Alpine Newt Facts
|Size||Up to 4 in (11 cm) (female); up to 3 in (8 cm) (male)|
|Weight||1-3 oz (30-90 g)|
|Food||Worms, larvae, the young of other amphibians|
|Predators||Birds, fish, snakes (grass snake)|
|Habitat||Central and South-East Europe|
|Scientific name||Ichthyosaura alpestris|
|Characteristics||Bright orange belly; males are blue with black and white flecked flank; females are darker|
The Alpine newt is a salamander that lives in European forests. Reproduction and growing up both take place in water.
Deadly night-time walk
Each spring, straight after winter has ended, the Alpine newt travels to old and new spawning grounds. They are drawn by the smell of algae. On their long journeys, slow Alpine newts are eaten by their natural enemies. But - and this is much worse - many animals also die crossing roads.
What’s that? There in the pond? Baby dragons? No! Baby newts! Newt larvae are long to start with. When they develop legs, they look like water dragons with their feathery gills. Later, the gills gradually disappear. The animal then breathes through its lungs and skin.
Lots of amphibians reproduce in spring, but only a few actually care for their young. The Alpine newt is one of these exceptions. It wraps each egg in the leaves of underwater plants.
No leg? No problem!
“What do you need, a leg? Just be patient Mr Newt, you’ll have a new one soon!” When newts lose a leg, a piece of tail or a bit of skin, it’s not as bad as it looks. Newts can regrow skin, bone, muscle and even whole limbs.
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