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Hot Rocks

Printed From: Reptiles and Amphibians of the UK
Category: Herpetofauna Native to the UK
Forum Name: Palmate Newt
Forum Description: Forum for all issues concerning Triturus helveticus
Printed Date: 27 Sep 2020 at 8:25am
Software Version: Web Wiz Forums 11.06 -

Topic: Hot Rocks
Posted By: Noodles
Subject: Hot Rocks
Date 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.

Posted By: Donny
Date 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.

Posted By: GemmaJF
Date 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.

Posted By: liamrussell
Date Posted: 13 Oct 2012 at 11:29am
Most Pelophylax species will bask in direct sunlight, as will Hyla

Posted By: Suzy
Date 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.


Posted By: Noodles
Date 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.

Posted By: GemmaJF
Date 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?

Posted By: Liz Heard
Date 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!

Posted By: will
Date 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 !

Posted By: GemmaJF
Date 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.

Posted By: Liz Heard
Date Posted: 16 Oct 2012 at 8:43pm
Bleedin' heck!

thats exactly what Kevb said when i told him about it!
and to think i considered going back indoors for the camera and dismissed the idea, thinking my sighting wasnt that special!

it wasnt in a town but in a small copse in the grounds of a country hotel near Bury SE.

Posted By: GemmaJF
Date Posted: 16 Oct 2012 at 9:08pm
It's all special Ben, but your eye witness account is fascinating in itself. Shame about the picture as that would have been nice, but it happens to us all.

Go drink a couple of pints of Abbot Ale down at the Nutshell in Bury St Eds, then you'lll feel better about it! Wink

Posted By: Liz Heard
Date Posted: 16 Oct 2012 at 10:07pm
been there, done EXACTLY that already x3 (visits that is, not pints per visit!)

what a perfect pub the smallest pub in Britain is! you cant go in there and not talk to strangers - its impossible/fabulous.

the Bury people, ive spent time with so far, have been so friendly and welcoming.
i had a whale in the Nutshell.

previously sampled the first of these herpy real ales bottled but still trying to track all 3 down on draught!

"Baldrick, have you been eating dung again?":

The Puritan's purely theoretical tipple:

i previously commented on the forum that there werent any Essex breweries.
theyve won awards!

from Mauldon to MALDON:

never sampled any of those either.

local (to me) recommended breweries:


hard to beat!

Posted By: Noodles
Date Posted: 25 Oct 2012 at 11:10am
What interesting observations Ben, i particularly liked the golden newt and the Nutshell pub..................................oh and your GCN encounter was alright i suppose LOL  

Posted By: Liz Heard
Date Posted: 25 Oct 2012 at 6:22pm

getting back to your original post about nocturnal 'basking', i had a scoot around the garden last night @ around 1100 and saw 15 frogs.
some in the pond, some hunting and others peering out cautiously from refugia.

having taken a few shots i headed back home, then, beneath the moonlit sky, i picked out this animal with my torch.

amateur astrologist or did it spot a UFO?

Posted By: Noodles
Date Posted: 26 Oct 2012 at 10:34am
So they still stare at planes in your neck of the woods do they Ben

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