We will have hopefully seen activity from our common frogs and our common toads by this point, but by April we can look forward to seeing more of our newts. Palmate newts can often be seen in March / April with the highest activity levels from late afternoon to midnight. Their active state in a pond correlates beneficially with the presence of frogspawn – an important food source for palmate newts who can extract the embryo from the spawn. Courtship and displaying between males and females will begin by this time. Palmate newt males have been observed displaying to smooth newt females – however female newts do not respond to the incorrect frequency of tail fans from the male, with palmate newt males fanning roughly twice as fast as smooth newts.
Smooth newts will be moving towards the water by March / April mostly at night and especially after periods of rainfall. They will be at their highest numbers in the pond by April / May. Female smooth newts judge males by the height and length of their crest, which takes more food intake to develop. Females will mate with several males over the course of the season but have been observed becoming more selective in a partner as the season progresses, choosing males with better crests.