Tuatara means 'peaks on the back' in Māori, referring to the distinctive ridge of spines down their backs. 

Once widespread, Tuatara have been wiped out on the mainland by introduced predators. They have survived in the wild only on isolated pest-free offshore islands.

Tuatara grow very slowly and can live for 100 years or more.

Their teeth are part of the jaw bone and can't grow back when they wear down.

Tuatara lay 8-15 eggs in shallow burrows. The sex of the young depends on the soil temperature where the eggs are laid. Warmer soil results in males hatching.


Truly unique tuatara

Slow-growing, spiny-backed and truly unique - take a tour with Ectotherm keeper Julie and meet Toa, Tipua, Taki and Flame, just a few of the incredible tuatara that live at Auckland Zoo.