Fun Common Newt Facts For Kids

Joan Agie
Jan 02, 2023 By Joan Agie
Originally Published on Aug 05, 2021
Edited by Luca Demetriou
Fact-checked by Oluwapelumi Iwayemi
Common newt facts like they have black spots on their stomach are interesting.
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Age: 3-18
Read time: 6.0 Min

A common newt or smooth newt is a semi-amphibian, which can be seen dominating the Eurasian landscape. They thrive well both in land and water. There are seven subspecies of common newts.

They are similar to a salamander in some cases. This includes the development of their front legs first. It is an oviparous species, which lays as many as 300 eggs at a time.

A smooth newt is a creature which hibernates. During the months of March, they come out from hibernation, and the month of May is their breeding season. During their time of reproduction, they do not leave the water.

They are also unique in their appearance. Males and females look mostly the same. But the males have a distinct crest along their broad spines.

This crest is absent in the females. This species of newts come under the protection of the wildlife and countryside act of 1981. This act protects them from illegal trade and harmful actions.

You may also check out the fact files on great crested newt and frilled lizard from Kidadl.

Common Newt Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a common newt?

A common newt is a type of newt which has dry skin. It is also well known by the name smooth newt.

What class of animal does a common newt belong to?

Smooth newt (Lissotriton vulgaris), which goes by the name common newt, belongs to the family of Amphibia. It comes under the kingdom of Animalia.

How many common newts are there in the world?

There is no accurate count. But the tag of 'Least Concern', given by IUCN, indicates that the population is stable.

Where does a common newt live?

Common newts, or smooth newts, are usually found in several habitats. This include parks, garden, ponds, bogs, farmlands.

They are amphibians, so they also prefer standing bodies of water which offers them weeds in large quantities to breed. Such places include ponds, ditches, margins of lakes and water bodies, and so on. The preference of a smooth newt is similar to a palmate newt.

What is a common newt's habitat?

Common newt species (smooth Newt) are most commonly found in the Eurasia region. This includes the British Isles, Siberia, the northern parts of Kazakhstan.

Most recently, this species has also been introduced in Australia. Newt species are widespread in the Balkan ranges and also in the drier parts of the Eurasian steppes. Some of them also occupy the Russian landscape.

Who do common newts live with?

Common newts are solitary creatures. A smooth newt prefers to live on their own and can hardly be found in groups. In the breeding season, though, this species can be found in groups.

How long does a common newt live?

The lifespan of a smooth newt or a common newt is usually six years. Some can survive to greater lengths too.

How do they reproduce?

The breeding season of smooth newts or common newts starts in February. During the breeding season, these newts migrate to the higher altitudes and enter the water. The males develop crests, which might take a week or two.

In the breeding season, males try to attract a female by swimming to her and taking a sniff of her cloaca. This species is oviparous and can lay as many as 300 eggs at a time.

From these eggs, newt larvae begin to appear after 10-20 days. The newt larvae metamorphose into efts after about two or three months. During the breeding season, the adult newts never leave the water, and they hold on to their external gills.

What is their conservation status?

According to the IUCN, the common newt is given the tag 'Least Concern'. Their conservation status indicates that the population of this species is relatively large and stable in numbers.

Common Newt Fun Facts

What do common newts look like?

Common newts or smooth newts have a very similar appearance to a Palmate newt. It is very difficult to mark differences between a Palmate newt and a common newt. They have a body with a brownish or greenish tinge.

Males develop a black line, which follows their spine. They can be distinguished from females because the females have two of these lines running parallel to each other. Their appearance changes during the breeding season and the males develop a wavy crest like the great crested newts.

This wavy crest is transparent, and they grow black spots on their belly. Females also develop black spots, but not on their stomachs. The back legs also help differentiate between the two.

Common Newt

How cute are they?

These newt species might not be very cute to people. Just like the great crested newt, they have a warty body, which might not be appealing to look at.

How do they communicate?

The modes of communication for common newts (smooth newts) vary from visual cues to chemical ones. They use these forms of communication, especially during feeding times.

How big is a common newt?

The length of a smooth newt (common newt) can vary between 8-10 cm. This is similar to the range of 3-4 inches. This body length makes them at least four times larger than a common bee.

How fast can a common newt run?

Like all other newt family members (great crested newt, or palmate newt), the speed of a common newt is about 48 kph (30 mph).

How much does a common newt weigh?

The average weight of common newts can be up to 5 g (0.01 lb). This makes them at least two times heavier than a female bee hummingbird.

What are their male and female names of the species?

The males and the females of this species do not have a separate name. Both of the adult newts are known as common newt or smooth newt.

What would you call a baby common newt?

Juvenile newts or baby newts are hatched from eggs. They are called newt larvae in the early stages, and later they are known as efts.

What do they eat?

The primary diet of a common newt is formed by aquatic plants and weed, slugs, earthworms, insects, frog tadpoles, mollusks, and the like. Sometimes they eat their eggs and show signs of cannibalism.

Are they dangerous?

Like all other newt species, like the great crested newt, or Taricha newts, common newts also produce toxins through their skin which can be dangerous. This toxin secretion works like a defense mechanism.

Would they make a good pet?

You can keep them as pets, but you should keep in mind that they can be toxic. This might be dangerous for you. They are semi-aquatic, so you will need to make a special tank for them.

Did you know...

Like a salamander, a smooth newt first develops its front legs, and then only can they develop their back legs. Another unique fact about the smooth newt is that it can be easily differentiated from the other water amphibians and newts by its crest. The males of this species develop a distinct crest along their spine.

Is the common newt protected?

The wildlife and countryside Act of 1981 protects all the native newt species. The great crested newt receives full protection, and common newts or smooth newts also come under this act. They are protected against illegal selling or possessing. They are also protected against harmful use, like advertising.

Can common newts be pets?

There are many legalities involved if you wish to keep a common newt as a pet. They are fiercely protected against illegal trade and sale. They also need to be provided a wide area for swimming. You would also have to take utmost care of their insect and worm-based diet.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other amphibians including pool frog, or caecilian.

You can even occupy yourself at home by drawing one on our newt coloring pages.

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Sources

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Smooth_newt

https://animalcorner.org/animals/common-newt/

https://www.woodlandtrust.org.uk/blog/2020/02/british-newt-id/

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Written by Joan Agie

Bachelor of Science specializing in Human Anatomy

Joan Agie picture

Joan AgieBachelor of Science specializing in Human Anatomy

With 3+ years of research and content writing experience across several niches, especially on education, technology, and business topics. Joan holds a Bachelor’s degree in Human Anatomy from the Federal University of Technology, Akure, Nigeria, and has worked as a researcher and writer for organizations across Nigeria, the US, the UK, and Germany. Joan enjoys meditation, watching movies, and learning new languages in her free time.

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Fact-checked by Oluwapelumi Iwayemi

Bachelor of Science specializing in Systems Engineering

Oluwapelumi Iwayemi picture

Oluwapelumi IwayemiBachelor of Science specializing in Systems Engineering

Iwayemi is a creative content writer and editor studying for a Bachelor of Science specializing in Systems Engineering from the University of Lagos. He is skilled in research and has experience writing and editing content for different organizations.

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