The Great Crested Newt is the largest species of lizard in the United Kingdom growing up to 18cm as an adult. In Europe and Britain the Great Crested Newt has declined in numbers over the last 100 years this has been mainly due to the loss if it’s natural habitat. So the Great Crested Newt is protected by law nationally in Britain and internationally in Europe. They are protected under regulation 39 of the Conservation (Natural Habitats, &c.) (Amendment) Regulations 2007
And section 9 of The Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981.
Anyone who is found guilty of any of the offences under the above two acts is liable to a fine of up to £5000 also a custodial sentence of up to six months instead of or as well of. If you have never seen a great crested newt here is a short description, they are almost black in colour with small speckles of white and their bellies are orange or yellow. The males also have a jagged crest along the back and tail during the spring and a silver strip along the bottom edge; females have an orange strip along the bottom edge. They are both very ‘wart’ like in appearance too.
The Great Crested Newt will hibernate from late autumn until spring although the time spent in hibernation can vary as the weather conditions vary in different parts of the country. Their natural habitat when dispersing from breeding pools are ditches and hedgerows. They are mainly nocturnal and spend the daylight hours hiding in places like log piles and under rocks. The Great Crested Newt will hibernate in underground crevices that are free from frost during the winter months.
Breeding takes place during April and May and an elaborate courtship will ensue by the male newts. Female newts lay hundreds of eggs on the leaves of pond plants and each egg is covered in the pond plant to protect them. It is also illegal to disturb or damage any Great Crested Newt eggs that you may come across in a pond as the eggs are also protected by law.
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