Tuatara or Sphenodon Punctatus is a strange lizard like animal that has three eyes. It is the only animal in the reptile group which is placed in a separated subgroup rhynchocephalia. Although it resembles lizards it is truly a precious living fossil since this reptile order goes back to the time of the dinosaurs. Tuatara is found only on the islets of New Zealand. A full grown male weighs upto 1 kg but females weigh only half that of a mature male of similar age. The strange thing about this animal is that it has three eyes. The cone like third eye is called the pineal eye. This eye is situated in a hole an eyelid over the third eye which closes horizontally.
One can’t say anything about the use of the third eye of this animal but certainly it had some use for these perhistoric animals. This animal is active at night. Generally it llives in burrows often in company with sea birds. It is a very shy and retiring animal. It eats insects other animals like frogs rats and eggs of birds also. The average life of a Tuatara usually does not exceed 77 years, but some Tuataras may live upto 100 years. It is a unique animal and represents a whole vanished order of reptiles. All other species except this one became extinct and only this particular type has lived unchanged till the present day In captivity it can live upto fifty years only. This strange animal is now facing extinction. The government of New Zealand has been making great efforts to prevent the extinction of this animal.