Great crested newt, Triturus cristatus, Britain’s most threatened -and protected- newt. It’s impressive, considerably larger than our other two native newt species, reaching up to around 17 cm in length.
Great Crested Newts disappeared from many sites, mainly as a result of pond loss or deterioration and intensive agriculture. However there are a number of sites with good populations in Barnsley.
Warty and appearing almost black above, it has a bright orange belly with black spots. In spring the adult male develops a jagged crest along its back and tail.
Newts breed during April/May; they need shallow edged, medium sized, ponds, with abundant vegetation and no fish, although ditches and other water bodies may be used. Occasionally they use garden ponds. Great Crested Newts need larger and deeper ponds than most other UK amphibians.
After mating, females lay hundreds of individual eggs on the leaves of pond plants. Each egg is wrapped up in pond plant leaves and/or pond detritus for protection. Larvae develop over summer to emerge in August – October, normally taking 2–4 years to reach maturity.
For much of the year newts are terrestrial, ranging a considerable distance from breeding sites. They are mainly active at night and feed on invertebrates.
They require rough grassland, scrub or hedgerow or woodland to hunt their prey, take refuge from predators, and over-winter. In the winter they partially hibernate, sheltering under rocks, in old walls, under log-piles and in holes in banks, emerging in February or March.
Great Crested Newt can be found in a range of habitats where there are ponds, including farmland, woodland, quarries, and brownfield sites. It is absent or rare in upland areas, and where there are few ponds and appropriate surrounding habitats. Newts are more likely to survive if there are ways for them to move between a number of suitable ponds and appropriate land habitats.
Great Crested Newt is a
It is a local priority species for because of its national status and there are sites in Barnsley with good populations for conservation management.
Great Crested Newt is protected under Section 9(1) of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 (as amended) against intentional killing, injuring and taking from the wild. This applies to all life stages including eggs.
Great Crested Newt is listed on Annexes III and IV of the EC Habitats Directive and Appendix III of the Bern Convention.
Great Crested Newt is protected under Schedule 2 of the Conservation (Natural Habitats etc) regulations 1994 (reg. 38)
Froglife: Great Crested Newt Conservation Handbook
See also links on amphibian conservation pages