The largest of our native newts, the Great Crested Newt is strictly protected under European legislation. Kent has good populations of this species and people are often confused as to why the animal receives such a high level of protection. In fact the species is known to be in decline and the rate of decline is greater than that observed in the other widespread native amphibians.
The presence of fish in a pond will have a detrimental impact on Great Crested Newt larva. Nektonic (habitual swimmers) by nature, the larva of great crested newts tend to float around in open water making them more susceptible to fish predation than the two smaller native newt species.
People sometimes confuse the Great Crested Newt with the Smooth Newt. The confusion stems from the fact that male Smooth Newts also develop a crest in the breeding season. The Great Crested Newt is significantly larger than the Smooth Newt and has warty rather than velvety skin. Distinct white speckles are usually present on the flanks of Great Crested Newts.
Refer to our recording section for more information on the identification of newt species and their eggs and larva.
Due to the strict European legislation it is an offence to disturb Great Crested Newts in any way without a licence, this includes torch surveys and handling.
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Distribution in Kent
Other / Similar Species
One of two Small Newt species found in the county the Smooth or Common newt is found throughout most of Kent.
Interestingly, in Kent the distribution of the Palmate Newt is largely associated with historic ancient woodland sites.
One of two small newt species found in the county the Smooth or Common Newt is found throughout most of Kent. Along with the Common Frog they will frequently colonise small garden ponds.View Profile
Also known as the Common' Lizard, the Viviparous Lizard is better described as locally abundant.
Kent can still boast a number of sites where Viviparous Lizards occur in high numbers.