The Amazing Tuatara!!!
Tuataras are fabulous creatures. They look much like a Lizard. These Tuataras are Native to New Zealand. They are also reptiles.
Reptiles like Lizard , Tuatara and the Iguana are all cousins.
People say that the tuatara has been an endangered specie since 1895.
The Tuatara has been around for about 140 Million Years.
The Tuatara once lived throughout most of the mainlands , But the people and Rats drove them out of there. The Population of a Tuatara is estimated estimated between 50,000 - 100,000.
The Tuatara are now only found on the 37 of shore islands.
The largest groups of Tuataras are over 50,000 is found on stephens island
in the cook strait which is between The north island and the south island.
The island has steep cliffs all around it. It has an area of 150 hectares and is 300 meters high. The island is also the home of thousands of petrels : A type of sea bird.
Another island with a large tuatara population is Karewa Island in the bay of plenty. The hen and chickens group of islands is also the home to many tuataras. These islands lie off the coast north of Auckland.
Tuataras have keen , watchful eyes that are ringed by golden coloured scales. At the center of the Tuataras eye is a slit called the pupil. This slit lets light into the Tuataras eye. In the day time Tuataras stare at the sun. The tuatara does not have an outer ear like we do.When waves strike the tuataras eardrum moves to fro. This vibrates the bones of the ear and head so that the brain knows what is the sound. The tuatara has acute hearing. The tuatara uses its nose to breathe and smell with , just like we do. It has an unusual sense of smell because scientists believe that it can smell food when the food is in the mouth.
Moths, Beetles , Crickets and Wetas are the main food source of Tuataras , but they have been observed catching and eating Skinks and Geckos.
On the Poor Knight’s Island , The Tuatara is the greatest predator. During the breeding season of the fairy prion , a seabird which lives in a burrow , a large part of the tuataras food is the fairy prion chicks. The tuatara kills the chick by crushing it in its powerful jaws. Tuataras also eat shell - fish , called mussels by crushing them up.
Many other small animals and insects are food for the tuatara.
Insects that tuataras also eat are : Beetle Larvae , Weevils , Flies , Crickets , Small bugs , Spiders , Millipedes and Earthworms.
Seabird eggs and chicks are the tuataras favorite food.
Older Tuataras are known to eat very young Tuataras. Tuataras will even eat animals that are already dead whose flesh is already going off.
Size , Shape and Colour
The average length of the body is 50 centimeters.
It has a large head with teeth along the edges of its jaws.
The body is covered with small scales which vary in colour.
All scales have a small yellow spot , which is the brightest after the skin is shed and fades as the tuatara gets older.
The Tuatara has Scales that come in different colours.
The colour and pattern can help the Tuatara blend in with the backgrounds and surroundings. This is called Camouflage. The skin shape of the Tuatara Helps it to hide in this way.
Colours and Patterns helps the Tuatara hide and look like rocks and the ground.
Now that you know that these Tuataras are Amazing animals, please do not hurt them and go and destroy their habitat. They have have been around New Zealand for very many years and we would all like them to stay around for at least another thousand years.