The New Zealand Tuatara is a reptile unique to our country. We have to ask our readers, do you see the same small dinosaur we do? Isn’t this just a breathtaking piece of natural history? 

 How unique are these small reptiles? Let’s give you a quick run down as part of this week’s selfie post. Join the Kitties Blue and Dash Kitten Crew to meet this unique creature.

This is the New Zealand Tuatara

  • Adults are between 30 and 75 cms. long (11 and 25 inches)
  • An adult can weight between 205 and 1,200 grams ( 7 and 42 ounces)
  • The males have more prominent spikes on the spine than the
  • Males are larger than females
  • Both sexes are very territorial
  • Tuatara live in burrows and appear more often at night but enjoy a spot of sunshine!
  • They are carnivorous, eating invertebrates, lizards, frogs and, sometimes, seabird chicks.
  • Tuataras are on record as reaching 80 years old, they may live to be 100!

The New Zealand Tuatara is almost as famous as the iconic Kiwi. It represents the genus Sphenodontia which is over 250 million years old! There are hundreds of different reptiles worldwide, but there are only two types of Tuatara. Both are native to New Zealand.

Cultural Significance of the New Zealand Tuatara

The Tuatara features in the creation stories of New Zealand’s Maori tribes – iwi. The reptile is often viewed as a guardian of knowledge (kaitiaki).

You can find out lots more about the Tuatara in Te Ara the New Zealand Encyclopaedia which is packed with cultural and natural wonders. We hope we have intrigued you with a glimpse of natural history ad wonder, does your part of the world have anything this weird or wonderful?

Miranda Kitten
New Zealand Tuatara Reporter

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  1. MrJackFreckles/Pipo/Angel-Minko

    November 20, 2017 at 5:47 pm

    I am so glad you showed this to me, cause I have not ever seen one, much less heard of these interesting creatures!


  2. Savannah's Paw Tracks

    November 11, 2017 at 7:38 am

    A pink lizard??? Really??? unreal and pretty cool


    • Dash Kitten

      November 11, 2017 at 11:52 am

      It’s more a dusty brown we think, but goes rose under the heat lamp.


  3. Marv

    November 7, 2017 at 3:50 pm

    WoW! Mommy used to live in Alberta and has been to Drumheller’s Dinosaur Museum loads. Tuataras look just like the big guys!
    How cool you have Real live dinosaurs!


  4. Hairballs and Hissyfits

    November 7, 2017 at 12:05 pm

    Strange but beautiful!


  5. Alberto from The Tribe of Five

    November 7, 2017 at 10:18 am

    Yowza! Not sure if I’d be brave enough to report on such a strange looking reptile!


  6. Athena

    November 7, 2017 at 6:27 am

    We’ve never heard of it.

    Nice selfies though!


  7. Dash Kitten

    November 6, 2017 at 8:41 am


    How exciting to have your own living Dinosaur living in your back yard sort of. We only have the Jurassic coast a couple of hours away other wise we only have our cute Dartmoor ponies,xx Speedy


  8. Charles Huss

    November 6, 2017 at 12:26 am

    That does look like a dinosaur and it gets pretty large too.


  9. The Swiss Cats

    November 5, 2017 at 8:15 pm

    Nice meet a dinosaur ! We didn’t know about tuatara, it’s very interesting to discover new critters. Purrs


  10. Summer

    November 5, 2017 at 7:03 pm

    My human is in love with your tuatara! She has been fascinated by lizards since she was a kid – in fact, she liked them (and snakes) before she liked cats. (No, she was not very popular in elementary school!)


  11. meowmeowmans

    November 5, 2017 at 3:33 pm

    Wow, the tuatara DOES look like a dinosaur. So fascinating!


  12. Thomas Archer

    November 5, 2017 at 12:56 pm

    Oh wow, you have a dinosaur living in your backyard – you are soooo lucky!


  13. Margie

    November 5, 2017 at 12:07 pm

    Well I have never seen one of those. Very interesting You all have a good week end.


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