Have I got newts for you? Rare amphibian found at school

The newt Carl Tilley rescued from his cat in his Swineshead garden.
The newt Carl Tilley rescued from his cat in his Swineshead garden.

A RARE and endangered species of newt has been found at a Stickney school to the delight of its science department.

The great crested newt was spotted in William Lovell Academy’s pond by science technician Carl Tilley.

William Lovell School science technician, Carl Tilley who has found Great Crested newts under logs at the school's wildlife area.

William Lovell School science technician, Carl Tilley who has found Great Crested newts under logs at the school's wildlife area.

“I was rooting around looking for some woodlice to use in a lesson, when I spotted the newt,” said Carl.

“It was hiding under a pile of logs and was dark in colour so I didn’t see it at first.

Although they are extremely rare in Europe, the county is one of the few places where the creatures can still be found. They are a protected species which means it is illegal to disturb their habitat or to handle them without a licence.

“I have found a couple in my garden in Swineshead, so maybe they are attracted to the Fens area,” said Carl. “You’re not meant to pick them up, but I only did with this one (pictured) because it was either that or get eaten by my cat as he was away from the pond.”

“Our aim with the school pond it to make it a better habitat for the newts, and to create a winter den for them to hibernate,” said Carl.

Andrew Wright, head of the science department, added: “The discovery gives a fabulous opportunity to engage pupils with the outdoors. With the correct management from staff and the Amphibian and Reptile Conservation Trust we can enhance both the newt’s environment and pupils’ learning in the academy.”

The school is now looking for a local timber company to offer to put a fence up around the pond.