Great crested newts are heading for hibernation

Great crested newts, like all of our native amphibian species, hibernate during the winter. Their habitats through the year cycle between three broad categories; ponds for the breeding season, terrestrial habitats such as grasslands and shrubs to hunt in during the summer, and nice safe, stable, sheltered locations to hibernate through the winter.

This is the time of year when the great crested newts seek out their hibernation sites. These might be beneath rubble and stones, beneath log piles, in underground burrows or under man-made features such as paving slabs.

These places are very important for the newts, which cannot survive through the sub-zero temperatures of the winter without an appropriate place of safety. Sometimes their selections don’t take account of our plans, so care should be taken whenever you dismantle piles of debris and logs, or move slabs and other materials close to ponds throughout the winter.

Right now, on the last day of October, the newts are still moving in good numbers as they head from their hunting grounds to their favoured places of safety. But when the mild autumnal weather ends and the colder overnight temperatures of winter set in, you can bet that these great crested newts, along with our other cold-blooded amphibians and reptiles, will be carefully tucked away somewhere out of sight, awaiting the spring.

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