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Tuatara Naming Rights Up For Grabs

Tuatara Naming Rights Up For Grabs

Rotorua, 20 October 2011- Rainbow Springs’ ten baby tuatara siblings are now on display to the public and to celebrate, the team has created a series of quirky Trademe listings where people can bid for the right to name them.

Promoted as the ‘next best thing to having your own pet dinosaur’, the winners of the three listings each get to name two of the baby tuatara and will also receive a family pass to Rainbow Springs and have a photo opportunity with their named tuatara.

The tuatara is one of the oldest animals on the planet, and the closest living relative to the dinosaur. Native to New Zealand, they are extremely rare and hard to breed.

“Obviously we can’t give them to you to take home but you can be assured that your own little ‘dinosaurs’ will be well looked after at Rainbow Springs” reads the auction.

The funds raised from the winning bids will go to further the conservation, education and captive breeding programme for tuatara at Rainbow Springs. All three of the auctions are already sitting at over $200.

The auctions close at about 6.30pm on Friday 21st October so there is still time for people to make a bid and secure the rights to name a pair of creatures who, with a lifespan of over 100 years, will most likely outlive them.

The ten baby tuatara were born in April this year after a 184 day incubation period. They were then cared for in a nursery before going on display to the public in a larger enclosure this month.

Rainbow Springs General Manager Michelle Caldwell says “With school holidays on, and our baby tuatara on display, it’s a great time to bring the kids along to Rainbow Springs. The tuatara are camouflaged and there are so many of them so it’s a fun game trying to spot them all.”

The tuatara is an ancient reptile which roamed the earth at the same time as the dinosaurs more than 225 million years ago. Because the tuatara outlasted its relatives which died out some 60 million years ago they are sometimes called a ‘living fossil’.

Tuatara Facts:

Tuatara have the potential to live up to 300 years in the right conditions. The average life span is 80 - 100 years. The oldest in captivity is Henry who is 120 - 130 years old in the Tuatarium at Invercargill.

Tuatara take 35 years to grow to their full size of 600mm (24 inches or 2ft).  They also have the longest incubation period of any reptile with eggs taking up to 15 months to hatch.

In cooler temperatures during winter their metabolism slows down to 10 heart beats per min and 1 breath per hour. During this time, because their metabolism has slowed they don't require food.

They can survive without eating for a year.

Tuatara are ‘stand-and wait’ carnivores that snatch almost any small animal straying within reach, including weta, spiders, skinks, geckos, and even birds and their eggs or chicks.

Juvenile tuatara are often diurnal (active during the daytime) to avoid being prey for larger (largely nocturnal) tuatara.

In Māori tuatara means 'spiny back' and refers to the row of spines down its back.

Rainbow Springs Kiwi Wildlife Park is an icon of New Zealand tourism and has been open since 1932.  Spread over 22 acres of Rotorua parkland, Rainbow Springs is a conservation and breeding haven for endangered New Zealand species such as Kiwi and tuatara. The park offers a unique wildlife experience for visitors, who can see animals in their natural environment, both during the day and night.  Features of the award winning tourist attraction include New Zealand’s first ‘open to view’ Kiwi hatchery, and a range of wildlife including trout, tuatara and native birds.

Rainbow Springs, Fairy Springs Road, Rotorua.

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