Palmate newt

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


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


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.


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.