Tuatara are nocturnal - they become active after sunset. By day they will bask in the sun outside their burrow, yet if a prey item was to walk past it would be consumed. One of the reasons for their nocturnal behavior is the majority of insects they prey on, weta’s and darkling beetles are themselves nocturnal.
Basically anything that moves and can fit into their mouth, and then some. (including their own babies)
An adult Tuatara requires very little food for survival consuming one quarter of their body weight per year.
Generally three speeds are recognizable. The main one is sitting motionless for hours. Second is moving at a sedate slow walk and the third is a high speed short dash that lasts for two or three seconds. In this dash they can cover 5 to 10 meters.
This happens February March and April. The males find a high spot to perch and show themselves off. During courtship, the male displays himself by inflating his trunk and throat. His crest is also elevated. He walks in a clock-wise circle around the female, one step at a time, after each step lifting his body off the ground. If the female is receptive small, slow head nodding to the displaying male will usually result in mating.
Tuatara lay clutches of eggs, 5-18 eggs laid under the ground’s surface and abandoned to hatch 12-14 months later. On Stephens Island females lay only once every four years and this happens around October or November. Mating occurs in March and April.
Tuatara are territorial with each animal having its own underground burrow. The dominant (largest) Tuatara will go where ever they please.
Fighting is a similar display to mating, but the throat is more inflated and the movements more rapid, (3-4 second burst of action, rest 10-20 min before next bout). Fighting Tuatara will strategically move side by side, lunging at one another’s neck or head. They also vocalize a ‘croak’ sound as they attack or break out of a vice-like bite of an attacker.