Smooth newt

©Philip Precey

Smooth newt

Scientific name: Lissotriton vulgaris
You are likely to spot the smooth newt in your garden or local pond. It breeds in water in summer and spends the rest of the year in grassland and woodland, hibernating over winter.

Species information


Length: 7-11cm
Average lifespan: 6 years

Conservation status

Protected in the UK under the Wildlife and Countryside Act, 1981.

When to see

March to October


Newts are amphibians, breeding in ponds during the spring and spending most of the rest of the year feeding on invertebrates in woodland, hedgerows, marshes and tussocky grassland. They hibernate underground, among tree roots and in old walls. The smooth newt is also known as the 'Common newt' and is the species you are most likely to find in your garden pond.

How to identify

The smooth newt is grey-brown, with an orange belly and neat black spots all over. In the breeding season, males have a smooth crest running the full length of their body and tail.


Found throughout the country, except for parts of western Scotland, west Wales, the Isle of Man, the Channel Islands and the Isles of Scilly.

Did you know?

Smooth newts eat insects, caterpillars, worms and slugs while on land, and crustaceans, molluscs and tadpoles when in the water. They are most active during the night.

How people can help

The Wildlife Trusts manage many wetland nature reserves for the benefit of the wildlife they support. You can help by supporting your local Trust and becoming a member; you'll find out about exciting wildlife news, events on your doorstep and volunteering opportunities, and will be helping local wildlife along the way. Encourage newts and other amphibians into your garden by having a wildlife-friendly pond and leaving piles of logs for hibernating animals. To find out more about gardening for wildlife, visit our Wild About Gardens website: a joint initiative with the RHS, there's plenty of facts and tips to get you started.