Family Values : ‘Living Fossil’ Becomes a Daddy at 111

Big Daddy! The tuatara looks little different from its Jurassic relatives. Photo by Frans Lanting / National Geographic.

After 40 years of celibacy, grumpy centenarian reptile finally gets frisky.
January 26, 2009

A rare New Zealand reptile has become a father, possibly for the first time, at the age of 111.

The keepers of Henry, a tuatara, had thought he was past his prime – especially after showing no interest in females during 40 years in captivity.

But he mated with 80-year-old Mildred last July and 11 of the eggs she produced have now hatched.

Henry’s keepers have put his newfound vigour down to a recent operation to remove a tumour from his bottom.

‘Love story’

Henry arrived at Southland Museum in the South Island city of Invercargill in 1970 and, his keepers say, soon became overweight and idle.

He was known for his foul temper and had a tendency to attack other tuatara – forcing the museum to keep him in solitary confinement for many years.

But since his operation, Museum tuatara curator Lindsay Hazley said he had had a “major personality transplant.”

“I have done lots of eggs before but these are just special because they are Henry’s,” Mr Hazley told the Southland Times.

Tuatara, which are found only in New Zealand, are sometimes referred to as “living fossils.”

They are the only surviving members of a family of species which walked the Earth with the dinosaurs more than 200 million years ago.

The museum now has about 70 of the rare creatures, and Mr Hazley is hopeful that Henry might provide more offspring in the future.

He lives with three female tuatara “in great harmony,” said Mr Hazley, and described the hatching of the eggs as “the completion of a love story.”

Source / BBC News

Thanks to Dian Donnell / The Rag Blog

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4 Responses to Family Values : ‘Living Fossil’ Becomes a Daddy at 111

  1. What a guy! A true beacon of hope for some of The Rag Blog’s senior correspondents and former lounge lizards!

  2. Look out ladies… Ray’s feeling frisky!

  3. Anonymous says:

    “Rush blasts Polygamous New Zealand Community” (AP)

    Right wing radio bully, Rush Limbog, has called for investigation of a polygamous village Down Under. Mr. Limbog is “disgusted” to learn that a 40 year old male has forced himself on an 80 year old grandma and required his other “wives” to raise the 10 children born of this unholy union. Bush, (editor: I believe the writer meant Rush there) stated that he was pleased however that the grandma had no access to selective abortion, because “every lizard deserves a life & old women don’t deserve any right to choose”. Limbog recommended that Texas state police and social workers be called in to consult on this matter, as no one has more practice in blundering in to “protect” children. Rush futher opined that all infant lizards currently being raised by half-sisters, aunts or transgender uncles, should be placed into protective custody “somewhere, anywhere, it doesn’t really matter where, since all lizards look alike”.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Actually I think Henry the Tuatara may have been INSPIRED by some TRB’s senior correspondents!!

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