Eagle-eyed observers may have spotted that we made a slight mistake yesterday – the “Common Lizard” in the video was in fact a Smooth Newt. We were in two minds, and although our criteria were correct, we chose the wrong option. The velvety skin and spotty belly point to it being a newt, and whilst they are to be found in gardens, it’s still exciting to see them (and so close to the centre of town). Wildlife can be difficult to distinguish – I sometimes struggle with the way some birds have different plumage at different ages or different times of the year. In Victorian times people used to keep newts as pets, which wasn’t very clever as they would instinctively leave the water and later be found shrivelled and dead in the corner of the room. It’s good to see the considerate way in which the Smooth Newt in the video is being handled, and of course at the moment it is against the law to disturb Great Crested Newts and their habitats. Thanks to Gordon (of Haycock & Jay, the Otley ecologists) for quickly spotting our mistake, and again to Sophie Snell for sending the video.
View the video here.
Photo by Sophie Snell