The Prehistoric Animal Brigade – Weekly Photo Challenge – Unique

Dear Friends,

It’s every boy’s dream to meet a real life dinosaur and I was lucky enough to have that dream come true this week…almost! I had a close up experience with some tuatara at Rainbow Springs in Rotorua.


Tuatara are the only species of the rhynocephalids to survive anywhere on earth. The rest became extinct 65 million years ago around the same time as dinosaurs, and since then they have hardly changed. Because of this, they are sometimes called living fossils. Tuatara are amongst the slowest growing and longest lived reptiles, with a life span of 60 to 100 years. Today they are considered endangered, as they are only found in the wild on 32 small islands off the coast of New Zealand.


 There is an active tuatara breeding program at Rainbow Springs and I saw adults basking under their sunlamps and babies catching crickets for their breakfast. They are carnivores and like to eat small animals, so I was glad to be on the other side of the glass at feeding time.


Hold on tight, Mr Zookeeper.




  1. Thanks for this information Justin, I hadn’t heard of tuatara before.

  2. Do you know how closely they are related to Bearded Dragons?

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