Written by Ellia Cobb, Transforming a Lives Trainee
During early spring, when the weather starts to warm up male newts display a courtship dance to the females where he will fan, whip, and wave his tail to attract the female. If he is successful, the female will allow him to fertilize her eggs and begin laying them. Each egg is laid individually on the underside of a leaf on the surface of a pond, the leaf is then folded over the egg to protect it. The eggs take 2-3 weeks to fully develop and hatch into larvae.
The newt larvae will stay in the pond until they have developed and undergone metamorphosis, during which the larvae will develop legs and lungs which allow them to breathe and live on land. Before this stage the larvae have feathered external gills like those of an axolotl which are then absorbed during metamorphosis. Once this is complete, they will leave the water to live terrestrially. At this stage they are juveniles.
On land, juveniles will hunt for insects, worms and slugs and spend most of their time hidden in warm, damp places (underneath logs, rocks, and scrub) during the summer. From October the newts will brumate (taking advantage of warmer winter days to forage), they don’t reach sexual maturity until 2-4 years old and can live a few more years once matured.
Once the newts are mature and the weather starts to warm up again, during early spring, the newts will take to the pond in search of a mate to then continue the cycle all over again.