Males are smaller than females and tend to have larger
spots on the upper body, during the breeding season they develop a low,
straight-edged crest on the back and a more developed crest on the tail. The
male has a distinct filament at the end of the tail during this time and black
"frills" on the hind feet. The females may have a very plump appearance in the
aquatic stage due to un-deposited eggs.
The female deposits her eggs individually on aquatic plants,
carefully wrapping each egg in a leaf. It is impossible to distinguish the eggs
of the Palmate Newt from those of the Smooth Newt in the field. The adults
remain in the pond until July, the young newts or "efts" leave the pond during
What else could it be?
It can be very difficult to distinguish the Palmate Newt from the
Smooth Newt (Triturus vulgaris). Smooth Newts tend to be larger,
typically 8-11 cm in length. Male smooth newts have a much more developed wavy
crest on their backs in the breeding season and no tail filament, they have a
rounder body than Palmates Newts which appear square in cross-section. The most
consistent difference is that Palmate newts usually do not have spotted or
The Great Crested Newt (Triturus cristatus), our only other
native tailed amphibian, is a much larger creature at 15-18 cm. Very dark in
appearance with distinctly warty skin.
Where will I see a Palmate Newt?
Palmate Newts will breed in very shallow pools and larger bodies
of water, they are often found in the same ponds as the Smooth Newt
(Triturus vulgaris). They are however more tolerant of acidic waters
than the Smooth Newt. Often small garden ponds are used for breeding.
Palmate Newts emerge from hibernation in early March and the
breeding season continues until late May. During July the adult newts leave the
water, males absorbing their crests and tail filaments and becoming more drab
in appearance. They are fully terrestrial during August and September,
preparing for hibernation by feeding on worms and other small invertebrates.
The Palmate Newt typically hibernates in deep leaf litter in late