Today we manage to confirm what I suspected: we have greater crested newts in our pond!! They live alongside smooth newts, common frogs and a very large common domestic carp (named Kenny).
They are the least common of the 3 species of newt found in Britain and are one of the 3 amphibians covered by the UK Biodiversity Action Plan. They are also covered by the schedule 5 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, which basically means it is illegal to:
- Harm them in any way, intentionally or unintentionally.
- Keep live or dead specimens.
- Destroy or obstruct access to sites they use for breeding or living in.
- Or disturb them whilst they are occupying a structure.
In other words the landlord can't ever fill that pond in!!
Greater crested newts are quite easy to identify if you get close enough to have a look. They have a very distinct jagged dorsal crest that no other british species has as well as a very wide and crested tail. They have dark spots which become smaller as they get older and silvery or white spots along the head and body. They have a very clearly orange or yellow belly with dark sots on. we're fairly sure ours in a young male as it is a lot smaller then some of the other greater crested newts that are in the pond, which are probably female. As well as the fact that he has large spots on him, which will appear smaller as he gets older.