What habitat does the Great-crested newt like?
Water is the dominant component of many of our most diverse and valuable habitats. The running water of rivers, streams and ditches; static water bodies in natural lakes and ponds, ephemeral features such as winterbournes and dew ponds, manmade reservoirs and restored gravel pits with canals having the appearance of manmade rivers but more characteristic of a still water body. Water is also vital in terrestrial habitats such as marsh, fen, bog, reedbeds and carr woodland, where its presence is a permanent requirement. In Surrey it’s estimated that water as habitat (both aquatic and wetland habitats) occupy 3,516 hectares or 2.1% of the county’s land area. The list of bird, mammal, insect, amphibian, fish and plant species that rely on wetland and aquatic habitats is immense.
Newts leave the ponds during the summer, moving into terrestrial habitat to feed on invertebrates such as earthworms and insects. They go into hibernation around October but will remain active until night-time temperatures drop below 5°C. They hibernate, often under logs and stones and usually within about 200m of their breeding site although it is thought some have travelled up to 1,000 metres. Over-wintering sites for newts are sheltered, damp, cool and frost-free such as underground cracks and crevices, rotting tree stumps and rock or log piles.