Newt Identification Training.
Among the many things I do, training people to identify our native amphibians and reptiles, is one.
Those involved in conservation and ecology need to know how to identify the species they encounter, in order to help them manage habitats.
Several of our native reptiles and amphibians are on the endangered species list.
Learning how to identify different amphibian species, survey for them effectively and manage their habitats, is crucial in helping protect these vulnerable animals.
This male great crested newt Triturus cristatus is from one of my own ponds in the garden. He was caught in a bottle trap which was placed in the pond overnight. Early the next morning, the traps were emptied and the newts counted and photographed.
The two trainees were able to see the newts close up, in order to spot the differences between species and sexes.
The belly markings of newts are unique to each animal, and a great way to help tell individuals apart.
There are distinct characteristics between males and females of each species of newt. Knowing all of these key differences takes time to learn. These trainees are employed by a local wildlife trust and are training towards gaining a specific Natural England licence for great crested newts (GCN).
In order to legally survey for any endangered animal, you must be licensed for the specific species.
Any form of disturbance , even down to photography, needs to be covered by the licence.
This leucitic female palmate newt Lissotriton helvetica, was from another of my garden ponds. These colour morphs occur naturally and can be quite common in some populations. They can cause confusion when trying to identify them, as the lack of pigment means none of the usual colours or markings are present.
If you would like to learn how to identify our native amphibians and reptiles, look for them and help protect them, please contact me.