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Tuatara (Sphenodon Punctatus)Tuatara (Sphenodon Punctatus)Tuatara (Sphenodon Punctatus)Tuatara (Sphenodon Punctatus)Tuatara (Sphenodon Punctatus)Tuatara (Sphenodon Punctatus)Tuatara (Sphenodon Punctatus)Tuatara (Sphenodon Punctatus)
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Tuatara Facts

Five groups that classify all living things
A group of animals within the animal kingdom
A group of animals within a pylum
A group of animals within a class
A group of animals within an order
A group of animals within a family
Scientific Name:
Comprised of the genus followed by the species
Sphenodon Punctatus
The animal group that the species belongs to
What kind of foods the animal eats
How long (L) or tall (H) the animal is
70-80cm (28-31in)
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
Whether the animal is solitary or sociable
Conservation Status:
The likelihood of the animal becoming extinct
The colour of the animal's coat or markings
Green, Brown, Grey
Skin Type:
The protective layer of the animal
Favourite Food:Insects
The specific area where the animal lives
woodland and grassland
Average Litter Size:
The average number of babies born at once
Main Prey:Insects, Eggs, Lizards
Other animals that hunt and eat the animal
Pigs, Cats, Rodents
Special Features:Crest along back and third eye on forehead

Tuatara Location

Map of Tuatara Locations
Map of Oceania


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

"You should add why tuataras are endangered, and how long the eggs have to incubate."
Herr Schilling
"It would be nice to remove cats and dogs and the like from the New Zealand mainland so that the Tautaras could recover. Maybe the Tuatara could be introduced to other small uninhabited islands, possibly even away from New Zealand and Australia."
"it should of told u where it lays their eggs"
"It could have told u some place where it lives in new Zealand"
"This Website is So helpful Im so gonna PAst this Assessment !!!!"
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First Published: 3rd November 2009, Last Updated: 9th January 2017 [View Sources]

1. David Burnie, Dorling Kindersley (2008) Illustrated Encyclopedia Of Animals [Accessed at: 03 Nov 2009]
2. David Burnie, Kingfisher (2011) The Kingfisher Animal Encyclopedia [Accessed at: 01 Jan 2011]
3. Dorling Kindersley (2006) Dorling Kindersley Encyclopedia Of Animals [Accessed at: 03 Nov 2009]
4. Richard Mackay, University of California Press (2009) The Atlas Of Endangered Species [Accessed at: 03 Nov 2009]
5. Tom Jackson, Lorenz Books (2007) The World Encyclopedia Of Animals [Accessed at: 03 Nov 2009]

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