These New Zealanders can live to be over 100 years old, with their eggs taking at least a year to hatch!


Tuataras, the only living species of this order, were once widespread all-over New Zealand but are now found in a few islands off the mainland. The name means “peaks on the back” in the Maori language.

This burrowing species of reptile resemble iguanas. They are nocturnal and typically insectivorous but may eat other small vertebrates as well as birds’ eggs. They grow slowly, and it is thought that females are not sexually mature until they are at least 20, and females lay one egg every four years.

The Tuatara population is under immense pressure from invasive species like rats. However, rat eradication programs and captive breeding and release programs have helped repopulate some islands.


Population est.
New Zealand
North Is., South Is.

Did you know?

  • Tuatara can regrow a lost tail
  • A male can fan out his spines to attract a female
  • Tuatara are the largest reptile in New Zealand

Anything we've missed?

Help us improve this page by suggesting edits. Glory never dies!

Suggest an edit

Get to know me

Terrestrial / Aquatic

Altricial / Precocial

Polygamous / Monogamous

Dimorphic (size) / Monomorphic

Active: Diurnal / Nocturnal

Social behavior: Solitary / Pack / Herd

Diet: Carnivore / Herbivore / Omnivore / Piscivorous / Insectivore

Migratory: Yes / No

Domesticated: Yes / No

Dangerous: Yes / No