The Tuatara; From the Age of the Dinosaurs



Common name: Tuatara (Northern)

Scientific name: Sphenodon punctatus

Class: reptilia

Order: rhynchocephalia

Conservation status: threatened

Habitat: woodland and grassland of New Zealand

Size: 70-80cm

Weight: 600-900g

Diet: Carnivore, eats insects, birds eggs, frogs and small reptiles and mammals

Lifespan: 50-100 years

Appearance: Grey, green, brown scales along a typical lizard body

Breeding: Tuatara mate every 4-5 years. After a year, the female lays a clutch of egg.  Once eggs are laid, they take around a year to hatch.

Threats: In ancient times, predators were birds of prey. Nowadays, predators are introduced ones, such as dogs, cats and rodents

Other interesting facts:

  1. Males have no sexual organ
  2. Tuatara swim well
  3. Tuatara have a ‘third eye’ which can sense shadows and detect changes in light
  4. They are solitary, nocturnal animals
  5. Active at 7-22°C, only hibernating in colder winters
  6. Sleeps in a burrow, which is self-dug using their claws
  7. Their teeth are extensions of their jawbone. They don’t fall out and when they are worn down, they are not replaced.
  8. Has lived since Jurassic times, not changing m


I decided to do an animal profile on the tuatara because it is one of my favourite animals. Recently I was reminiscing with family and we remembered the time that I met a tuatara!

Anyway, if you enjoyed this post, please feel free to follow me on Twitter, @ShoshShearing



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