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  • Tuataras: Order Sphenodonta: 2 species

    • Includes: only two species of Tuatara

    • Number of Species: 2

    • Range: found on certain islands off the coast of New Zealand

    • Habitat: Terrestrial

    • Characteristics

      • Stout-bodied lizard like reptiles with large head and thick tails

      • Tuataras lack a tympanum.

      • They often reach lengths of 66 cm (26 inches) or less.

    • Behaviors

      • Adult tuataras forage mostly at night when temperatures usually range between 53.6 to 60.8 degrees F.  

      • They bask at burrow entrances during warm summer months.

      • Tuataras eat insects, skinks, geckos, and occasionally seabirds.

      • They live in burrows often shared with sea birds called petrels.

    • Senses

      • They have a well-developed parietal eye on top of their heads which has a retina, lens, and nervous connections to brain.

    • Reproduction

      • Sexual maturity usually reached by tuataras at close to 20 years of age.

      • Females produce clutches on average every 4 years.

      • Development of their young can take 11 to 16 months at temps from 64 to 72 degrees F (lowest temperatures for known living reptiles).

    • Threats

      • Introduced rats to islands prey on tuatara eggs and juveniles.  

    • Fun facts:

      • They are very slow growing.

      • The longest lived tuatara was 77 years when it passed away.

    • Information/ Care Sheets



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