New Zealand Reptiles

The Otorohanga Kiwi House & Native Bird Park is home to the Tuatara (ancient lizard), geckoes and skink... Learn more about these creatures here!

download the complete set of Kiwi House Species Fact Sheets» Gecko
» Otagense Skink
» Tuatara

See also:
» Photo Gallery
» New Zealand Birds



Common name: Gecko Gecko
Latin name:
Maori name:
Description: The inside of its mouth and tongue are a deep shade of mauve. Occasionally the green is replaced by a yellow colour type color phase but the lizard may still be mottled with a lighter colour. This colour varient does appear in some of the other species of green geckos. Normally the young are produced in August. Grows to approximately 95mm
Habitat/Distribution: From upper half of the North Island.
Principal threats: There are two main threats to geckos: predation and habitat destruction. All New Zealand geckos are vulnerable to mammalian predation. Predators include mice, rats, hedgehogs, weasels, stoats, ferrets, cats, possums and pigs.
Conservation status:

Common name: Otagense Skink Otagense Skink
Latin name: Oligosoma otagense
Maori name:
Description: Weigh up to 52 grams. Colouring is black on the upper surface with bold, greenish/gold blotches on the back, sides, limbs and tail. The under surfaces are light grey or yellowish with black mottling.
Habitat/Distribution: Central Otago areas around the Macraes Flat and Middlemarch districts, east of the Rock and Pillar Range. Otago skinks inhabit areas with schist tors, outcrops and bluffs.
Principal threats: – Introduced mammalian predators
– Loss and degradation of habitat.
Conservation status: DoC Status: Nationally critical
IUCN Status: Critically endangered
Fact sheet: » Otagense Skink fact sheet

Common name: Tuatara Tuatara
Latin name: Sphenodon punctatus
Maori name: Tuatara (means 'peaks on the back')
Description: Similar in appearance to lizards, the tuatara is the only surviving member of a reptile family known as Sphenodon, meaning 'wedge tooth'.

Sphenodons became extinct some 60 million years ago, leaving the tuatara as the last remaining representative or 'living fossil'. Tuatara may live up to 100 years; males weigh around 1 kg and are some 50 cm in length. Females are shorter and a good deal lighter. Skin colouration can vary between animals from an olive green to dark pink or slate grey. Young Tuatara possess a third eye or 'pineal eye', which has a lens, retina and nervous connections to the brain, but has no visual function. Males have no sexual organ. They can swim well and are most active between 7–22 degrees Celsius.
Habitat/Distribution: Once found right throughout New Zealand, they are now restricted to predator-free offshore islands.
Principal threats: – Introduced predators
– Habitat changes and deforestation has contributed to their decline on the mainland.
Conservation status: Protected since 1895
Fact sheet: » Tuatara fact sheet


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