actually there is reason for my blog heading and I will get to it in a moment. Yesterday was my last day of work at DOC (the Department of Conservation for those of you who don't know), so its now my turn to blog the Snoopy happy dance (thanks
I still haven't got a departure date but I have couriered off my documents - $105 to send a few bits of paper by courier to Korea
(say "I couriered to Korea for my career" 3 times really fast!). I already gave notice on my flat and work (have I blogged this?) and yesterday was my last day at work. I actually worked a few extra hours to make sure that the person who is likely to take over my workload will have some direction. Anyway yesterday I over indulged with the snack box
and went to the social club Happy Hour
(I usually finish early so don't bother) but also the reptile man at work had a Tuatara and I got to hold it - woot. 'So what' you say, well...
It is the last remaining member of the ancient group of reptiles,
Tuatara is a Maori word meaning "peaks on the back". It is easy to see why.
The tuatara is famous because it is a very ancient – it is the only survivor
of a large group of reptiles that roamed the earth at the same time as dinosaurs. It hasn't changed its form much in over 225 million years! The relatives of tuatara died out about 60 million years ago which is why the tuatara is sometimes called a ‘living fossil’.
You might have thought tuatara are lizards…but they’re not.- The arrangement of their teeth is very special. The single row of teeth in the lower jaw fits between two rows of teeth in the upper jaw. This helps tuatara tear apart hard insects such as weta, and chew the heads off small seabirds!
Tuatara mate differently from lizards. The male tuatara does not have a penis; he mounts the female and passes sperm straight from his cloaca to hers (the cloaca is the hole that sperm enters the female through).
They have a gland beneath the skin on the head, which contains a simple ‘third eye’.
Lizards have visible ear openings but tuatara do not.
But like lizards, if they lose their tails they are able to regrow them - excellent!
What’s this about a ‘third eye’ ?? The ‘third eye’ is visible under young tuatara’s skin and becomes covered with scales after four to six months. The ‘third eye’ soaks up UV (ultra violet) rays in the first few months of the tuatara’s life. The young tuatara get Vitamin D from the UV rays, which helps them grow into healthy adult tuatara.But wait there's more:- They are capable of holding their breath for nearly an hour
Tuatara have one of the slowest growth rates of any reptile
Tuatara keep growing until they are about 35 years old
They will share burrows with birds, but a male might bite off a baby bird’s head if it is hungry – which doesn’t make it a very good house guest!
Anyhuu, enough nature talk (NZ Natural History 101), I put a heap of old gardening stuff on the footpath (er, I think some of you call it the pavement) with a "Free Stuff" sign and it all went -yipee, infact some kind soul (who took most of it) gave me $10 for it!! That's the second time, at my garage sale I had a "free to good home" sign on my fish (gold fish and inanga - a native NZ fish) and that person actually paid too! I would much prefer to give stuff away than to put it in a landfill.
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