Great Crested Newt Triturus cristatus

Scientific Name: Triturus cristatus (Salamandridae).

English Name: Great Crested Newt; Northern Crested Newt; Warty Newt (Salamander family).

French Name: Triton crêté (='crested triton'); Triton à crête (='triton with crest').

5 Key Characters:
  • large (up to 18 cm long).
  • males have a serrated crest along their back during the breeding season (spring).
  • largely aquatic in spring and summer, terrestrial in autumn and winter.
  • black or dark brown.
  • warty.


Habitat: Large deep sunny ponds with lots of vegetation. They don't tolerate the presence of fish.

Active Period: Nocturnal. Females lay their eggs in spring, individually on the leaves of submerged aquatic vegetation, carefully folding the leaf over to protect the egg (looking for submerged leaves of plants such as water forget-me-not that have had their tip folded over is a very good way to determine if you have newts present or not).

Status: Protected. It is an offence to kill, injure, capture, disturb or sell the species or to damage or destroy their habitat (this applies to all stages of their life cycle). Very sensitive to pollution and changes in their environment. Has become increasingly rare over the past 30 years, due to agricultural consolidation, lowland urbanisation, road building, water pollution, the lowering of the water table, as well as the filling in of ponds and the creation of artificial ponds for fishing. Populations are often unsuccessfully relocated as a result of environmental mitigation programmes associated with development projects. The protesters against the proposed new Nantes airport have adopted the species as their emblem, because it occupies the threatened traditional bocage pasture and its associated steep grassy banks and stock watering places.

Photographed by Loire Valley Nature:

A Great Crested Newt that has fallen into a cellar and become trapped. It is emaciated due to lack of food.
The trapped newt turned over to show its orange belly. It is being handled by someone with a licence to do so (and anyway, in this situation where the newt is in danger, you can rescue them without breaking the law, so long as you release them in a suitable place as soon as possible). There is an Agile Frog in the background, also trapped.

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