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Animals

Early signs of spring – readers’ photos

Trees are blossoming, ducklings hatching and bees foraging. But the spring-like activity in the depths of winter may imperil many species

I saw this young palmate newt emerging on the evening of 1 January. Newts should be overwintering in leaf and log piles, compost heaps and other suitable refugia from November until late February or early March, when they start moving toward breeding pools. It is troubling to spot this individual within the overwintering period. The unseasonably warm weather fooled a great deal of species into early emergence: it places them in great peril if they expend energy in an attempt to feed out of season, burn fat reserves and expose themselves to short daylight hours and cold nights that could result in their deaths. Jonathan Davies, 32, certified passive house designer, St Fagans, Cardiff

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