The Great Crested Newt is Britain’s largest and most threatened newt. The typical size of a male great crested newt is 140-150mm and a female 110-130mm. On land great crested newts appear very dark brown or black in colour, but in water they can appear much paler. The skin is warty or granular and sometimes has an irregular pattern of dark blotches. Male great crested newts have a jagged crest along their back during the breeding season (March-June). Both male and female have a yellow/ orange belly and in the female this extends along the underside of the tail.
Great crested newts are likely to be found in or close to water during March – June. Ideal ponds would have plenty of plants in the water and little shading. For the remainder of the year they use rough grassland, scrub and woodland where they may lie up under logs, rocks and shrubby vegetation. Great crested newts hibernate during the winter in places such as rabbit burrows, dry stone walls and under large rocks.
The species has a wide distribution in Britain, but is absent from Cornwall, Devon, and parts of Wales and Scotland and is generally uncommon. The population has undergone a very severe decline in the last 50 years.