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?