Long before my aquatic nursery even existed, I used to visit another aquatic nursery in Newdigate, known throughout my childhood as the Field Station. This wonderful place sold all kinds of Amphibians, Reptiles and Fish as well as an interesting range of pond plants.
You can read more about the Field Station on my article called ‘Memories of Beam Brook Aquatic Nursery in Newdigate’.
The Field Station, also known by its proper name L.Haig and Co.LTD, used to sell Alpine Newts. Long before I used to visit the Field Station, some of these colorful Newts managed to escape, and establish small colonies in several of the natural ponds in the surrounding countryside of Newdigate. So, unsurprisingly, when I was growing up and went pond-dipping, I would occasionally net up an Alpine Newt.
Alpine Newts, also known by the Latin name (Ichthyosaura Alpestris), are now found in around 40 locations in the UK. Due to the fact that they are not a UK native species, it is illegal to move them from one location to another or release any livestock back into the wild.
Habitat, Diet and Life cycle
Like most other Newts, the males are more colourful than the females. This is especially prevalent in the breeding season, when they will display vibrant Blue, Orange and Yellow with Black spots. Outside the UK, they are native to northern and Central Europe.
Being a very adaptable species, they can breed successfully in shallow and deeper water ponds and slow flowing streams. During the breeding season, females can lay up to 200 eggs on the foliage of submerged pond plants. Outside of the breeding season, Alpine Newts favor damp woodland and forest locations where there is an abundance of invertebrates on which to feed on.
The eggs hatch into baby Newts that breath through gills. They feed on small underwater insects such as Water Daphnia also known as Water Fleas. In late summer, they lose their gills and emerge from the water. They will not return to the water again for 2 or 3 years or until they have matured into adults. Adult Alpine Newts have many predators but can live up to 20 years in captivity.
WE LOVE OUR ALPINE NEWTS!
Please visit my website www.lilieswatergardens.co.uk to read over 120 informative articles on all aspects of water gardening and the wildlife water can attract into your back garden, and to see my huge range of over 750 pond plants, water lilies and water garden plants available to buy online or from my retail aquatic nursery in Surrey.