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Helping the late-blooming newt Efts through winter

Printed From: Reptiles and Amphibians of the UK
Category: General
Forum Name: Wildlife Gardening
Forum Description: For discussion about wildlife (especially amphibian and reptile) gardening
Printed Date: 30 Oct 2020 at 4:30am
Software Version: Web Wiz Forums 11.06 -

Topic: Helping the late-blooming newt Efts through winter
Posted By: Harrison
Subject: Helping the late-blooming newt Efts through winter
Date Posted: 14 Jan 2020 at 5:59am
Hi guys,
I’ve turned into a real smooth newt enthusiast.
I’ve got a couple (4..) wildlife ponds and a young generation of smooth newts having rescued around 20 from a discontinued pond. They seemingly bred prolifically over the summer. However even now in January I notice some efts still in the Gill phase in one of the smaller 270 litre wildlife ponds (plenty of food but also a lot of detritus and leaves in this pond.
. I have read that these late bloomers might not be ‘goners’ and will simply spend the winter in this phase and then catch up in the warmer spring weather but there isn’t a huge amount of reading available on this.

I’m wondering whether: it would be helpful to this new population to catch some of these efts and overwinter then In a frost free greenhouse vivarium (with water and land) topped up until the last frost in late winter/early spring? It sounds fun to do also but Given that the newts need 3 years before breeding age and there wasn’t a huge initial population I want to make sure they get an excellent start.

Any thoughts? Good idea/bad idea ?

Posted By: Caleb
Date Posted: 14 Jan 2020 at 10:45am
It's quite normal for smooth newt larvae to overwinter. They won't metamorphose and leave the water until the weather warms up in spring, there's no need to help them.

It is interesting to rear them, but they need a surprisingly large amount of tiny food (Daphnia is ideal), which may be hard to find at this time of year. They're even harder to feed after they metamorphose...

Posted By: Harrison
Date Posted: 14 Jan 2020 at 1:48pm
Thanks Caleb. I can get daphnia from the fish shop. I tried to start a daphnia population in each pond by buying 30 or so of these in bags. Hard to say if they stuck around. May do a dip with the jar and see. Lots of pond scuds are around though, but as you say, micro food is needed.. thanks for the advice

Posted By: Suzy
Date Posted: 14 Jan 2020 at 7:34pm
I always have plenty of palmate youngsters in my ponds over winter. I think probably anyone with garden ponds and newts will have them, but it's mostly when I look in the ponds at night with a torch that I see them as they come up to the surface and spend time there.


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