Field Guide/Reptiles/New Zealand
- 1 Tuatara
- 2 Forest Gecko
The Tuatara becomes sexually mature when it is 15 to 20 years old. The eggs are also attacked by seagulls and birds, and they reproduce slowly, the number born is less than those which die. Only once every 2 to 5 years the female is ready to mate. The male will sit outside her burrow and wait. If she is interested they will mate and 8 or 9 months later she will lay and bury 6 to 10 eggs in a sunny place.After 11 to 16 months later the baby tuatara will hatch out of its egg.
It is an animal found only in New Zealand.They are found mainly in small islands of New Zealand.
However, it is protected and at risk of extinction, because the total estimated population is less than 100 thousand.
They are vunerable to predators, although the species itself is being one of them, adult males eat eggs and young. The main dish of the tautara are insects and crickets.
Adults are between 30 and 75 centimetres long, and weigh between 250 and 1,200 grams. Males are larger than females.
Tuataras have two rows of teeth in the upper jaw and one row in the lower jaw.
The normal temperature of the tuatara is from 5 to 11 C.
They live about 100 years.
The third eye of the tuatara
Tuataras have 3 eyes! The third eye is different from the others, it is small, it is on the head and in adults it is untherneath the skin. This eye is only visible in the baby tuatara. The tuataras can't see much with that eye, but they can tell the difference between darkness and light. Although tuataras have no ears and no ear hole they can still hear.
- They have cold blood.
- Tuataras can hold their breath for an hour!
- It is a reptile which lived 225 million years ago, when the dinosaurs ruled the Earth. Therefore it is considered a "living fossil".
- Tuatara is a Maori word meaning "spiny back".
- If they lose their tails they are able to regrow them.
- Males have no sexual organ
- They can swim well
- They can be active between 7 and 22 degrees Celsius (most other reptiles would hibernate at such low temperatures)
- Their teeth are extensions of the jawbones; when they fall out they are not replaced.
- There is no letter 's' in the Maori language, so the plural of tuatara is tuatara.
- Tuataras are amazing creatures so if we protect them they will survive and not become extinct!
This species of Gecko lives only in New Zealand.
It lives in forests, where it tends to hide under logs or stones.
This Gecko feeds normally of flies, nectar, water and fruit.
Usually two young are born, occasionally three, the eggs hatch in autumn or early winter
It can live for 20 years.
It is a protected native spieces.
Usually it is brown and cream but this gecko can change the intensity of its colour according to the colour of the background it is resting on. Its tail has an irregular zigzag pattern and there is a 'v' marking on the forehead.
Small, but keen to defend itself! Most geckos lose their tails if they are threatened by other big animal.
It is nocturnal, which means it is only active at night.
In June 2010 seven forest geckos, four female and three male, were stolen from a wildlife park in Northland. Now forest geckos are a protected species under the Wildlife Act 1953.