature in the raw! HTH, George

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kian May 27, 2013 at 1:02 pm

i have a newt now i dont know wot they eat tell me at kianreeceboocock@hotmail.com

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nurturingnature May 27, 2013 at 1:36 pm

worms, grubs, ants, aphids, small beetles, insects, spiders, insect larvae possibly woodlice and anything else that they can catch with their tongue and swallow!

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Adrian malik July 17, 2015 at 6:15 pm

Hello i have a tiny smooth newt about 2cm.what would it eat?
I also have a larger one and today seethrough slimy patches were coming off
him.is he shedding? Thanks.

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nurturingnature July 18, 2015 at 11:25 am

Small insects, aphids, ants and the like. Not sure about the slime patches. Cheers, George

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Bethany August 10, 2013 at 4:22 pm

anything smaller than them that they can catch and eat

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nurturingnature August 11, 2013 at 9:59 am

All in my article!

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v lynch June 18, 2013 at 8:40 am

i dug a deep large pool in my garden two years ago, with shelving and about three feet deep, and lined with black pond liner. i now have about fourteen newts and three frogs – no fish as i wanted a natural pool. earlier in the year i observed a huge cluster of frog spawn…then one day it had all gone! eaten by the newts? i have recently been watching a much larger newt and i think it’s a female great crested newt, i’m very excited about this. i’ve only seen the one – would it be in the pool to lay eggs? as the great crested newt is protected, am i supposed to notify some organisation?

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nurturingnature June 18, 2013 at 7:42 pm

Hi, Lucky you if it is a great crested newt…..check out these sites….

http://www.froglife.org/animals/greatcrestednewt.htm

http://www.thebhs.org http://www.wildlifetrusts.org

and contact your local wildlife trust for further advice. Cheers George

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v lynch June 30, 2013 at 6:45 am

up date on great crested newt…thank you for interesting links. i checked out the larger newt and i’m pretty sure it is a female great crested newt. however i haven’t seen it for at least a week now and wondered if it came into the pool to lay eggs and is now back on land?? there are also fewer of the smaller newts so have they now left as well? although i have a lot of hornwort in the deeper centre of pool there is a lot of green algae around edges. i was using a stick to swirl algae around to extract but stopped doing this when i spotted great crested newt. also the baby newts swim in and out of it. the algae is now getting worse but i suppose i should still just leave it alo.e till the young newts develop and leave? how long does that take? presumably i may have baby great crested newts? do they look different?

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v lynch June 30, 2013 at 8:25 am

forget that about great crested newt!! just sat by pool – great time waster! – and the gcnewt appeared out of algae…remained still for about a minute then rise for a gulp of air! turned and re-entered algae! so it’s still there.

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Elaine Clarke June 22, 2013 at 4:27 pm

Hi. I have a smallish pond with an abundance of smooth newts that look really happy. The water is looking a bit grubby and although I have a water fountain which works with a pump I’m afraid to put it on in case baby newts get sucked up into it and die. I would like to put it on however as it would refresh the water somewhat. What do you think?
Also I am a very keen gardener but have far too many snails invading my plants. Do newts eat snails? I have put down slug pellets in the past but don’t really like to…

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nurturingnature June 22, 2013 at 8:29 pm

Hi Elaine, newts will eat snails on land and in ponds. It depends on the size of the newt and size of the snail! I agree re pond pump. In the wild ponds are not ‘ freshened up’!! I have never owned one and have depended on planting the right native plants in the ponds I have made to supply oxygen.If you use Hornwort Ceratophyllum demersum and put it in a bottle of water in sunlight you can see the air bubbles it creates! It is a native perennial that does not require planting so just weight it and throw it in.Do not use non natives as sold by garden centres such as Canadian pondweed. Do not fill your pond with tap water, can encourage algal blooms. Use barley straw to deal with algal blooms HTH cheers George

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David June 29, 2013 at 3:07 pm

We have a large pond that was completely overgrown but had water- in that state about 10 years ago it had plenty of frogs and the noise of them calling in very early spring feb I think was really loud – this lasted for two years or so then they never came back – the pond is now cleared out and just has a leaf mould bottom (its concrete in fact) and we have plenty of newts common I think – and I mean 30 or more with alot of young this year – if you scoop up the leaf mould you almost always find a newt in the net – no sign of the frogs though – we are in New Forest

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nurturingnature June 30, 2013 at 6:11 am

Hi David, sounds like a great pond to have! Possibly the newts have preyed upon all the tadpoles or some other predator or factor affecting frogs?

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David June 30, 2013 at 9:41 am

Thanks yes I heard about the virus affecting frogs – I guess it hit us. I really wanted to know if the newts will be affected if I introduce goldfish? Any comment on that?
I would rather have kept it to native UK species but that involves collecting from the wild which I know is a no-no – whereas the newts have adopted us I cant see sticklebacks making it to our pond. Its actually illegal to stock with any kind of crawfish as well in this region there is a byelaw covering the new forest – and anyway I am sure they would wipe out my newts in a day!

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nurturingnature July 4, 2013 at 7:33 am

Non native Goldfish will wipe out your native pond small creatures……

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tiff July 15, 2013 at 7:31 pm

HELP!!!!!!!!! hi i have baby newts in my pond and have resently added two adult newts into my pond, i also saw a frog in my pond but the beby newts seem to be dissapearing, why could this be?
if anyone knows please email me at tiff34578@gmail.com

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nurturingnature July 16, 2013 at 6:20 pm

Tiff perhaps the adults are eating the young newts. It depends on how large the young newts are. Like frogs and toads, on land anyway, they will eat anything that comes their way. Try froglife web site and ask them. Cheers George

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Nom nome August 4, 2013 at 5:42 pm

I got a newt today

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nurturingnature August 5, 2013 at 4:10 pm

🙂 G

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Bethany August 10, 2013 at 4:21 pm

can newts hurt humans

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nurturingnature August 11, 2013 at 9:59 am

Thankfully, no!

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Kat August 11, 2013 at 6:34 pm

I have found what I think is baby newts in my daughter’s paddling pool. I want to clean and collapse the pool. Where should I put the newts? My friend has a pond or should I take them to a local river?

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nurturingnature August 12, 2013 at 10:46 pm

I would contact your local wildlife trust…. if they are great crested newts there are some issues re handling them. If not take them to a pond not a river! Cheers George

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Sharon August 27, 2013 at 12:01 pm

Hello,
I have a tiny baby newt living in my bathroom behind the toilet. I have no idea how he got in there but he seems to like living there. The downside is I want to deep clean my bathroom and don’t know what to do with him. I am worried that if I put him outside he will get eaten? There aren’t any ponds close by – any ideas?
Thanks.

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nurturingnature August 27, 2013 at 7:02 pm

Hi Sharon, Although you may not be aware of a pond nearby, there may be a pond in a garden nearby. It obviously made its way into your garden and then your house… just put it in your garden, under cover of bushes etc and leave it to fend for itself. Thanks for contacting me. Regards, George

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Aonghus and Hamish February 23, 2014 at 11:49 am

me and my brother have three middle aged newts in a tray with a bath and bed of grass we gave them dead earth worms…..and tips?

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nurturingnature February 23, 2014 at 3:27 pm

Hi lads, find a nearby pond is best for them they will survive a lot better there! Cheers, George

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ruby March 22, 2014 at 6:27 pm

My friend gave me some baby netwes from her pond so I toke 5 baby onesvhome andput them in a fish bowl with stones logs and plants but I dont know wat to feed them I got baby tadpolefood would that be ok? And I am going to reles them when they have grown legs then I will let them go into my pond

Hi me again I was wondering how do u tell apart a tadpole or a newt.My friend gave me some baby netwes from her pond so I toke 5 baby onesvhome andput them in a fish bowl with stones logs and plants but I dont know wat to feed them I got baby tadpolefood would that be ok? And I am going to reles them when they have grown legs then I will let them go into my pond

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nurturingnature March 23, 2014 at 10:36 pm

They eat small pond life as in my article. I do not know if they eat tadpole food, I assume it is similar to fish food. They have small spike like gills at the side of their heads. HTH cheers george

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judy April 1, 2014 at 11:42 am

I live near a bird reserve. Last spring I was weeding the garden and pulled some bark off a dead tree and found 2 baby newts under it There was no way out without taking the bark off that I could see

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nurturingnature April 1, 2014 at 4:11 pm

Judy, Funny how wildlife finds a way inside a place which we could not find nor imagine! Freedom for them now though eh?!!Cheers George

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Cindy May 4, 2014 at 7:53 pm

I have 3 pale yellow newts recently arrived in a newly dug pond. Are they pale because they are hungry or young?

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nurturingnature May 6, 2014 at 4:29 pm

Suspect it is not because they are hungry Cindy!

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Roxy July 10, 2014 at 12:11 pm

Hi! I have a tiny newt that I am going to release into my pond when he is bigger (not a great crested one). My problem is I have no idea what to give it to eat. It has been surviving on mosquito larvae that has been laid in the tank but now that has all gone I’m worried he’s going to starve! Any idea on what I can get for him?? He’s not left the water or anything yet and is very very pale, almost see-through.

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nurturingnature July 10, 2014 at 7:31 pm

Hi Roxy, go to a pet or aquatic shop and buy some blood worms, ant eggs and daphne. That should help! Cheers George

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tess August 30, 2014 at 1:23 pm

Hi, feeling terrible, just sliced front right foot off 3-4inch newt with a strimmer….hate myself for it. He seems to have perked up despite trauma, is there a chance he can survive? I made a damp/wet area for him wth shelter in hopes he’ll survive and will attempt to put in appropriate food ( I know it’s nature just feel like I’m condemning another creature to death!! so may have to go buy!) He is moving about and I feel I need to put something on the stump to sterilize/seal. Know nothing about newts, he is smooth and has a pretty pink tum- and I feel the pits…

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nurturingnature September 1, 2014 at 7:29 am

Hi Try some iodine on its paw and keep it fed with meal worms… these things happen, it was not deliberate. I have seen over the years dead hedgehogs strummed to death. Cheers, George

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melissa October 19, 2014 at 1:20 am

Hey, I’ve found, what I think is a juvenile smooth newt in my kitchen its 3cm lonlong, head to tail, and it is brown with ttwo darker lines either side of its body, does anyone know what I should do with it, I don’t want it to come to any harm. And I don’t know the best place to put it, any help would be fantastic, tia Melissa, uk

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nurturingnature October 19, 2014 at 8:09 pm

Hi Melissa, I would send a photo to your local wildlife trust and ask them, they may have a nature reserve near you, hth, cheers, George

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melissa November 4, 2014 at 4:57 pm

Thank you x

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nurturingnature November 6, 2014 at 7:54 am

My pleasure Melissa! I have some newt videos in my garden to edit and will post them when I get the time. Cheers, George

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jess April 8, 2015 at 3:12 pm

Hi I have moved into a new house and according to the owner we have newts living in our garden. We have 2 small ponds in our garden and are both near the playhouse where the kids play. Should I be worried because the owner said that we have quite a few. Many thanks jess

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nurturingnature April 8, 2015 at 6:27 pm

Hi Jess, Lucky you and what an opportunity to showcase and interest your children in these harmless creatures. They look like small lizards and are very interesting to watch. Perhaps you could find a shady corner of your garden and build, together with your children, a log pile in which they can find shelter from the sun and protection from predators. Indeed if you search the internet and look for making a place for them to hibernate! A very rich area for you and your children to explore together and enjoy together! Cheers, George

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mark April 23, 2015 at 5:31 pm

Hi I Moved Into A New House With A Large Pond 12ftx4ft with plants and algae at the shallow end (3ft) and lily pads growing from a rock pile in the corner of the deep end (5ft) that reaches the side of the pond at ground level. I’v notice a large newt population of 50 or so smooth newts with a small black goldfish population of 20. I’v been here 8 months now and the newts don’t seem to leave the pond. They even spent the winter in the pond, I kept breaking the ice around the rock pile which give them about a 3ft squared ramp to leave but they just don’t. there are plenty of trees and bushes that have overgrown the back and side of the garden. I even put 3-4 newts under a bush on a rainy night and they returned straight back to the pond. Can and will newts stay in a pond there whole life.

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nurturingnature April 24, 2015 at 10:57 pm

Hi Mark,Can I suggest you contact some of the amphibian organisations or check out their web sites as found on my article? Its not behaviour I am familiar with! Thanks for sharing, George

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Alicia May 26, 2015 at 7:52 pm

hello,

I have just moved into a new house that has two ponds that are very overgrown and have broken water pumps. there used to be a lot of frog spawn but now that has disappeared and there seem to be a couple of common newts.

is there anything that I can do to help the pondlife and encourage them to stay? I removed a lot of the weeds and left the pile on the side on the pond, any tips are greatly appreciated im very much enjoying the life 🙂

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nurturingnature May 28, 2015 at 8:59 am

Hi Alicia, wildlife gardening can be very addictive and is great for escaping and just chilling as you watch! I am aware that newts tend to like deeper ponds. I would visit http://www.froglife.org and have a lok around there if you can drag yourself away from your garden! Thanks, for sharing, George

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Louise June 14, 2015 at 3:05 pm

I have been doing a bit of tidying up around the garden and discovered a newt. I had just upturned a rainwater filled ccontainer. I quickly filled the container with water and put an equatic plant and some stones into the container. I managed to get the newt into this container. I just wanted to know whether I have distroyed the newt’s habitat completely or have I managed to undo the damage I did. Also, I have a walked garden with some toads hiding under rocks and stones ,how did they get in?

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nurturingnature June 15, 2015 at 8:43 pm

Hi Louise, difficult for me to say how they got in but I suspect there is a small hole or a gap of some sort somewhere large enough for them to squeeze through. I would place the newt to where you found the toads.They like damp dark areas under logs, stones etc. The newt may have just been resting… Thanks for sharing, george

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Larvanillatar July 1, 2015 at 6:02 pm

I found a newt in my garden and I was wondering if there are any garden insects it could eat. Thanks in advance.

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nurturingnature July 1, 2015 at 6:46 pm

Hi, newts will predate any insects it can catch, worms, spider, wood lice, eat.hth cheers, George

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Ray Hewitt July 30, 2015 at 9:24 am

In my pond–recently rebuilt are what I perceive to be baby newts.

i have also recently found some blanket weed in which the newt seem to hide

I intend to put barley straw in the pond to remove the weed.I take it there will be no adverse effect on the newts

Look forward to your obs

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nurturingnature July 30, 2015 at 11:48 am

Hi Ray, the barley straw is also used as a semi habitat and resting place once it has sunk by pond wildlife. The newts and other wildlife in your pond will be fine. I have been using it for many years. HTH, Cheers, George

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c August 1, 2015 at 11:57 am

hey,

i have these logs at the bottom of my garden and very week or two i lift them up to see what is living underneath them and recently these newts
(well i think there newts but my family are saying there different things).
i had a spare turtle tank in my room so i decided to fill that up with logs, grass, leaves, mud and twigs e.c.t and i put one of them in there just so i could see what they do and what they eat. i have been consistently searching up what it could be but, unfortunately i have had no luck.

please could someone help me identify them!!!

identification:

they are brown all over apart from their stomaches, they r orange with black dots and they are roughly 8cm long. they don’t mover very fast and i normally find them in dark, dry places.

anyone got any ideas on what they could be…..??????
– C x

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nurturingnature August 3, 2015 at 10:19 pm

Hi C, thanks for sharing…. try http://www.froglife.org cheers, george

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Monique August 13, 2015 at 12:46 am

Hi George. I thought I had saved about 30 tiny goldfish fry from being eaten by their parents but it turns out that half of them were newt larvae. I have had to learn quite a lot in a short space of time in order to give them a good start in life. Obviously I soon realised they couldn’t live together without eating eachother so fish and newts soon had their own tanks. They are all doing really well and all the newts had left the water by about a month ago. I’ve been hand feeding them with live bloodworms I bought on ebay. They are very cute and funny and seem quite happy and stick their little heads up when they see the food coming. But i really want to give them a chance of life in the pond when they are big enough. They range between 1 and 2 inches in length but are still very vulnerable. I’m concerned that when they get to about 3 inches that we might be into Oct/Nov time. Do you think they will be able to survive okay on their own now. They still won’t go back in the water. I’m worried I’ve done the wrong thing by starting all of this. They are all palmate newts I think. Definitely not great crested. Many thanks. Monique x

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nurturingnature August 17, 2015 at 9:55 pm

Hi Monique, You have done what many people have done for years so don’t feel guilty. Yes I would let them get on without your handouts! In the wild, nature always allows for many young to die so nature will find the balance as will ‘your’ newts! Thanks for sharing. Nice story!! Cheers, George

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Lynne August 27, 2015 at 5:27 pm

The last couple of days I have found a newt in our swimming pool I have removed it twice only for it to find its way back again even though I moved it some way from the pool, it is now in the chamber of the water filter with the fir needles from our tree it seems to be nesting as I can now see very tiny organisms which I believe to be baby newts. I am unsure what to do to save them as I am sure the Chlorine in the pool can’t be very good for them. Any help as to what to do will be greatfully received.
Lynne

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nurturingnature August 31, 2015 at 5:19 pm

Hi Lynne, you are right the chlorine will do them no good. Its a little late for tadpoles/young newts. It may be exploring a suitable hibernation site. They like using sites under logs, branches, large stones etc…..there must be something in your area or better still make something! Good luck, Cheers, George

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Gemma August 27, 2015 at 8:34 pm

Hi,
We left our paddling pool out in the garden for a few weeks and when I went to empty it today, I discovered, what I think are lots of tiny newts. Now I’m worried about emptying the pool as all the newts will die. There’s not much in the water (as it’s a paddling pool, not a pond!). Any advice? The kids want to save the newts. 🙂
Thanks

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nurturingnature August 31, 2015 at 5:16 pm

Hi Gemma, the newts only need a pond/similar for breeding purposes. They will need to start exploring for places to hibernate…let them go and explore! Cheers, George

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Gemma September 1, 2015 at 9:10 pm

Thank you. So, I can empty the pool and they will be ok? They are only tiny at the moment…

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Mark September 1, 2015 at 12:40 am

Thanks for your interesting site. I’m across the pond/swamp in the U.S. caught a newt and a small frog to put in my grandsons terrarium. Think I made an ill fated mistake. Found a really cool walking stick to add in. I guess it should have clued me in when Sticky ( as my grandson called him) lingered at the top all the time. Yesterday I awoke to not a trace of Sticky. Now I’ve got some life experience to explain to a 4 yr old. Wish I had read your site beforehand !

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nurturingnature September 1, 2015 at 6:59 pm

Aw! Well life has some strange experiences in store for us at every age!! Thanks for sharing! Cheers, George

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nurturingnature September 1, 2015 at 7:00 pm

Aw! Well life has many experiences in store for all of us at any age!! Cheers, George

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Joshua M December 12, 2015 at 1:26 am

I have a newt that looks like it’s mouth was chopped are smashed off and I’m not shur what to feed cuase I don’t think it has a tongue

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nurturingnature December 15, 2015 at 7:41 pm

I would telephone your wildlife trust or Froglife for advice. HTH cheers, George

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Joshua M December 17, 2015 at 1:41 am

Thanks ok

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mat green January 15, 2016 at 7:15 pm

hi i have successfully reared smooth newts from eggs and released them in my garden i absolutely adore them
I now have baby newts in one of my ponds
i have three, but the pond in question is very small
will they survive now we getting freezing weather
if not i will bring them in and put them in my rearing tank
thanks for any comments
mat

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nurturingnature January 15, 2016 at 11:12 pm

Mat, by rights they should be ‘hibernating’ so perhaps it would be a good idea to do as you suggest. HTH, Cheers, george

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Emma January 19, 2016 at 10:02 am

This morning I found what I think is a baby newt in my kitchen, not sure what I should do with it? Will it die from the cold if i put it outside at this time of year? Thanks Emma X

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nurturingnature January 20, 2016 at 7:25 am

Hi Emma, try to put it under a log pile, similar to give it some protection from the cold…. this winter has puzzles wildlife. I have already seen 2 dead hedgehogs in roads 🙁 HTH, George

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Simon March 16, 2016 at 11:01 am

The books all say that newts are shy and nocturnal, but our smooth newts obviously can’t read. They have provided all my family with hours of fun on warm, late spring, early summer, days. As regards food, they will have a go at anything, from overly large earthworms to my wife’s finger (they’re too small to do any actual harm, but getting punched for laughing does hurt). Live blood worm, daphnia, etc. from the local aquatic centre, carefully placed in an easily visible part of the pond, can be both entertaining and provide information on the numbers and health of the colony.
Replaced the old pond over the winter with a larger one and re-stocked with UK-only plants, so will be interesting to see how they take to it.

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nurturingnature March 18, 2016 at 6:10 pm

Nice one Simon, thanks for sharing. Saw 2 newts in my one year old pond the other day. I’m made up! Cheers, George

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Simon March 31, 2016 at 3:34 pm

Emptied new pond on Good Friday to sort out some levelling issues. Found one dead mouse and FIFTY THREE (Wife counted) adult amphibious thugs. The females looked ready to burst.
It has been an odd winter.

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nurturingnature March 31, 2016 at 8:36 pm

Probably full of eggs? Thanks for sharing, George

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Sophie April 5, 2016 at 2:44 pm

Hey, I was thinking of keeping a few smooth newts (adults) for my younger brother and sister to observe, probably not long term. I’m probably going to collect them from the local pond and keep them for a few days, but was wondering what sort of things I should put in the tank for them while they stay? And would it be okay to collect them this time of year or should I wait until the breeding season is over?

Thanks a lot.

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nurturingnature April 8, 2016 at 2:28 pm
Jennifer hathaway May 4, 2016 at 5:44 pm

I for many years had a pond full of breeding newts which this year seemed to be vanishing fast. While in my greenhouse to my horror I turned to look at my pond and a magpie was picking them off one by one .i rushed over and found many dead bodies. I tried netting all the edges so he couldn’t land but he keeps comeing back every day trying to get into the pond. What can I do ?

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nurturingnature May 10, 2016 at 8:33 pm

Make you pond more predator proof by putting an better netting to fleece like material over it to dissuade it and remove once it gets the hint. HTH, Cheers G

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David May 8, 2016 at 9:29 pm

Hi, I noticed that some of the newts in my wildlife pond have small snails attached to their feet! Would you recommend I try and remove them or just leave alone?

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nurturingnature May 14, 2016 at 7:31 pm

Try frog life web site. That is something I have not come across before cheers G

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Nicola May 26, 2016 at 3:50 pm

Hi, I have lots of tadpoles, at least 3 frogs and a toad, in my garden. I have also seen one newt. It is khaki and has ridges on the sides of its back. with littles fingers on its hands. My son saw one (but it could be the same one….) he said it was green and he saw the ridges too, except he saw them all over its back. Its hard to tell, because it is so fast! What kind of newt is he?Will he attract a mate? Could there be more than one, but we haven’t seen them? If the does not have a mate, will he just die off? I don’t want that to happen.Weird too, my son only dug me the pond last year. I put a load of weed in, I got given from freecycle and we had 50 babies of fish appear from literally nowhere, with the pond only two weeks old! They must have been eggs on the weeds. Is that ok? Could they kill the newts? or eggs? Now we have seen the fish/newt/toad/frogs, I do not want to change anything! And the pond is not even a year old. I also had an old weed blocked pond and saw a light brown newt years ago, but the one we are seeing now is not like that. That pond was removed and incorporated into the new pond as a separate pond, like a fountain.

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nurturingnature May 28, 2016 at 9:45 am

The fish make grow into larger fish, species unknown which may eat your pond out of its pond wildlife. Other than sticklebacks, I personally do not have fish in any of the wildlife ponds I have owned and made. I suggest you do an interest search of newts this may show you the species you have. Cheers, George

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Della June 30, 2016 at 8:54 pm

Last night there were two newts in my garage. They looked black. It is very damp in there. I have a large pond with a wall around it at the bottom of my garden. I put a little of my cat’s food by them last night. It had gone this morning. There is a little mouse in the garage and I do not know if it had eaten it. I thought I might put them outside, but I have two foxes coming down to the house at night for dog biscuits and thought they might eat the newts. What can I feed them on. I do not want to give them anything live.

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nurturingnature June 30, 2016 at 9:55 pm

As they are predators and not scavengers it is likely they will only eat live prey. Live mealworms, or worms spring to mind ….HTH Cheers, G

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Della July 2, 2016 at 1:39 pm

Thank you

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Donna Owen July 23, 2016 at 1:10 pm

Hi,
I have recently discovered a pair of smooth newts living in my pond, I’m very exited about this and have been watching them as much as possible. I noticed this week the female has started laying egg and am worried that they won’t have time to develop as it’s mid July now. Will they be ok? Or is there anything I can do to help them survive?
Thank you

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nurturingnature July 26, 2016 at 7:27 am

Hi Donna, You could add some daphnia into your pond bought from an aquarium to apple dup their development. If food is scarce, they can survive, as tadpoles overwinter and start their growth again in the spring. The Daphnia and blood worms will help. HTH, Cheers, George

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Bruce Taylor August 4, 2016 at 11:34 am

Dear Mr Pilkington
It would seem you may be the man to addvise me ?
We have a disused swimming pool with fifty to a hundred newts in it .
From water surface to top is about 3′ and they have moved from some floating weed to the sides now and are huddling together at the water line.
Can you tell me should I leave them be or lift them out as I don’t want to see them starve if not enough food or drown of exhaustion if they can’t get out over the over hang of the coping stones . Most are about 3 to 4 cm long now .
Please addvise. Regards Bruce
Tel: 07790252732

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nurturingnature August 6, 2016 at 9:56 am

Hi Bruce, best ask Amphibian and reptile conservation

t: 01202 391319
e: enquiries@arc-trust.org. HTH, George

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Peter August 15, 2016 at 7:43 am

I have a small garden pond with a thriving eco-system (about 8ft square by about 1.5ft deep), including newts, but until recently no frogs. Last year I introduced minnows (to keep down the mosquito larvae), and they thrived. Then all of a sudden they recently disappeared. Then yesterday I saw a baby grass snake in the pond. I believe (mostly) in nature doing its own thing, but am curious as to what impact the grass snake could have on the other occupants of the pond?

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Peter August 15, 2016 at 7:50 am

Oh yes, plus a neighbour wants me to rescue a newt from her water butt, but I think introducing it to my pond with a snake there is not a good idea. Best idea of suitable location to release the newt? It looks like a female smooth newt.

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nurturingnature August 15, 2016 at 6:33 pm

Check it it is not a great crested newt and if not introduce it to another pond..? Cheers, George

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nurturingnature August 15, 2016 at 6:32 pm

Yes we make things to invite nature and they come and do their own thing! How lucky to have this in your pond. Difficult to say what effect it will have though. Thats nature! Cheers, George

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rosemary September 25, 2016 at 4:56 pm

I am in inner London. I am building a small pond in a small garden. How can I find some newts for the pond, it seem pet shops only have exotic ones.

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nurturingnature September 26, 2016 at 2:01 pm

Rosemary, I would contact your local Wildlife Trust, there may well mot be enough food available for them in a small pond in a small garden…. HTH, Cheers, George

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Gareth January 9, 2017 at 12:24 am

I have found a great crested newt tonight on a busy pavement, it was very cold and not moving very much. I have brought it home and put it in a tank with grass and twigs, it is a lot more active now. The question is what do I do with it as I believe it should be in hibernation now?

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nurturingnature January 9, 2017 at 4:14 pm

Hi Gareth, Yes you are right although technically they don’t hibernate. I would put it outside, near a pond or where you know where newts are and put it under a log which is where they like to go for the winter. Cheers G

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Gavin Kawol February 23, 2017 at 10:11 am

Hey, the other day I was walking home and noticed this lizard looking thing so I put it in a box did some research and found out that it’s a smooth newt, i presume it’s a baby because it’s very small, you talk about what adult newts eat but what about the younglings? And is newt feed ok so use or should I feed it things from the wild?

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Gavin Kawol February 23, 2017 at 10:14 am

Also how much space would you say they need? I made an enclosure for it with water and land

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nurturingnature February 23, 2017 at 12:57 pm

I would release it Gavin into the wild near a pond. Cheers, G

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nurturingnature February 23, 2017 at 12:57 pm

A young newt is a tadpole Gavin. It is likely to be a first year adult so adult food applies. HTH, Cheers, G

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Elizabeth Belyavin April 5, 2017 at 3:07 pm

Hi George
On Sunday I noticed 4 female smooth newts in our pond, arranged in a cross shape as if joined together by their snouts. They were struggling intermittently. After an hour the group had reduced to 3 and then about 3 hours later to 2. I gently caught the pair in a net and tipped them into a container, where they parted and the tattered remains of a large earthworm was hanging from the jaws of one of the newts. I then returned the newts and their worm to the pond. Could this be an example of cooperative behaviour? I notice that you say they have gripping structures in their mouths rather than true teeth, so could they have been acting together to grip and tear their prey into bite sized snacks?
Best wishes
Elizabeth

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nurturingnature April 5, 2017 at 6:18 pm

Hi Elizabeth, Probably they were both just trying to eat it at the same time..perhaps from different ends. They are not known for co operation when feeding. Nice thought though! Cheers, George

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Elizabeth April 6, 2017 at 11:28 am

Just a thought! Cheers, Elizabeth

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Jenna April 8, 2017 at 1:59 pm

Hi there! Loved reading about everyone else’s newts!

I’ve just moved into a new house that has a small plastic pond in my garden. I was going to fill it in until I realised that it has newts it in, so far I’ve only seen palmate newts in there, but I love watching them so will keep it! However, I’m worried that they can’t get out of the pond – the house was empty before I bought it so the pond has been neglected, there are not plants growing, only weeds and grass, and the water level has fallen to a foot below the edge. Can they still get out? What should I do to look after my pond and newts? What plants should I get for it. I won’t put any fish in, just need to know how to look after it!

Thank you! Jenna

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nurturingnature April 10, 2017 at 6:52 am

Hi Jenna, I would buy a decent wildlife gardening book or buy the book I recommend on the article. HTH cheers, george

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every-type-of-newt-pond April 11, 2017 at 1:41 pm

hello,
we have a smallish pond in our garden (it is about 3m by 2m) and it is
absoloutley full of newts. we have handled them a few times,but we have also handled the 2 great crested newts… after some research, we have found out that it is illegal… oops! we are observing them, and have found out that we have : 1 male great crested newt,1 female great crested newt and 10-20 palmate and smooth newts. we have put some tadpoles in the pond , and were wondering about introducing goldfish. however , it’s goodbye tadpoles, because newts eat them…

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nurturingnature April 12, 2017 at 9:53 pm

Yes that sounds like a feeding frenzy potentially! Newts eating on frog tadpoles and baby fish, goldfish feeding on tadpoles, etc. Thanks for sharing

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Abbie May 9, 2017 at 1:54 pm

I’ve found a newt in my garden it’s actually fallen into a jar I had as an ornament but with the weather has now been filled with water, I’m worried it’s going to get eaten by something so I don’t want to let it free, it’s sounds harsh I know but I’ve never seen one before so with doing a lot of research, the big question is can I keep it? Or should I let it free.

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nurturingnature May 12, 2017 at 8:35 am

Let it free Abbie. It is totally a wild beast and if it is a great crested newt….HTH Cheers, George

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Dave May 15, 2017 at 6:09 pm

Hi can you help I have a Albino Newt in my pond I believe they are very rare can someone tell me anything about them please.

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nurturingnature May 18, 2017 at 6:26 am

Try your local wildlife trust Dave, cheers, George

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nurturingnature May 22, 2017 at 9:34 pm

Try your local wildlife trust… George

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Sylvia May 24, 2017 at 10:50 am

I have quite a few large newts in my small pond. They seem to be thriving without my feeding them. Can they get out and into the garden, i.e. climb up a big stone or step? And would they? And when?

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nurturingnature May 27, 2017 at 8:11 pm

Yes, yes, and when they want to! G

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Nicola May 30, 2017 at 8:38 am

Hi we have recently put a small wildlife pond in our garden and the insects and snails etc it has attracted is amazing in a short time and excited that we are pretty a sure a young male great crested has been living in around it for some weeks. My concern is there doesn’t seem to be a mate for him. Is it the male that searches the female or the other way round. Be a shame if he moves on.

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nurturingnature May 30, 2017 at 8:29 pm

He will wait until a female arrives or move on if one does nt.Thats nature! Cheers, George

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Neil June 4, 2017 at 3:53 pm

We have a small garden pond. I used to have a few small goldfish but they proved to be just food for the local heron. Now we have newts, probably common but I have difficulty telling common from palmate. I think palmates have spottier throats, or is it the other way round? Hard to tell anyway because I rarely see the undersides. The pond is too shallow so we get a lot of algal bloom. I clear this out now and then and it does not seem to bother the newts, except it makes it easier for me to see them. They have been resident for about 5 years now, breed successfully, and seem to find enough nutrition to survive without interference from me. I might throw in some blood worms or something similar to encourage them, give them a bit of a treat. Every spring we get frogspawn, but lately it has come to nothing. I suspect the newts are feasting on it. Have only spotted one solitary young frog this summer.

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nurturingnature June 5, 2017 at 1:02 pm

That is nature at its rawest Neil. Thanks for sharing, George

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Jacky Fellows June 14, 2017 at 8:54 am

Hi, info is really useful, thank you. I’ve have a pond waiting to be rendered, in the meantime it filled with rainwater and last year I noticed smooth newts…how they got in I’ll never know, sides are sheer (which I need to address so they can get back out) I’ve put the rendering on hold but this year they’re back. The pond is stagnant but they seem to like it. I’ve bought some oxygenating plants and some rafting plants for the newts to lay eggs which they have dutifully done. On first inspection there was wriggling in the egg sack after a few days but then, nothing…Using a magnifying glass I’ve noticed a very tiny worm like thing swimming around in the egg fluid next to the newt baby…could this be something invading the newt eggs?…I would be so sad to lose them now.

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nurturingnature June 14, 2017 at 10:05 pm

Hi Jacky, I would ask https://www.arc-trust.org for some advice. If they answer let me know please. You can buy butyl with pebbles/grit glued onto it and lay that over your steep edges. Thanks for sharing, george

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Jacky Fellows August 19, 2017 at 5:19 pm

Hi George
It turns out that the worm was outside of the egg sack and the newts hatched in due time. I have about 8 newtlets of varying sizes. I bought water daphnia for them which bloomed for a couple of weeks but then died off. Unfortunately I can’t seem to culture the daphnia in the pond now so I’m hoping that the newts find something else to eat. Your info has been really helpful, thank you.

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Shelve June 29, 2017 at 11:39 pm

Hi I have a eastern newt and there really small. I was wondering if I could feed him a ramshorn snail? Do they eat that? Also I wanted to know what I could feed them because it’s been about 3 days and he hasn’t eaten any of his pellets. Thank you.

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nurturingnature July 3, 2017 at 8:29 pm

Try frog life website they may be able to help. Hth George

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Caz62 September 29, 2017 at 11:51 am

I keep finding what looks like dead baby newts in my kitchen where i have a back door leading into the garden they are just over half an inch long black in colour are dead, i have no water in my garden i dont know if they are getting brought in on our shoes from garden or coming in under the door so far i have found about 8 of them can anybody shed any light on this for me. Ty

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nurturingnature October 7, 2017 at 6:48 am

I have answered this one Caz. Cheers G

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Caz62 October 1, 2017 at 12:46 pm

Hi can somebody tell me why i seem to be finding what looks like dead baby newts in my kitchen, i have found about 8 now, they are about half an inch long black in colour, i have a back door that leads out to the garden but no water features around if someone can shed some light on this i would be grateful.

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nurturingnature October 7, 2017 at 6:39 am

Probably trying to find somewhere safe to hunker down for the winter and get trapped inside your kitchen in the process Caz. Take them outdoors and place them under some logs or a brush pile. There will be a pond nearby from where they originated. HTH Cheers, George

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Sally October 13, 2017 at 10:15 pm

I have a manhole in my garden which is covered. For many years now there have been at least 4 toads of varying sizes living quite happily in this hole. There is no way out as far as I know. They are always there.
Today when I looked I noticed for the first time a very small newt.
Will they live together? I would have thought that the toads would eat them. Anyone know?

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nurturingnature October 14, 2017 at 9:19 am

Sally, I suspect they will live together as at this time of the year they are slowing down into a tepid state which is similar to hibernation.

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