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Female Crested Newt

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Crested Newt Male 450w7591

Male Crested Newt

Great Crested Newt (Triturus Cristtatus)

Female Crested Newt & Eggs

I have seen Crested newts swimming in small ponds around a local quarry and in small ditches and filmed the dry black adults later in the summer a long way from water under large flat rocks, which I carefully replaced back, you would not believe it was the same large handsome newt.

As a young boy my father and I collected Crested Newts, I reared them in fish tanks and enjoyed watching the courtship behaviour and the females laying eggs. We would release the baby newts and adults back into the wild. They were often found hiding inside half a tractor tyre buried in a small pond, which was probably safer than the large pond nearby. Sadly many of the local places I found wildlife has now been built on like the large pond near where I found Crested Newts. The pond was filled in as the area was going to be developed into a large industrial site, I remember my father was very angry because no fishing club or wildlife rescue organisation had been warned. My father and other keen fishermen arrived with landing nets to rescue as many fish as they could which were trapped in small pockets of water in the mud, he collected dozens of large fish like perch, keeping them in our bath, later he returned the fish to a local pond.

Amphibians trapped in drains

Male Crested Newt

After the pond was filled in a long road was built, when sitting on the kerb with friends we noticed completely by accident dozens of skinny frogs, toads and newts trapped at the bottom of the road drains. The poor things were nothing more than living skeletons; they had fallen into the drains searching for their pond something generations had been doing for hundreds of years. We thought It was disgusting that an area so rich in wildlife could be built on with no care for the animals that lived there, and it was the first time as kids we realised the impact of building development had on wildlife. I will never forget the eyes of the frogs and toads looking up at us through the gaps of the drain covers, many had suffered horribly, starving to death in their prison cells as there was no escape. We were only kids but we came up with many ideas on how to rescue these helpless creatures. We could open some drains so trusted friends held onto our legs so we could reach them, we also used small nets, the trapped amphibians were so hungry they would try and eat anything that was lowered so hooks on a line was also used, it was cruel to be kind. We could only save a few newts, but we rescued bucket loads of frogs and toads, working up and down the road. We fed the rescued animals with worms and released them into a local marshy pond near our homes, where frogs breed every year, which I am pleased to say has now been saved as a nature reserve.

In trouble with the Police saving Crested Newts.

Years later when I was 17, I visited the site where I found crested newts as a young boy, there was only one pond left surrounded in clay, with no shrubs for protection and I was surprised to see a few crested newts in the pond. It was surrounded by the new industrial site still being built as the small pond already had bulldozer tracks going through it and was out in the open. I thought it would be a good idea to rescue the remaining crested newts and relocate them, so I returned with a net, well the foreman turned up and told me I was on private land and eventually phoned the police. The police turned up with sirens blaring and lights flashing, all ridiculous probably because they had nothing better to do, they cautioned me took my name and address told me to leave or they will arrest me. The pond was eventually filled in with a bulldozer. I like to think these days with the protection Crested Newts have it would be the foreman arrested, bloody jobsworth.

The Great Crested Newt is now an endangered species and protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981..

Andy Newman Images©