Palmate newt

©Philip Precey

Close-up of palmate newt's head

©Philip Precey

Palmate newt

Scientific name: Lissotriton helveticus
The palmate newt looks similar to the Smooth Newt, but favours shallow pools on acidic soils like heathlands. During the breeding season, males grow distinctive black webbing on their hind feet.

Species information

Statistics

Length: 7-9cm Average Lifespan: up to 10 years

Conservation status

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

When to see

March to October

About

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 palmate newt is very similar in appearance to the smooth newt, but prefers shallow pools on acidic soils. As such, it is more likely to be found in upland areas and on heaths and moorlands than other newt species.

How to identify

Our smallest newt, the palmate newt is peachy-yellow underneath, with a few spots on the belly, but none on the throat. In the breeding season, males develop black webs on their hind feet and have a thin filament at the end of their tail. Females are difficult to distinguish from female smooth newts.

Distribution

A widespread species, found throughout the country, except for the Scottish Islands, the Isle of Man the Isles of Scilly, Northern Ireland and most of the Channel Islands.

Did you know?

The palmate newt is named after the black webbing which develops on the male's back feet during the breeding season - something other newts do not have.

How people can help

The Wildlife Trusts work closely with farmers, landowners and planners to ensure that our wildlife is protected and to promote wildlife-friendly practices. By working together, we can create Living Landscapes: networks of habitats stretching across town and country that allow wildlife to move about freely and people to enjoy the benefits of nature. Support this greener vision for the future by joining your local Wildlife Trust.