Animals Reptiles & Amphibians

Animals Reptiles & Amphibians

Tuatara


SCIENTIFIC NAME:
Sphenodon punctatus
PROFILE:

The Dallas Zoo is one of the few zoos in the United States that exhibits the rare and interesting tuatara. They look very similar to a lizard, but this unique animal is in an order all to itself! Their closest relatives went extinct millions of years ago, earning the tuatara the status of a living fossil. The two remaining species of tuatara can be found on small islands in New Zealand where they are threatened by predation from introduced domestic animals.

TYPE OF ANIMAL:
Reptile, Rhynchocephalia (tuataras)
NATIVE TO:
New Zealand
IUCN CONSERVATION STATUS:
Endangered
DIET:
Carnivore
LIFESPAN:
Up to 100+ years
SOCIAL STATUS:
Solitary
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