So the little fella didn't get hurt while we rebuilt his home I held on to him and I got a good look at him. I was surprised how delicate and colourful it was because at first he just looked quite brown and plain.
|Common Newt (Triturus vulgaris)|
As these pictures show he was quite big really and his tail a bit jagged. Underneath is creamy with big black spots and an orange stripe. I wondered if it was a great crested newt but after researching it I think it is a common newt. Common maybe but still an amazing little creature.
Now newts are interesting. They are nocturnal and are cold blooded. They are amphibious and belong to the family Salamandridae. They hide away in winter too, not hibernating but sheltering. They eat a lot of slugs and snails so are very welcome in the garden.
All the British species of newt are protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981. Their numbers have been in decline and people think this is probably due to the loss of ponds which is an important part of their habitat where they breed.
The old English name for them was efte, which change through middle English to eft and ewt and the little critters only picked up the n in the 15th Century!
They can produce toxins in their skin to protect themselves so after I handled this guy I washed my hands very well.
Here's some newt info:
Wild About Gardens - Newts
Froglife - Common Newts
I also read that they are very sensitive creatures and are good indicators of the quality of the environment, so it seems I am very lucky to have them in my garden and it must be a nice environment (but we do garden organically!).
Hope you enjoy.