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Getting to know your newts

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Paul Deane Paul Deane | 19:08 UK time, Thursday, 7 June 2012

Since the 1970s great crested newts have been declining at alarming rates. The numbers are starting to recover now, but in order to secure their future we need to find out much more about them.

Organisations like Froglife are surveying public areas, but some of the key habitats for these little guys is actually in your back garden. Garden ponds are important for many amphibian species.

We have three native species of newt here in the UK: palmate, smooth and great crested.

So, arm yourselves with this handy ID card, get your wellies on and please take part in the 'Big Newt Count'.

Newt ID Guide

Click for large version

The idea behind the count is to find out more about the type of different habitats that newts use. So you'll need to record details such as the location of your pond, how much vegetation is in it and any other wildlife that use it.

You can download a recording form and report your findings on the FrogLife website.

Please note - you do need a license to survey in ponds that are known to have great crested newts, but it's fine to look in and around other ponds. If you find great crested newts in your garden pond, you will need a licence to do further surveying or if disturbing the animals. You should not attempt to capture them. The best way to find great crested newts is to simply look for them in the pond just around sunset using a torch. You can also find newts in your garden hidden under slabs of concrete or piles of bricks. Please get in touch with Froglife , if you need any more information on licensing and the legal issues around newts.

Other links:
If you're keen to attract more wildlife to your garden, we've made this guide.


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