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Wildlife of New Zealand

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Tuatara (Sphenodon punctatus) (Sphenodontidae: Tuatara)

Tuatara is the only extant member of the Sphenodontidae - a family of reptiles around before the dinosaurs and certainly prior to modern lizards. It survives in nature on 32 predator-free off-shore islands around New Zealand. It lives life slowly living in a cool maritime environment. adults may sun themselves during the day, but will hunt at night for beetles and the like. They are thought to be able to live for well over 100 years.

Filmed at Zealandia - Karori wildlife sanctuary in Wellington, where animals from Stephens Island were released and are now at liberty and breeding for the first time in a long while on the mainland - see: and



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