Newts in the garden

Earlier in the week, while transplanting a small tree, my husband found a little newt. In winter, newts will find frost-free corners of the garden to rest up in, only coming out in milder weather to forage for food. They will often use compost heaps to hide in so it’s a great reason to have a compost heap.

Smooth Newt

Smooth Newt

Now with spring on its way, they will be thinking of heading back to the pond to breed. We often see them swimming in the pond during the spring and summer (see previous post https://murtaghsmeadow.wordpress.com/2014/03/20/newts/). They look quite graceful in the water. On land they seem almost prehistoric.

Smooth Newt

Smooth Newt

In Ireland, we only have one species of newt (Smooth – Lissotriton vulgaris), but in the UK there are three – smooth, palmate and great crested. Newts will eat slugs and snails as well as earthworms. In water, they will eat tadpoles and water insects.

Smooth newt

Smooth newt

I love seeing these little amphibians in the garden. We’re still waiting for the frogs to return to the pond to spawn. It’s usually about now we start to see them, so it shouldn’t be long. If you find newts in your garden you can record your sightings at www.biology.ie

Smooth newt

Smooth newt

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18 thoughts on “Newts in the garden

  1. Jane

    What a beautiful creature. I think we have had newts in our pond & we do have a compost. Should I place something to climb down into & up from the pond? And do you know what happened to your newt?

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    1. Murtagh's Meadow Post author

      If you have had newts in your pond they should be able to get in and out already, though always good idea to have a shallow end, or a conveniently placed stone to help creatures in and out of ponds.
      We put the little fellow back in an area with plenty cover close to the pond and he soon vanished:)

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  2. Melissa Shaw-Smith

    Lovely photos and interesting facts. I really hope the newts and salamanders in my garden are well hidden under a couple of feet of snow and ice. It’s minus 7 Fahrenheit here today, with wind chills in the double negatives. Spring is such a glorious memory!

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    1. Murtagh's Meadow Post author

      That snow is a great insulator Melissa. Keep warm – I couldn’t get warm today and we’re basking in 4 degrees Celsius – I’m very grateful for the gulf stream keeping Ireland relatively warm!

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    1. Murtagh's Meadow Post author

      Your comment sent me searching for the difference – and in fact from what I have just read newts belong to the family Salamandridae which consists of true salamanders and newts, though newts belong to the subfamily Pleurodelinae. So thank you- I’ve learned something new today!

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  3. Robbie

    Great shots! My kids had pet “newts” when they were small. How cool to have them in your garden! The ones they had were dark brown/black with orange. They always fascinated me:-)

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  4. aj vosse

    Gosh, I didn’t know they’re about so early in the year. We have them in the pond during summer so I’ll start looking out for them! I love standing at the pond watching and waiting to try and snap them as they take a gulp of air! 😉

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  5. Pingback: The Rhythm of the Frog Chorus | Murtagh's Meadow

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