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Noodles View Drop Down
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    Posted: 10 Oct 2012 at 12:44pm
This might be of interest to some; whilst out doing night work in upland mid Wales last night i came across a 3 ft high x 10 ft wide hummock of acid grassland in a valley mire, adjacent to a small stream. The hump was pocked with rabbit burrows and thinking i might find evidence of an otter holt i shone my torch about looking for spraints. 

Instead of spraints I counted 6 palmate newts of varying ages including two juveniles. Two newts were clearly emerging from one burrow and i'm certain the others's had also. The funny thing was that five of the six newts were sitting on small flat stones, presumably taking the heat. This was about one hour after sunset.


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Donny View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Donny Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 Oct 2012 at 6:05am
Interesting.  I pulled some plastic sacking out of a pond on a sunny day in January and found 3 male Palmates inside  - the sack had been in direct sunlight and the water inside was warmer.
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GemmaJF View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote GemmaJF Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 Oct 2012 at 10:34am
I've seen literally dozens of newts under onduline felts placed in shallows and also in a rotting newspaper in shallows in the past, both observations suggesting amphibians will seek artificial heat sources when they can. I think generally 'basking' or at least seeking external heat by native amphibians is rarely mentioned in the literature but they will do it when given the chance. Many years ago when I lived in Suffolk the top of our garden was a rough grassland area. In later summer early autumn one could find common frogs literally 'basking' in the weak sunlight. 

Torching for terrestrial newts on warmer damp evenings after dark at this time of year can be very productive.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote liamrussell Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 Oct 2012 at 11:29am
Most Pelophylax species will bask in direct sunlight, as will Hyla
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Suzy Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 Oct 2012 at 12:24pm
I have found toads, and occasionally frogs, basking under black plastic in the heat of summer (not this one!). They would certainly have got very hot.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Noodles Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 Oct 2012 at 9:30am
A friend of mine tells of a common frog that regularly basks on the tread of his rear doorstep prior to sunset and into the evening. Day or night, heat regulation of the aforementioned kind (under/on things etc) is to be expected in all amphibians one would assume. I just found this interesting because of the way each animal was stationed about the area, on top of its own little stone. It's not something i'd seen before, although i have seen newts roaming about at night on many occasions. I recorded the particulars at the time; the night was still and heavily overcast, 90% humidity and borderline cold at 8 degrees. One hour post sunset.
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GemmaJF View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote GemmaJF Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 Oct 2012 at 5:07pm
8 degrees is pretty cool, I wonder if these newts didn't have their 'hot rocks' whether they would have been out and about at all?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Liz Heard Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16 Oct 2012 at 2:08pm
interesting observation Noods. thanks for sharing.

it was quite cold at 2300hrs but i saw all 3 species of newt foraging in a Suffolk garden last night - including an adult fem GCN with a juv Smoothie stuffed in its jaws!

Edited by ben rigsby - 16 Oct 2012 at 2:13pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote will Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16 Oct 2012 at 5:38pm
'including an adult fem GCN with a juv Smoothie stuffed in its jaws!' - Ben, that's amazing - I have never heard of GCN predating smaller newts on land, though of course it happens from time to time underwater where they are more driven by smell and less choosy about what they will eat (eg cat food, dried tubifex etc).  I wish I'd seen that !
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote GemmaJF Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16 Oct 2012 at 6:29pm
Brilliant Ben something I haven't witnessed either. It's fair to say most amphibians will eat anything that moves that fits in their mouths, but direct evidence of GCN predating small newt species on land is fascinating. Goes a long way to explain why once GCN are in town very little else is likely to be found.
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