The Great Crested Newt (Triturus cristatus) AKA the Northern Crested Newt or Warty Newt is a nationally important species protected under UK & European legislation. In Worcestershire and surrounding counties it is wide spread where suitable habitat occurs.
Great Crested Newts return to their ponds in February-March and leave in July – August. They are nocturnal animals but mostly active in the crepuscular period.
At up to 140 -170mm it is the largest of our three newt species, it’s long-slender body is granular in appearance and the dorsal surface dark brown to near black in colour marked with black spots and heavy white stippling along the flanks and limbs. The ventral surface is yellow-orange marked with irregular black blotches that form a unique ‘fingerprint’ allowing the individual identification of adults. The throat is dark and marked with heavy white stippling. The toe tips are yellow. In females the yellow-orange of the ventral surface continues down the underside of the tail, and in lightly coloured specimens a light dorsal stripe may be visible.
During the breeding period males develop a distinctive tall serrated crest that breaks at the tail, and the tail is marked with a silver-white flash.
Juvenile Great Crested Newts resemble females and reach maturity at 2-4 years of age.
Eggs of the Great Crested Newt are laid singularly folded in to leaves of aquatic vegetation. Eggs are large and pale yellow in colour.. They can number 200 from a single female but suffer from a genetic anomaly that causes a 50% mortality at the tail bud stage of development.
Great Crested Newt larvae are distinctive from our other newt species by their larger size, broad head, long toes, and large tail fin.