The smooth newt is the most widespread newt in the UK; they are a common garden species and can often be found breeding in garden ponds. They look very similar to palmate newts, but can be distinguished by their spotted throat and the male’s subtle, wavy crest.
By early October smooth newts have left their breeding ponds and moved onto land. They will now eat as much as they can, foraging for invertebrates such as insects, slugs and worms to build up their winter reserves. In between foraging they can be found sheltering in safe spots such as under wood piles or rocks.
By mid-late October smooth newts will begin to overwinter. They will choose warm, sheltered overwintering sites such as hibernacula or compost heaps, or simply bury themselves into the mud in a quiet area. They will remain dormant in this spot for most of the winter, occasionally coming out to forage on milder days. As they have these short periods of activity, this isn’t strictly classed as hibernation, but is known instead as brumation.