New Zealand Has A Living Dinosaur

New Zealand Has A Living Dinosaur

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

  1. 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!


    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

  3. 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!)

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Lake Pukaki. Laketown © Miles Holden.
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