I recently told a friend that I was making a film about Tuatara. His response was “that’s some kind of bird, right?” Which triggered me to write a little about the tuatara. So for those of you who don’t know what this beautiful animal is, read on!
First up, have a look at some great links – these groups love the tuatara as much as we do, and can describe them much more eloquently! They are all responsible for tuatara conservation – a difficult task which they do very well!
A quick summary:
Quick and quirky facts about the tuatara
- a reptile endemic to New Zealand
- Is not a lizard, but classified in it’s own special group, Sphenodon
- often described as a ‘living fossil’, having changed very little since the dinosaur age some 220 million years ago.
- live in burrows, sometimes sharing with seabirds
- move really really slowly, sometimes only breathe once an hour!
- live for a really long time (max. estimation is about 200 years)
- eats whatever it can find, or anything that strays across it’s path!
- have an ancient 3rd eye which senses things we can’t, like UV
We hope, after reading all that, you’ll see what we see in the tuatara – some quirky characters who have some weird habits, but are also wise, ancient and the ultimate survivors. They deserve our care and respect.