Anyone who is disturbed by the idea of newts in a nightclub is potentially dangerous.

FRANK ZAPPA (1940-93)


Great Crested Newts

Great crested newts only live in Europe. They are the continent’s largest newts. Their skin, which is covered in small bumps, giving rise to their alternative name, warty newts, contains glands that secrete a milky, acrid-smelling substance to dissuade predators. The great crested newt’s name derives from the jagged crest that males develop along their backs during the spring breeding season. They are generally dark colored on top and orange or yellow with black spots underneath. They are nocturnal and are voracious eaters, feeding on worms, slugs, and insects on land, and tadpoles and mollusks in water. They spend a significant portion of their lives in hibernation, usually from around October to March of each year.

They are an endangered species and they and their habitats are protected under European law. A special license is required to handle great crested newts.

Mating Frenzy

Male newts release powerful pheromones that put females into a mating frenzy. These pheromones are so powerful they will try to mate with practically any adult in the vicinity. They will even go for other females from different species.

When two newts meet, the male releases the pheromones and waves his tail, sending the chemical signals to the female. They then play out a mating dance like a game of tag, with the female following after the male. To let him know she's ready she touches his tail with her nose, prompting him to deposit his spermatophore or capsule of sperm. He then leads her over the sperm packet, which sticks to her cloaca (the orifice leading to intestinal, reproductive and urinary tracts), resulting in insemination and fertilisation of her eggs.

A female newt will take great care over where she lays her eggs. She checks out underwater plants, lays a single egg on a suitable leaf and folds the leaf round it using her back legs. She’ll do this 150-300 times, once for each egg. She then abandons them.


Newt Gingrich is against same-sex marriage. Well, actually, he's against same-marriage sex.


Eye of newt and toe of frog, Wool of bat and tongue of dog, Adder's fork and blind-worm's sting, Lizard's leg and owlet's wing, For a charm of powerful trouble, Like a hell-broth boil and bubble.

Toxic Newts

The Rough-Skinned newt has enough toxins to kill 25,000 mice. Native American tribes used to force feed them to their enemies to kill them. It is so toxic that it can even survive being eaten. Whatever eats one dies before the newt dissolves in the stomach – and then it hops free. They even inject their eggs with the toxin so that predators don’t eat them.

When threatened, Spanish newts can shoot their ribs out of their body and stab enemies with poison. Scientists tested this by touching the animals ‘repeatedly – but gently – with a cotton bud until they showed defensive behaviour.

Eye of Newt

Newts can regenerate their lenses indefinitely. A 16-year study in which scientists systematically removed newts’ lenses found they continually grew back and were no different from the lenses of newts who hadn’t regrown theirs.

As far as the witches’ brew in the Scottish play goes, there’s a theory that eye of newt and similar ingredients were actually folk names for herbs and plants – 'eye of newt and toe of frog, wool of bat and tongue of dog' is actually thought to be 'wild mustard seed and buttercup leaves, moss and hound’s tongue'. 

According to the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 you are not allowed to shoot a Great Crested Newt with a bow and arrow.

An eft is a juvenile newt.

Conservation work that saved 15 great crested newts from a road-building project in Chester cost the Highways Agency £20,800 per newt.

All newts are salamanders but not all salamanders are newts.

Newts have the ability to regenerate limbs, eyes, spinal cords, hearts, intestines, and upper and lower jaws.