The Great Easter Newt Hunt -
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Identifying newts and survey hints

We want to know especially about the smooth and palmate newts you see in your garden pond, look for them in the weeds at the edge of your pond, especially in any shallow water. You may also find newts in the open water, where you may be lucky enough to see males displaying to females. On a warm sunny day, you may see newts floating just under the surface of the water. Can you spot more newts during the daytime or at night?

 Identification features for smooth and palmate newts

Male smooth newt showing wavy, continuous crest and spotty body

male smooth newt

Male palmate newt showing tail filament and black hind feet

male palmate newt showing tail filament and black hind feet

Close-up of male palmate newt hind feet

Close up of male palmate newt's black hind foot

Female smooth and palmate newts look very similar – they are plainer in colour than the males and can be hard to tell apart. For this survey, count the total number of female newts you can see!

A female newt

Other amphibians

Great crested newts are rarer than the other species but you might be lucky enough to see them in your pond! Please just tick the box if you see any – they can be easily disturbed so please don’t spend time counting them. They are much larger (up to 15cm) and darker in colour than the others and the males have a jagged (zig-zag) crest. You might also be able to see a white flash on the male’s tail.

great crested newts

As well as newts, frogs and toads could be living in your pond. Tick the boxes if you find them!

Frogs have long, athletic back legs, a smooth, shiny skin and a black eye-mask that includes the ear-drum.

common frog

Toads are less athletic with shorter legs and have a dryer-looking, warty skin.


Find out more about identifying amphibians at
To identify and record other creatures, see our links page!

Survey Hints
- Tell us your name and e-mail address in case we need to ask you about your newt record. We won’t pass on your details to anyone else! Don’t forget to fill in the grid reference or postcode of where the pond is so that we can plot your newt sightings on our results map!

- Submit your results by the end of May so that we can display them in a map on the website!

- Tell us if your pond is small (up to 1 x 1 m), medium (up to 5 x 5 m) or large (bigger than 5 x 5 m); how old it is (in years) and how shady it gets. There are drop-down boxes for this on the on-line form.

- We’d also like to know if your pond has any plants or fish.

- The other information about whether cats use your garden, whether it’s a wildlife garden, whether you use chemicals or not, and how shady your pond is, will help us work out if these things are good or bad for newts.

- You can also add notes about your newt hunt in the box provided!

- You’ll receive a message telling you when your newt record submission is successful! Don’t forget to Tell a Friend if you think they’d like to hunt newts too!