I was moving a bag of chipping the other day and noticed a newt underneath, where the bag had been. I moved the bag carefully and found two more, smaller newts as well.
The Common Newt or Smooth Newt (Triturus vulgaris) is the most common of the three newt species found in the UK. They can live up to 20 years although the average life span is 6 years. There are quite small animals with a length of 7-11cm. Males are slightly larger than females.
Outside the breeding season, they can be found in deciduous woodland, wet heathland, bogs, marshes, gardens, parks and farmland. When they are breeding they prefer standing water with plenty of weeds, such as lake margins, ponds and ditches.
This one is probably coming up to its first birthday
They are nocturnal and spend the day hiding under large stones or compost heaps (or bags of wood chippings). They hibernate in the winter, emerging in February or March and head back to the breeding sites. On land they feed on insects, worms and slugs by projecting their tongues to catch prey. In water they rely on their minute teeth to grab onto the prey of shrimps, water lice, insect larvae, water snails and frog tadpoles.They are free-swimming and hunt for prey near the surface of the water. Newt 'tadpoles' feed on aquatic invertebrates and crustaceans. It takes three years for them to become mature adults and as they grow smooth newts shed their skin once a week.
Although they are protected in Britain under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, their numbers continue to decline across Europe. They are vulnerable to urbanisation, agricultural change and pollution of their habitat.
I'm only running my actinic trap at the moment, as I am having trouble with the electrics on my MV light trap. Despite it being cold and clear last night I caught a few more moths, 9 Hebrew Characters, 6 common Quakers, 3 early Greys and two each of Clouded Drabs and March Moths.
Despite it being the 31st March (the date when the trap was started) the March Moths were my first of the year, so they onl just got into their eponymous month. The females are wingless and climb up the trunks of trees and then use their pheromones to attract males.