To listen to this article, please select Control + Shift + Z to launch the pop-up player.

Browser out-of-date!

You are using an out-of-date web browser, to avoid problems when using A-Z Animals and other sites we strongly recommend you upgrade to the latest version of your web browser!
Get Firefox Get Google Chrome Get Opera Get Microsoft Internet Explorer Get Apple Safari
Remove Advertising
A-Z Animals - Animal Facts, Images and Resources A-Z Animals - Animal Facts, Images and Resources A-Z Animals - Animal Facts, Images and Resources

Animals >>

Tuatara


 Add to Phobia Filter  Contribute  Print  Listen
Tuatara
Tuatara
Tuatara
Tuatara
Tuatara
The tuatara is a small to medium sized reptile, that is found only on a few small islands surrounding New Zealand. Although the tuatara was once found inhabiting mainland New Zealand in large numbers, today the tuatara is nearly extinct from the mainland.

Despite the lizard-like appearance of the tuatara, the tuatara is actually only a very distant relative of the lizard and the snake. The tuatara is believed to have broken off from lizards and snakes more than 200 million years ago!.

Tuataras are generally green or brown in colour and can grow up to a meter in length, from the head of the tuatara to the tip of it's tail. The tuatara also has a crest that runs down the middle of it's body, which is particularly noticeable in male tuataras.

The tuatara is a very unique reptile, with it's long tail and dinosaur-like crest, but the tuatara is has other features which make it stand out. Like all reptiles, the tuatara has excellent vision, but the tuatara also has a third eye on the top of it's head, it's use is still unknown. The tuatara is has two rows of teeth on it's upper jaw will line up either side of the teeth on the lower jaw.

The tuatara is a nocturnal reptile meaning that the tuatara rests during the hours of daylight and comes out to hunt for food at night. During the day, the tuatara sleeps in a burrow which it digs with it's strong claws into the ground. The tuatara also prefers temperatures that would be too cold for many other reptiles, and the tuatara hibernates during the colder winters.

The tuatara is a carnivorous animal, meaning that the tuatara only eats other animals in order to survive. The tuatara primarily preys on insects, beetles, spiders, birds eggs, frogs and small reptiles and mammals.

Due to the fact that there are few real predators in New Zealand, the tuatara has no real native predators. However, since the introduction of cats, foxes, dogs and stouts, the tuatara populations have been wiped out in wide areas.

Tuataras often live to be nearly 100 years old and so the tuatara only mates every 4 or 5 years. The female lays about a dozen leathery eggs which she digs into the ground. The eggs of the tuatara often take more than a year to hatch.


Tuatara Comments (6)

Lani

"it should of told u where it lays their eggs"

Cece

"It could have told u some place where it lives in new Zealand "

opeti

"This Website is So helpful Im so gonna PAst this Assessment !!!!"

Showing 3 of 6 comments.

Show More Comments

Post Comment

Your Name:

Article Rating:

Your Comment:


Article Tools

Print Article
View printer friendly version of Tuatara article.
 
Listen to Article
Listen to audio version of Tuatara article. Hot key: CTRL key + Shift key + Z key

Tuatara Facts

Kingdom:
Five groups that classify all living things...
Animalia
Phylum:
A group of animals within the animal kingdom...
Chordata
Class:
A group of animals within a pylum...
Reptilia
Order:
A group of animals within a class...
Sphenodontia
Family:
A group of animals within an order...
Sphenodontidae
Genus:
A group of animals within a family...
Sphenodon
Scientific Name:
Comprised of the genus followed by the species...
Sphenodon Punctatus
Type:
The animal group that the species belongs to...
Reptile
Diet:
What kind of foods the animal eats...
Carnivore
Size:
How long (L) or tall (H) the animal is...
70-80cm (28-31in)
Weight:
The measurement of how heavy the animal is...
600-900g (1.3-1.9lbs)
Top Speed:
The fastest recorded speed of the animal...
24km/h (15mph)
Life Span:
How long the animal lives for...
50-100 years
Lifestyle:
Whether the animal is solitary or sociable...
Solitary
Conservation Status:
The likelihood of the animal becoming extinct...
Threatened
Colour:
The colour of the animal's coat or markings...
Green, Brown, Grey
Skin Type:
The protective layer of the animal...
Scales
Favourite Food:Insects
Habitat:
The specific area where the animal lives...
woodland and grassland
Average Litter Size:
The average number of babies born at once...
12
Main Prey:
The food that the animal gains energy from...
Insects, Eggs, Lizards
Predators:
Other animals that hunt and eat the animal...
Pigs, Cats, Rodents
Special Features:Crest along back and third eye on forehead

Related Animals

LizardLizard
There are around 5,000 different species!
KiwiKiwi
Only found in the forests of New Zealand!