The Smooth Newt (classified by scientists as Triturus vulgaris) is usually about 2.5 to 3 inches in length and one of the most common species of newts in England. They get their name from their smooth, almost velvet-like skin that is unusual compared to other bumpy species. The Smooth newt is usually a medium shade of brown, though the color changes throughout the life of the animal and is darkest during breeding season. Often they will have spots along the back in darker brown. Both males and females have a yellowish belly, but males are often darker in color. Males also have fringed toes. Most Smooth newts live about 6-8 years.
This newt can be found in wet woods, marshes, bogs, and even open parks near water. It prefers to breed near standing water with plenty of weeds. Smooth newts hide under rocks and logs during the day, coming out at night to look for food. They use their tongues to catch insects, worms, and spiders on land, but use tiny teeth to snatch shrimp or tadpoles from the water. Did you know that the adult newt sheds its skin as often as once a week?
Smooth newts come out of their winter hibernation in early March as weather becomes warmer and spring rains form pools of standing water. The females lay 7-12 eggs a day in these pools--up to 400 eggs in a season. The eggs attach to plants floating in the water and hatch 3 weeks later. The larvae have gills, but after 10 weeks they can breath air.