These unique creatures are a protected species under threat by man and various predators. The Tuatara existed in the time of the dinosaur and is considered to be their closest living relative. It is unique to New Zealand and according to the latest research, is thought to live to over 200 years.
They survive on about 30 small islands off our coast and are on the endangered species list.
The gestation period is 15 months and when hatched, the tuatara is about 5cms in length growing to 65cms for the male, weighing 900 grams and slightly less in weight and length for the female. They reach maturity at about 20 years.
A feature of this creature is the hidden 'third eye' under the skin on the top of its head. There is currently no explanation for this organ which is believed to be non-functional.
They are covered in scales and live in burrows coming out out to forage mainly at night. Their diet consists of spiders, earthworms, snails, bird eggs and wetas.
Their greatest threat to existence is the continuing encroachment of man, and of introduced species such as dogs, cats, rats and goats although this has now been largely negated due to their habitat on remote islands . The islands are kept free of any of these predators. There are encouraging signs that the population is increasing at a steady rate
Domestic breeding programs such as the one at the Southland Museum in Invercargill offer hope of this creatures continuing existence.
These are magnificent and rare beasts and deserve all the help that we in New Zealand can offer.
They will not survive otherwise.
This unique creature in bronze is 20cm (8") in length.
The tuatara are all free standing.
One depicts the tuatara with its mouth closed and the other closed.
I also do a silver edition of which there are currently two in existence.
Each piece has its own wooden box with a sliding lid. They are packed securely in wood wool to minimize any movement in transit.
The box has various stamps on it with the studio name, edition number and name of the bronze inside and my signature verifying its authenticity.
The Tuatara is signed and dated and has a ticket attached giving its name, its edition number and the year in which it was created.
Current tuatara production as at:
26 April 2019
Model II: jaw open
Model III: jaw closed
Model I: discontinued
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