Female Smooth newt laying eggs on a Myosotis scorpioides leaf

Newts return to mate in ponds:

  • Newts return to mate in their breeding ponds in Spring when the night time temperature regularly reaches 10C. 
  • They travel at night for safety from predators.
  • The normal Winter hiding places for newts are compost heaps, under stones or burrowing under sheds and structures into a damp hidey hole.
  • You should provide plenty of cover around the pond for the breeding adults to shelter under during their return journey to the pond – either plants, old logs or stones.

Newts prefer:

  • They prefer ponds covered with a lot of rafting plants and with plenty of oxygenating plants in the deeper water.
  • They use all these plants for hiding places and they also use the leaves of the rafting plants for the female to lay her eggs.
  • Ponds without fish are more successful for breeding newts.

Mating ritual:

  • If you are lucky, you can watch the courtship ritual (often at night) as the male dances around the female flashing his orange belly and swishing his tail to get her attention.
  • He releases aromatic secretions so that she follows him to where he has released his sperm pack.
  • She should absorb this which will lead to the fertilisation of her eggs. She lays these in the plant growth and folds them into the leaves of rafting plants like Myosotis scorpioides, Veronica beccabunga, Mentha aquatica or Rorippa nasturtium aquaticum.
  • To find out if you have newts mating in your pond – check your pond plant clumps looking for signs of folded leaves at the water surface.

For more info and images on Newts and their lifecycle see our Tips and Advice page: How to help the newts in your pond.