There are three newt species found in the UK – the great crested, the smooth or common newt and the palmate newt. Only the great crested and smooth newts are now widespread in Norfolk with the palmate newt being confined to a very small number of sites.
The great crested newt
is the largest species at about 15cm long. Their topside is very dark brown or black and the underside is orange or yellow with irregular black spots. The males have a distinctive and large serrated crest during the breeding season. Great-crested newts have full protection under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981.
The smooth or common newt
is about 8-10cm long and has a pale grey-brown body with a bright yellow or orange underside with dark spots. A distinguishing feature is the presence of spots on the underside of their throat. During the breeding season males have a continuous wavy crest running along the back and also along the underside of the tail.
The palmate newt is very similar in size and colour to the smooth newt; however the males do not have a very pronounced crest and have webbed hind feet. Females are more difficult to differentiate but the best way is to look at the throat which in palmate is usually a pale/translucent pink colour without spots.
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Picture by Rob Peacock