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Help identifying salamander / lizard?


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Today we were shifting conifer stumps with our tractor when we unearthed some sort of small reptile. Unfortunately it fell out of the tractor bucket into a pile of loose earth and we couldn't find it again, so this description is pretty dire, based on about 10 seconds of observation. Any suggestions, anybody ??? 

Approx 12-15cm long, body predominantly dark brown with some indistinct speckling along the back. Not dorso-ventrally flattened, but no dorsal ridge. Pale orange belly. Distinctive orange, globular toes rather like a gecko's?  High head carriage when moving and a surprised expression - I guess we disturbed it's hibernation !

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From the description it sounds like a Triton alpestre Triturus alpestris but a bit large 12 cm's about the limit. Do you have any ponds, pools or slow rivers near by? Not often found more than 150 metres away when on land.

You've only posted this because you know that I will be going out tonight looking for them!!

I haven't added this to my site yet, so try googling the Latin.

Chris.

 

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Chris you are spot on - it was the Alpine Newt, Triturus alpestris. Having trawled the web I now realise it was a female in the TERRESTRIAL stage. What a change they go through when they become water-based. The change in colour and development of the crest in the male is just incredible.

I've been searching all morning for another one - unsurprisingly to no avail !

Edited to say, there is a pond about 200 metres away, so this one is a bit of an athlete!

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If you go to the pond after dark with a torch and shine it down through the water  in the shallows you have a very good chance of seeing them "all dressed up". Either way a trip to the pond after dark will be interesting, lot's of different frogs and toads.

Chris

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