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Surprise Baby Tuatara Found Again

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A fifth baby tuatara has been discovered at the Invercargill Museum demolition site after extensive monitoring. Last week, demolition paused when four baby tuatara were found in their old enclosure, surprising experts who thought the tuatara there could not breed.

Invercargill City Council’s parks performance manager, Kate Gough, reported that the fifth baby was found after thorough exploration, including thermal imaging and examination of burrows. The juvenile tuatara, ranging in size from 110mm to 120mm and weighing 5g to 9g, are less than a year old.

The baby tuatara have been moved to a temporary home in Queens Park’s new tuatara facility and will be on display for the public on Saturday. The discovery came from an area where Brothers Island tuatara were housed, a species previously believed unable to breed at the museum.

Justin Carter, chief executive of Te Ātiawa ki Te Waka-a-Māui Trust, welcomed the unexpected news of the tuatara hatchlings. The new tuatara enclosure at Queens Park will open to the public on Saturday, June 8, with various celebrations including face painting, tuatara talks, rock hunts, and a sausage sizzle.

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