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Great crested newts are not always where you expect to find them

24th March 2017

Recent work at a site in Milton, Oxfordshire uncovered an exhausted female great crested newt swimming in a ‘footway box’ for electrical ducting.

Site operatives for Clancy Docwra were preparing works to drain the water out of the flooded chamber when they spotted the newt within the footway box so they stopped works immediately.

“When people think of great crested newts they tend to think of ponds,” says Daniel Sidoli a senior ecologist with Thomson Ecology. "Great crested newts, however, spend a large proportion of the year on land and at around this time they will be migrating back to their breeding ponds. This means they could turn up in a number of unusual places, particularly in drainage systems or, as in this case, a ducting chamber."

The newt was found to be malnourished with its spine clearly showing. It has been moved to the Sutton Courtenay Environmental Education Centre, run by the Wildlife Trusts, where there is an existing great crested newt population.

Site operatives should be vigilant for protected species turning up in unusual places. If you think you have a great crested newt on your work site, contact a licensed professional as soon as possible to remove the species and enable contractors to resume work with minimal disruption.


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