Monday, February 27, 2006

Animal of the Week February 27, 2006 -- Riddle me newts

Riddle me this, riddle me that (answer at the end of the email):
What connects scumbags, bendy buses, and this week's animal of the week Triturus cristatus (great crested newt)?

Great crested newts are the largest amphibian in the UK and can grow up to 17 cm (7 inches) long. Those of you in the UK will be delighted to know that from early March these warty critters will be re-emerging from their hibernation.

There are three newt species found in the UK, although males of all three may have crests, the great crested newt is the greatest. Males develop a wavy crest along the length of their body and tail in time for breeding from March to May; the females, suitably impressed, mate with the crested males and deposit individual eggs on aquatic plants in the breeding ponds (they do not lay clumps of spawn like frogs).
Great crested newts are endangered and touching or capturing them is prohibited and disturbing their habitat is illegal. So, if you are lucky enough to encounter this magnificent beast, look but do not touch. One reader who once built a road was entrusted with securing the future of newts on The Isle of Grain by monitoring the newt fence that stopped great crested newts entering the building site.

The word newt is derived from the middle English "eft", "eft" became "ewt" and "an ewt" became "a newt". The reverse happened to the word "apron", which used to be "napron" but "a napron" (meaning small tablecloth and etymologically related to "napkin") became "an apron".

Newts secrete noxious chemicals to deter predators. In the attached pictures you will note the cold reptillian gaze and slimy countenance.

Answer to the riddle:
Ken Livingstone
London's mayor referred to the staff of the Evening Standard as "scumbags and bigots" in the volley of insults levelled at Oliver Finegold last February which has led to his imminent suspension, mayor Ken introduced bendy buses to the capitol's roads and he breeds newts.


Post a Comment

<< Home