Smooth Newt

The smooth newt or the common newt is a type of amphibian that is mostly found in the UK and various other parts of Europe. It is one of the most widely spotted species of newt.

Smooth Newt

Smooth Newt

 

Subspecies of Smooth Newt

The smooth newt has got 7 main subspecies that are listed below:

  • vulgaris graecus
  • vulgaris ampelensis
  • vulgaris lantzi
  • vulgaris Vulgaris
  • vulgaris kosswigi
  • vulgaris schmidtlerorum
  • vulgaris meridionalis

Description of Smooth Newt

Here is a brief description of the smooth newts.

Length: The smooth newts have a length that ranges between 8 cm and 11 cm.

Smooth Newt description

Smooth Newt description

Skin: The bodies of these newts are covered by a nice and smooth skin surface.

Color: Smooth newts have got an olive green or light brown colored skin that is covered with prominent dark spots that can be seen on their throats. Both males and females have got orange colored bellies that are covered with clear black spots.

Sexual dimorphism: The females are typically shorter than males. The females also have a paler body color and this makes it possible to identify them quickly.

Distribution of Smooth Newt

Common Newts are found in all parts of Europe like Britain, Ireland, and Austria.

Smooth Newt distribution

Smooth Newt distribution

They are not found in southern Italy, Southern France, and the Iberian Peninsula. They can also be spotted along Russia and West Asia.

Habitat of Smooth Newt

These newts mostly spend their time in deciduous woodlands, parks, swamps, wet moorlands, gardens, farmlands and marshy areas during the non-breeding seasons.

Smooth Newt habitat

Smooth Newt habitat

Since pollution in various other water bodies has been increasing over some time, these days the smooth newts mostly can be found in the garden ponds. They choose stagnant water bodies with plenty of weeds when they are looking to breed.

Behaviour of Smooth Newt

These are the common behavioural traits of the smooth newts.

  • They are predominantly nocturnal and prefer to come out during the night.
  • They prefer to conceal themselves in manure or under huge rocks so that they cannot be spotted easily.
  • These newts frequently shed their skin.
  • While in the water these newts use their teeth to hunt for food.
  • On land, the newts make use of their tongues to catch preys.

Diet of Smooth Newt

When in water, the smooth newts mainly consume water snails, tadpoles, shrimps and water lice. Since most of the food items that they eat are readily available, they do not have to work hard to catch their prey. Newt larvae mostly eat invertebrates and crustaceans that live in water. When on land, they eat different types of insects, worms, and slugs.

Mating Season of Smooth Newt

The mating season lasts between the months of March and May.

Reproduction of Smooth Newt

The smooth newts reach sexual maturity by the time they are 3 years of age. During the reproducing season, the males grow a jagged top section from the head to the tail.

Smooth newt Reproduction

Smooth newt Reproduction

The spots in their bodies become more prominent and their body color also takes on a dark hue. The males also develop flaps on their toes which make it easy to identify them.

Smooth newts mostly choose stagnant water bodies having high pH content along with plenty of vegetation for their breeding purposes. The males make use of signals to attract females. These movements and gestures include slapping of their tails as well as vibrating them steadily. The mating activity takes place on land. Once the initial courtship takes place, the males deliver the sperm capsule which is then absorbed by a female into her cloaca or reproductive opening. Fertilization takes place inside the body of the females. Following this, females typically lay around 300 to 400 eggs in a single breeding season.

The females mostly lay up to around 12 eggs on a single day. They use the leaves of the water plants to lay the eggs and then hide them. The eggs are always cream colored and about 1.5 mm in overall size. They hatch about 15-20 days later and produce larvae that eventually develop feathery grills along with forelimbs. The forelimbs come out prior to the hind limbs.

Lifespan of Smooth Newt

Smooth newts typically live for about 5-6 years. However, in some cases, they have even been found to live for as long as 20 years.

Hibernation of Smooth Newt

From the month of November to March, the smooth newts undergo hibernation and come out only when the ambient temperature is perfect for their breeding purposes. They strictly avoid vegetation during hibernation and only stay under the soil surface. They only prefer moist weather conditions when it comes to breeding.

Adaptation of Smooth Newt

The most effective adaptation feature that these newts have is their agile tails that are apt for movement in the water. These newts are excellent swimmers and their tail works like a paddle which allows them to move quickly in water.

Predators of Smooth Newt

The smooth newts are mostly preyed on by various amphibians, fishes, aquatic creatures, grass snakes and birds. The fishes usually consume the smooth newt tadpoles.

Conservation Smooth of Smooth Newt

The smooth newt is listed under the category of “Least Concern” by the IUCN. The Wildlife and Countryside Act of UK as dawn in 1981 makes it illegal to trade in these newts. Ireland has also implemented laws that prohibit capturing or killing of the smooth newts.

Newts as Pets of Smooth Newt

A lot of people love to keep these smooth newts as pets. They also make very interesting and low maintenance pets. Here are some of the things that you need to keep in mind if you are planning to pet these newts.

Housing: Make sure that you arrange for a semi-aquatic environment since they love to live both on land and water. It is always a good idea to have a large plastic or glass tank as their home that is further furnished with a soil substrate, moss, and logs so that they can hibernate easily. Move the newts to a perfectly moist area during the breeding season.

Feeding: Insects, mollusks, snails and various other aquatic creatures make up the bulk of their diet during their life as pets.

Care: Maintain the correct environment and temperature for these smooth newts to thrive.

Interesting facts of Smooth Newt

Here are some of the unique facts that are associated with the smooth newts.

  • It is the only species of newt that is found in Ireland.
  • These newts love to stay on land which is quite unlike the other newt species.
  • They usually get rather agitated if they notice the other newts eating.
  • The bodies of these newts are quite smooth textured.
  • In many cases, they are mistaken by others like lizards.
  • They always produce a sharp ‘popping’ sound any time they choose to rise above the surface of the water.
  • They shed their skins rather frequently.

Pictures of Smooth Newt

Smooth newt Reproduction

Smooth newt Reproduction

Smooth Newt habitat

Smooth Newt habitat

Smooth Newt

Smooth Newt

Smooth Newt description

Smooth Newt description

Check out some of these pictures of smooth newts.

 

Smooth Newt Video


References

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