It’s the fourth year that United Environmental Services have monitored the ponds in Kings Cliffe following a major trapping and relocation scheme. So far this year a good number of adult great crested newts and developing great crested newt larvae have been caught in bottle traps and pond nets and recorded whilst torching. A healthy population of other amphibians including Smooth and Palmate newts have also been recorded on the site, as well as reptile species such as slow worm and grass snake.

UES caught a particularly large female great crested newt, which was heavily pregnant whilst bottle trapping. Courtship and egg-laying normally lasts from mid-March to mid-May. Female great crested newts lay eggs individually on leaves of submerged vegetation, which she then carefully folds up into a package. After about 3 weeks the great crested newt larvae hatch out and spend the next 2 to 3 months developing into juveniles, whilst feeding on a wide variety of pond life including small crustaceans and other newt larvae.