newtsThe underwater webcam on the Leighside pond has shown that newts are already in the pond. Newts usually return to the pond in the spring. They hibernate away from the ponds and ditches in the winter but they are active already. Why do you think this might be?

Firstly we have had a mild winter so far. However, the main reason could be that the pond and woodland flooded and become one big body of water. This has probably disturbed hibernating newts and that is why they are present in the pond early. This is natural flooding that occurs sometimes in the winter. Elsewhere on the nature reserve, the newts may still be hibernating. The newts we have seen so far have all been palmate news

Visit our video library to se clips of these newts. You can also see these clips by clicking 3 palmate newts  and single palmate newt

We know at least some of the newts hibernate in the woodland, as in the past we have found them under logs. When they awaken they travel slowly back to water, but its slow progress. Unlike frogs that can travel using ‘energy saving’ hops, newts have to make the journey on all fours. They look like lizards when they are on land but their movements are much slower and purposeful. Lizards usually move with short bursts of speed. The newt below was found underneath a log in the woodland last year.

It’s not until newts reach the ponds and ditches that they become visible. Part of the reason is that the males have brightly coloured fins and bodies that make them stand out. On land they are a drab brown to help them avoid predators.