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I was lucky enough to spot an unusual animal in my back yard this evening, here's a photo...

enter image description here ... well I say unusual, but that is because this is the first one I've ever seen in my back garden. This really made my day :)

I live in the UK (Midlands region) and this evening the temperature was about 12 Celcius, dry weather, very mild breeze. It was dark when I was walking across my patio with my flashlight and I realised that it was possibly a lizard. Closer careful inspection paid off.

My garden is far from any streams or ponds, and is situated on top of a hill with excellent drainage.

He/she sat there entirely immobile as I went inside to grab my phone to get photographic evidence. I set my flashlight to low power so as not to dazzle the beast and took this picture. I did not pester it further, I looked out of the window a few minutes later and it had scuttled off.

From nose to tail it was 100 to 120 millimetres (about 4.5") long and seemed to have four digits on each foot. Its eyes were reflective to the light from my flashlight and phone.

I'd like to know what species this is and if possible, whether it's a male or female. I'd also like to know if there is anything I can do to encourage such animals to make a home in my garden.

(This is the same picture that has been made a little lighter, in case that helps with the identification. No other modifications have been made.)

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    Hi Wossname! I downloaded your picture of this gorgeous creature, and lightened it up just a little, to be able to see the markings better. Then I added a link to it into your question. That was presumptuous of me, but I hope you don't mind. If you do, please accept my apology and take it out!! Thanks for adding us to your other sites, and for this interesting question! – Sue Mar 21 at 0:11
  • Hi Sue, I don't mind at all, thank you :) – Wossname Mar 21 at 8:46
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That's not a lizard that's a smooth newt.

Source

None of the lizards in the UK look anything like that, and the tail and lines are what I am basing my identification off of.

Also see Attracting British Amphibians to your Water Garden and Getting to know your newts.

  • The description of the female does match my observations, thank you. She must have wandered a fair distance from the nearest water source. I'll keep an eye out for her in the next few days. – Wossname Mar 20 at 21:10
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    That's not a newt! That's John Cleese! – Ink blot Mar 21 at 10:02
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    @Inkblot It can't be him, he got better! – anaximander Mar 21 at 11:23

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