IUCN Red List status:

Least Concern

For more info on classifications visit www.iucnredlist.org

Animal vulnerability index Animal vulnerability index

Tuatara are NOT lizards! They are called ‘living fossils’ as they’re the last species from the order Rhynchocephalian. They evolved 250 million years ago, before dinosaurs!

This incredible reptile is native to New Zealand and is believed to be able to live to over 100 years old! They are often mistaken for lizards due to their similar appearance, however tuatara have many more adaptations, such as their two rows of top teeth!

You’ll notice their spiny crest used for courting females and guarding their territories, as well as their strong legs and claws which are perfect for digging the burrows they live in. They have very slow growing bodies, and don’t reach their full length until they are 30 years old!

We were the first to breed tuatara in situ outside of their native New Zealand! It took us nearly 40 years to perfect this technique, as they have such specific conditions which they need for breeding. They also take 20 years to reach sexual maturity, so we had to wait for this as well!

Our Zoo

Find out more about our WONDERFUL zoo and all of the incredible animals, plants and FUN things to do here. Download our app or PDF map to help plan you day and find your way around when you get here.

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