The great crested newt (Triturus cristatus) is a species in the class of Amphibia, the order Caudata and the family Salamandridae. It lives in North and Central Europe in territories lying north of the Alps and the Danube. In Estonia the great crested newt mainly lives on the continent and is more numerous in Southeastern Estonia. An adult newt can grow up to 18 cm long, the female being slightly shorter than the male. The colour of the great crested newt depends on its living environment, but it is usually dark - black, brownish or grayish on the back and yellow or orange with dark patches underneath. The skin is rough like that of the toad. During the mating period the male develops bluish white stripes on the sides of the tail and a relatively high crest, which stops at the stump of the body and has given the name to the species. Females get a narrow yellow line down the spine, but they have no crest. The great crested newt prefers as its habitat forest lakes with no fish in them, ponds or pools, but can be found also in cultural landscapes with large rive valleys. The great crested newt is a protected species in Estonia.