Species Focus

Great crested newt

(Triturus cristatus)

Great crested newt

Great crested newts are a focus species for the former golf course habitat area at Waterbeach.

Discover: Great crested newt

Great crested newts are amphibians that breed in ponds during the spring and spend the rest of the year foraging for invertebrates such as insects, slugs, snails, spiders etc in rough grassland, scrub and woodland.

When in the water they appear more brown in colour, with males transforming into dinosaur-like creatures, displaying a jagged crest along their body and a white flashy stripe along their tail.

  • Conservation status: The UK population of these newts is of international importance. Protected in the UK under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981; Priority Species under the UK Post-2010 Biodiversity Framework; Listed as a European Protected Species under Annex IV of the European Habitats Directive.
  • Measurements: Length: up to 17 cm.

On land, newts appear black and warty with an orange belly and white spotted flanks.  Individual great crested newts have belly patterns as unique as a fingerprint.

A great crested newt at Waterbeach Barracks

Can you spot: Look out for great crested newts between March and October, especially earlier in the season after sunset when they may be seen performing their courtship dances in their ponds.

Did you know: Male newts use their distinctive crests to perform an intricate courtship display to attract females, arching their backs and flicking their tails.

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