Explainer: How invasive species ratted out the tuatara

Humans introduced rats to New Zealand, causing huge losses to native reptile populations

By Cristy Gelling, 17:27 PM April 8, 2014

Today’s tuatara — a lizard-like reptile found only in New Zealand — face a major threat: the elimination of all females. Contributing to this threat is a climate that may be warming too fast for this species (Sphenodon punctatus) to adapt. But this is just the latest in a string of dangers the tuatara (TOO ah TAAR ah) have encountered. Indeed, their species has already survived an earlier risk of extinction brought about by the arrival of mammals.

For a long time, New Zealand had no land mamma...

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