Young country diary: this newt is magic in the palm of my hand

Aberdovey, Gwynedd: The mysterious log looked like it was hiding something interesting – and it was

I didn’t want to brush the donkeys. The sanctuary had plenty of visitors to do that. I was interested in a log, rough and conker brown. It had orange, tree-like fungi sprouting from the split down its middle. Its dark, damp, crooked habitat hid excitement under its base. I scurried over, away from the dull and shady shed, to the mystery log. I turned it over, careful not to crush the fungi. As I peered into the amphibian world, long, thin and wet bodies squirmed into the carpet of moss. Parting the greenery, I saw not just one but five little faces squinting up at me. Newts! Two adults and three efts. I’m an explorer, discovering new creatures and learning about why they are important to the environment!

A gold lace swerved along the back of one, and its toes were clinging to the moss. I nudged the newt on to my palm, where it settled and curled up like a leaf. I held magic in the palm of my hand. Suddenly the leaf was gone as the newt uncoiled. I murmured goodbye and the smooth, yellowy creature scuttled off my hand and back to its dwelling.
Evie, 7½

• Read this week’s other YCD: ‘Searching for an adder with my eagle eyes

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