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  • Young newts spotted in our tiny pond

    Miranda Hodgson on 11 Jul 2013 at 01:13 PM

    The last time I wrote, two smooth newts (Lissotriton vulgaris) had recently arrived in the tiny pond in the garden and were making themselves at home. We’d gone out to get some plants and I’d begged some weed and water from a nearby pond.

    We kept an eye on the pond, but didn’t see much of the newts; frequently all we saw was a tail disappearing into the weeds. At least it showed they were still there, but we wanted to see more. Then, one day, we had a treat. Looking into the water, we saw one of the newts behaving oddly. First it would thrash its tail about, as if trying to scratch its belly and then it seemed to do a little dance, jigging its feet up and down. There was a pause and then the same sequence of movements was carried out. It was the male newt’s mating dance, carried out to draw the female. The female suitably attracted, the male then deposits a capsule containing sperm which the female picks up in her cloaca, drawing it into herself where fertilisation takes place. A few days later, she will start laying eggs, which are carefully hidden in rolled up leaves. All being well, the eggs hatch out within two to three weeks.