What reptiles can you find in New Zealand?
New Zealand is world-famous for its diverse flora and fauna, but what’s not often mentioned are our reptiles. We have a small collection of them – just tuatara, geckos and lizards.
Many explorers will love to know that despite being so close to Australia (and its mostly toxic 140 species of land snakes), New Zealand doesn’t have a single snake to its name.
Here’s what you might find in our wilderness!
The tuatara is an extremely special little reptile. It’s sometimes known as a ‘living dinosaur’ due to its familial similarities with these extinct beasts, and is found only in New Zealand.
Once a common sight on the mainland, these reptiles have only survived in the wild on offshore islands, and are now a focus for conservation and a massive interest to biologists around the world.
There are more than 99 species of lizard in New Zealand, according to the Department of Conservation, and many of them are geckos and skinks.
Geckos are quite common around the country, with at least 39 species ranging from bright green to yellow and brown. They are noisy and can live for a long time, and can drop their tails as a defence mechanism (which then grow back in time).
As many as 33 of our skink species are endemic, and these sun-loving reptiles are a favourite of household cats, but are still abundant throughout the country.
Tristan Cullen - Passionate Conservationist