Some regard newts as a separate group of creature to salamanders, others regard newts as a type of salamander. There are many countries in the world that have both ‘newts’ and ‘salamanders’ living there.
We have three species of native newts: the Palmate, the Smooth Newt (also called the Common Newt ) and the Great Crested Newt which is the largest and rarest newt in England.
Newts are tailed amphibians with long slender bodies and four small legs. They are often mistaken for small land lizards and some people describe them as water lizards. The most interesting fact about the newt is that it lives a triple life. It is born in water and, unlike tadpoles of frogs and toads, its gills are feathery and its body shape is longer and thinner compared to the tadpoles of frogs and toads.
A newt lives in water for a few months before it loses its gills. It then lives on land for two to three years. In this middle stage of its life it is called an ‘eft’. Finally in adulthood it returns to the water to breed and to live out the remainder of its life which may be a long one. One Great Crested Newt is reported to have lived in captivity for 29 years.