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Alpine Newt in Surrey?

Printed From: Reptiles and Amphibians of the UK
Category: General
Forum Name: What is it?
Forum Description: Seen something in the wild and wondering what it is? This is the place to ask
Printed Date: 19 Oct 2020 at 4:47pm
Software Version: Web Wiz Forums 11.06 -

Topic: Alpine Newt in Surrey?
Posted By: MTem
Subject: Alpine Newt in Surrey?
Date Posted: 17 Aug 2017 at 8:15am
Hello all,
I am a landowner (8Ha) and birder on the Surrey/Sussex border near Gatwick. I have two ponds on my land - one an ancient dew pond in a small plantation, and another 60 x 30m one that I created last autumn. I am attempting to catalogue all the flora and fauna that colonise the new pond and its environs, and also those that are present in the old one. I can do the birds but need help on pretty much everything else!

Anyway ..... I found this newt among some wooden partitions I had stored near both ponds (they are about 60m apart). Given the plain unspotted orange belly and neck, and using your ID section, I can only match Alpine newt. Is this correct, and given it is therefore an introduced species do I need to report it to anyone?


The photos aren't showing - what am I doing wrong?

Posted By: Iowarth
Date Posted: 17 Aug 2017 at 9:34am
Hi Mick

many thanks for your question which I am sure our forum members will be able to answer.

Unfortunately you are correct in saying that we can't see your photo(s). This most commonly happens due to accidentally skipping a step in the process. So ............

Firstly, please use your photo imaging software to create an image by selecting the salient part and pasting into a new image and then resizing. The target is to get a file size below 500Mb. Usually this can be achieved with an image with maximum dimension of 1000px

  • Use the "Post Reply" button immediately below this post as this will give you access to the photo upload facility.
  • Click on the little tree icon and in the dialog box that opens  select "Browse" to find your picture on your computer, select it and click on the "Open" button. You will see its name appear next to the "Browse" button
  • Once you have done this (and this is the most commonly omitted step) click the "Upload" button below the "Browse" button (you may have to scroll down a little to see this).
  • The picture will then upload and appear in the preview screen to the right. That's it, although in the main editing window you can drag the picture to reposition it if you wish.

Looking forward to seeing your photo.
All the best

Chris Davis, Site Administrator

Co-ordinator, Sand Lizard Captive Breeding Programme (RETIRED)

Posted By: MTem
Date Posted: 17 Aug 2017 at 10:14am
Thanks - see if this works ..... (might have the first one twice, sorry. Can't see how to delete one)

Posted By: MTem
Date Posted: 17 Aug 2017 at 10:19am
And this is one of the tens of newt 'tadpoles' that I photographed back in June. I marked these as Smooth/Palmate as I read they are indistinguishable at this age. In the light of the other one is this correct or are these immature Alpine as well?

Interestingly they all seemed to disappear from the pond within a week or so from me taking the photo. Is this usual? Have they moved to the 'terrestrial phase' I read about, or did a visiting Heron nab the lot? The pond has very little aquatic vegetation at the moment.

Thanks, Mick

Posted By: Iowarth
Date Posted: 17 Aug 2017 at 10:37am
hi Mick

I would await further opinions from other of our members but certainly the top photo in particular looks very Alpine like. A lot harder with larvae but it could be. So far as the adult is concerned it also looks as though there is a distinct blue tinge - another Alpine characteristic.

The larva is very well developed and if you have had the warm sunny weather we have had then they may well have emerged and dispersed. They are also very good at lurking invisibly even with little cover. Best seen at night with a torch when in the water.

Should others here confirm this it should really be reported even though they are far from rare! The appropriate place to do this is" rel="nofollow -
All the best

Chris Davis, Site Administrator

Co-ordinator, Sand Lizard Captive Breeding Programme (RETIRED)

Posted By: MTem
Date Posted: 17 Aug 2017 at 10:43am
Thanks Chris - I will do as you suggest if ID is confirmed, and thanks for the photo-posting info.

Also please ignore the pretentious copyright in the corner - I have it applied to all my photos automatically and it's too much hassle to keep disabling it for 'snaps' like these.


Posted By: GemmaJF
Date Posted: 17 Aug 2017 at 12:40pm
I would be erring towards Alpine Newt from the images.

There are several colonies in the UK. **Generally** they are not thought to stray too far from local environs so they present little threat in the wild.

I would get in touch with SARG who will probably be very interested and may be able to get someone to give a positive ID in the field" rel="nofollow -

Posted By: MTem
Date Posted: 17 Aug 2017 at 2:20pm
 I have reported it to SARG, but unless someone can find it again (I released it nearby) it isn't going to be possible to 'ID in the field'.
Where can I find out where the nearest known colony is?

Posted By: Suzi
Date Posted: 17 Aug 2017 at 3:46pm
About three years ago my brother was told of Alpine Newts in someone's garden pond in the Fylde area of Lancashire. The owners of the pond hadn't introduced them, they just arrived. Now this is an area of dykes/ditches with GCNs, so I guess it's not good news as they could easily spread - in fact must have done. 


Posted By: GemmaJF
Date Posted: 17 Aug 2017 at 5:54pm
Not sure they occupy a niche that would be a threat to GCN Suz? GCN would probably just eat them, they seem to do that to the native small newt species.

I guess if I had a concern it would be interbreeding with native newts, though I have never heard this was possible with Alpine newts?

I thought I replied early Mick, but it seems to have got lost in the ether.

SARG may have someone who can visit and positively identify the Larvae. Personally I would want to have a good look at a few of them to be anywhere near sure. Visiting in the breeding season would also reveal plenty of adults if it is an established colony. 

Don't know if Steve or Rick are still active on here, but certainly follow up the report with an email asking SARG for further assistance would be my advice.

Posted By: PondDragon
Date Posted: 18 Aug 2017 at 8:41am
Photos look fine for Alpine Newt to me. Not sure about the larva. They aren't closely related to any of our native newts, so hybridisation isn't going to be an issue.

Posted By: will
Date Posted: 18 Aug 2017 at 9:25am
+1 for alpine newt both the adult and larva (larvae typically have this greyish appearance and more blotched pattern than smooth or palmate).  You're not far from known populations of alpine newt eg Newdigate in Surrey.  Well worth letting SARG know, as has been said. 

Posted By: Caleb
Date Posted: 18 Aug 2017 at 12:23pm
Another difference with alpine larvae is that their tail fin is much blunter than smooth/palmate larvae; more of sudden ending with alpines versus a gradual tapering with smooth/palmate. So another vote for alpine from me.

The main worry with alpines in the UK is that they can be an asymptomatic carrier of chytrid.

Posted By: MTem
Date Posted: 18 Aug 2017 at 4:52pm
Thanks All,

Reported to SARG and it seems most likely it/they came from Beam Brook (about a mile north along the lane) back in the 30's when it was an exotic reptile/amphibian breeding centre. Seems there might be quite a range of exotics in the undergrowth around here! And clearly they've been here a while so unlikely to die out or be easily extirpated even if you wanted to.

Well I will keep an eye out for adults - I had already placed 3 corrugated tin sheets down with logs on top around the new pond for the mice/voles so I will check these now and again. Any advice on this and other places to check for adults?

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