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REPTILE ACTION: Four tuatara eggs have been found in a nest in Karori Sanctuary.

Wild sex in the sanctuary

By DAVE BURGESS - The Dominion Post | Saturday, 01 November 2008

The first tuatara eggs have been laid in the wild on mainland New Zealand in more than 200 years.

Karori Wildlife Sanctuary staff accidentally unearthed four leathery white eggs during maintenance work near the sanctuary’s predator-proof fence.

It is believed to be the first confirmed mainland nest since the 1700s when tuatara were wiped out by egg predators, especially rats.

Sanctuary conservation manager Raewyn Empson said tuatara were seen mating in April last year. “We knew of two suspected nests but didn’t want to disturb them to confirm whether or not they contained eggs.

“[This] is the first concrete proof we have that our tuatara are breeding. It suggests that there may be other nests in the sanctuary we don’t know of.” She said the discovery “takes the cake” in what has been achieved at the sanctuary.

It is likely that there are more than four eggs in the nest as an average clutch is 10.

The tuatara could hatch anytime from now till March and would care for themselves.

Posted by Frank - October 31, 2008

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