Breeding newts

by Richard Jones

One of our cats sat motionless on the edge of the pond today, head drooped down almost touching the water as if he were asleep. But the occasional tic gave him away...

Female newt, photo taken by Richard JonesOne of our cats sat motionless on the edge of the pond today, head drooped down almost touching the water as if he were asleep. But the occasional tic gave him away: he was watching newts. The bright sunshine lit up a corner of our triangular pond, just where the water is deepest, and it is here that the 15 or so amphibians were frolicking.

These normally taciturn creatures are in the mood for love, and they are having a party. The last few weeks have seen a gradual increase in numbers, but until the warm weather of the last week, they have mainly been just hanging about in the water, barely moving. Now they are positively dancing.

The larger males, with their brighter bellies and higher, delicately crested, tails are courting the females. There is a lot of tail curling and gentle writhing as they follow each other through the pondweed or scuttle across the bottom of the pool. And every so often there is a sudden judder of acceleration, a few tail thrashes, and a pair jet through the water, then turn, swerve and dive down again.

Male newt, photo taken by Richard JonesThere is something primordial, almost crocodilian, about their languid swimming motion, but it is endlessly fascinating. Both cat and I are mesmerized. Now is the time to spot them in any pond, because, being distracted by each other, they are less likely to be disturbed by observers. A national newt hunt is being organized to coincide with this peak activity.

Discuss this blog post

Talkback: Breeding newts
Your comment will appear after a quick registration step

Gardeners' World Web User 14/04/2011 at 12:51

hope the poor blighter wasnt in the way of the berry fields bulldozer

Gardeners' World Web User 15/04/2011 at 23:50

I've dug ponds in my two previous gardens and really enjoyed the wildlife, (frogs & newts etc) in them. I suppose I've had a pond of some form for about 20years now! We moved house last year for a bigger garden and my collection of fish came with us (again!) I have koi, green & golden Tench, Golden Rudd, Gold fish, crucian carp amongst others. These fish have grown really big now so my new pond was built around their needs and is raised from the ground, unfortunately it doesn't support the the wildlife of my previous ponds which I do really miss. the other reason for the pond being raised and covered is due to having a young child...have to say that I can't wait until she is old enough for me to dig a wildlife pond again!! Higgy

Gardeners' World Web User 18/04/2011 at 13:16

My grandsons aged 4 and 2 discovered newts in our pond yesterday and were enthralled. After a winter of pondlife losses, these were a wonderful sign that life has returned with a vengeance.

Gardeners' World Web User 18/04/2011 at 20:27

This is the 4th year of our pond and it has been brilliant. Life just seems to appear from nowhere.For the first 2 years my wife and i were absolutely captivated by whirligig beatles,then nothing not one!I thought maybe it was due to the winter or something else natural that occurs.Pond skaters have returned after the winter but no whirligigs, any thoughts. Could i introduce them my self, though i'd rather they just came back naturally.

Gardeners' World Web User 22/04/2011 at 04:46

My pond is a half barrel with waterlilies, irises, and a few other little plants, no newts but an occational frog, where have all the newts gone that used to be here along with the grasshoppers that used to frequent my garden, got plenty of slugs and snails peskie little molluscs.

See more comments...