Great Crested Newt

Triturus cristatus

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