Smooth newt

Smooth newt

©Philip Precey

Smooth newt

Scientific name: Lissotriton vulgaris
You are likely to spot the smooth newt in your garden or local pond. It breeds in water in summer and spends the rest of the year in grassland and woodland, hibernating over winter.

Species information


Length: 7-11cm
Average lifespan: 6 years

Conservation status

Protected in the UK under the Wildlife and Countryside Act, 1981.

When to see

March to October


Newts are amphibians, breeding in ponds during the spring and spending most of the rest of the year feeding on invertebrates in woodland, hedgerows, marshes and tussocky grassland. They hibernate underground, among tree roots and in old walls. The smooth newt is also known as the 'common newt' and is the species you are most likely to find in your garden pond.

How to identify

The smooth newt is grey-brown, with an orange belly and neat black spots all over. In the breeding season, males have a smooth crest running the full length of their body and tail.


Found throughout the country, except for parts of western Scotland, the west of Wales, the Isle of Man, the Channel Islands and the Isles of Scilly.

Did you know?

Smooth newts eat insects, caterpillars, worms and slugs while on land, and crustaceans, molluscs and tadpoles when in the water. They are most active during the night.