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Hibernating under a Wheelie Bin?

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Peter Vaughan View Drop Down
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Joined: 21 Mar 2005
Location: United Kingdom
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    Posted: 28 Oct 2006 at 5:47pm

I was at my childhood home on Wirral earlier this week.  The "lizards" I used to find as a young boy under rocks and paving stones - actually Smooth newts - have manged to survive the adjacent farmland being converted into sub-urban housing, presumably persisting in garden pools and the few, now sadly degraded ponds that were not filled in.  I remember as a child we'd see them go into a "stunned" state if handled too roughly - as I am afraid young boys are wont to do. An analogue of the Grass Snake's playing-dead response?

Anyway on moving a Wheelie Bin to put it out for its weekly collection on Monday this week, I found a small Smooth Newt lying still on its side on the paving stone underneath.  Assuming that it had been unwittingly squashed during the move I picked it to examine.  It was decidedly cold to the touch but after a minute or so in my hand it started to move - at first very gradually, and then it was active and on its feet.  It could not stay where I'd found it and so I released it into some suitable cover the other side of the garden.  Whether it had picked an unsuitable hiberantion spot, or just been active under the bin and "played dead" when disturbed I don't know.  But I have noticed under items on the fora about newts turning up inside houses etc recently, so perhaps they are doing so in search of a spot for the winter?

Peter   

Peter Vaughan
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