Photos left to right: Great Crested Newt female, Great Crested Newt male underside, Great Crested Newt male
Photos left to right: Great Crested Newt male, Great Crested Newt male and female, Great Crested Newt male
So why the Great Crested Newt?
It's all down to global warming! When the ice left Britain at the end of the last ice age there was a land bridge between Britain and Europe. The species of amphibians which lived in North France and Belgium were first across the land bridge following the retreating ice occupying a land full of melt-water ponds. Seven species made it across the land bridge before it broke and these seven species had a whole large island to colonise for their own. Back in Northern France and Belgium global warming allowed other species to move north from warmer climes and those seven species found they had to struggle with the competition from these incoming species. But in Britain their relatives spread and multiplied. Thus in Britain we have a large concentration of Great Crested Newts, a species that is supposedly rare in continental Europe.
The Great Crested Newt is very threatened in the UK. It is certainly more vulnerable to environmental change than the other newt species. It occupies a smaller range of pond habitats than the other species, and it has lower populations using each pond. Great Crested Newt larvae are less secretive, spending time in open water where they can be vulnerable to predators. The smaller Newts can easily inhabit dense marshes where they are less vulnerable. There has been a massive decline in Newt breeding sites since 1945. This continues to this day, especially due to unregulated agricultural works which illegally destroy many Great Crested Newt ponds each year. The fact that today so many developments are affected by Great Crested Newts is absolute proof that without the protection the species would be wiped out or suffer greatly at all those development sites.
Photos left to right: Great Crested Newt male, Great Crested Newt female above male, Great Crested Newt female