Newts are amphibians, which means they're at home on dry land and in water. They hibernate during winter and will wake up, sometimes as early as January and make their way to a pond to find a mate.
The newts of Risley Moss
Did you know that there are only three types of newt found in Britain? At Risley Moss, we have two of them - the smooth newt and the great crested newt!
Great crested newts have full legal protection due to their declining numbers, due in the main to habitat loss. However, they're actually quite numerous in the north-west.
Males will generally wake up first, and in springtime, they'll grow an impressive frilly crest along their backs.
Both the male and female great crested newt have a bright orange belly with black spots.
The smooth newt is much smaller than the great crested newt, but like great crested male, the smooth newt male will also sport a small crest along his back in the breeding season.
After mating female great crested newt will lay between 100 and 300 eggs, each one carefully wrapped up using her back feet in an aquatic leaf.
When born, the newt larvae have feathery gills so they can breathe in the water. They are voracious eaters! Once they've fully grown, usually late summer, they leave the pond after metamorphosis, looking like small adult newts.
At the culmination of the breeding season, usually around the end of June, the adult newts leave the pond and return to their favourite terrestrial habitats. The male will reabsorb his breeding crest.