Print Page | Close Window

New Forest Lizard / Newt

Printed From: Reptiles and Amphibians of the UK
Category: General
Forum Name: What is it?
Forum Description: Seen something in the wild and wondering what it is? This is the place to ask
Printed Date: 29 Feb 2020 at 12:14pm
Software Version: Web Wiz Forums 11.06 -

Topic: New Forest Lizard / Newt
Posted By: marshalld
Subject: New Forest Lizard / Newt
Date Posted: 05 Apr 2004 at 10:10am


I dont know anything about lizards newts etc.

Yesterday, my 4yo son found a lizard/newt under a rotting branch amongst the leaf fall in the middle of an New Forest enclosure (not near rivers/ponds) but probably about 100 yards far from the nearest drainage ditch which usually are sodden if not actually containing standing water.

To me the, creature looked extremely lizard like. It was no more than 8cm tall from head to tail tip. The skin was however smooth rather than scaly. The most distinguishing feature (which I though would make identification a doddle) was a thin yellow line running down the back. All the other features were lizard-like - no crests, or tails like the newts I remeber from childhood.

It was however extremely easy to catch (playing dead) which made me think it was some kind of one-year old lizard recent emerging from hibernation.

Any help much appreciated.


Posted By: Colin Dunlop
Date Posted: 05 Apr 2004 at 11:11am

Did you notice if the animal had an orange or red belly?

here are a couple of links to pictures... - - -

sounds a bit like  a female newt

Posted By: administrator
Date Posted: 05 Apr 2004 at 11:25am

From behaviour, description of skin and habitat I'm sure it was a newt.

Female newts do not develop crests, only breeding males, so I'm sure it was a female or immature newt.

Just a guess, but I would think it was a Smooth Newt, I have seen a number of females with a very feint yellowy orange stripe. Hopefully someone who is familiar with the New Forest will confirm the species most likely to be found there.

Posted By: marshalld
Date Posted: 05 Apr 2004 at 11:38am

Thanks for the replies.

I will check with my wife about the orange belly as I cant remember. With regard to pictures posted, it looked much more like the 3rd one than the 2nd. The skin appearance and touch i.e. smooth/velety was very much like the 1st picture. I guess that makes it a newt!

The yellow line was quite distinctive and well defined - only a mm wide but "Microsoft Emotion" yellow!!

Posted By: calumma
Date Posted: 05 Apr 2004 at 5:42pm
If the line continues down to the tail it is a palmate newt, if the line disappears along the back it's a smooth.

Lee Brady

Kent Herpetofauna Recorder | Independent Ecological Consultant - Email

Posted By: marshalld
Date Posted: 06 Apr 2004 at 9:44am

Sorry to mislead you a bit - my colour blindness is worse than I thought.

Apparently the stripe was more orangy than yellow. The rest of the new was green/black with the exception of an orange underbelly.

It felt smooth to the touch - does this make it a Smooth Newt?

Posted By: administrator
Date Posted: 06 Apr 2004 at 12:15pm

'It felt smooth to the touch - does this make it a Smooth Newt?'

Maybe! We have 3 native species of Newt the UK, Smooth, Palmate and Great Crested.

The trouble is Smooth and Palmate females are difficult to tell apart in the field even by those with a lot of experience. They both have smooth soft velvety skin and look almost the same.

The Great Crested is a fairly large beasty with warty skin so I'm guessing it wasn't one of those.

RAUK ID pages are: - - -

I would mention that the picture of the female palmate newt has been questioned by a leading expert in the field, who thought it looked more typical of a Smooth Newt... you see the problem

Posted By: calumma
Date Posted: 06 Apr 2004 at 6:00pm
Gemma, yes it does look like a female smooth newt. However, these species can look very similar and I would only be confident of identifying small newt female photos by looking at throat patterns. I have several photos that may help here if you would like to add them to the id pages.

Lee Brady

Kent Herpetofauna Recorder | Independent Ecological Consultant - Email

Posted By: administrator
Date Posted: 06 Apr 2004 at 6:42pm
That would be great I couldn't get many good smooth and palmate newt pictures when I did the ID page. It seems like the ID pages graphics might be in for a serious bit of editing with the way that RAUK is eating it's bandwidth allowance anyway!

Print Page | Close Window

Forum Software by Web Wiz Forums® version 11.06 -
Copyright ©2001-2016 Web Wiz Ltd. -