Monday, January 26, 2009

At 111, Henry the tuatara becomes a first-time dad

Henry, the famous 111-year-old tuatara from Invercargill in New Zealand, has finally become a dad. Nine of 11 eggs laid by his lover Mildred hatched at the Southland Museum at the weekend, with the remaining two due last night.
The baby tuatara, whose ancestors go back 220 million years, were all running around and doing well, chuffed museum tuatara curator Lindsay Hazley said.
Henry, a resident at the Southland Museum and Art Gallery since 1970, hit the world headlines in March when he finally proved to be a dad at age 111. Mildred subsequently laid 12 eggs, with 11 surviving.
Henry had been uninterested for the entire time he had been in captivity. He had been well-known for his aggression and for 15 years was kept in solitary confinement because he did not get on with other tuatara. But after a cancer growth was removed from his bottom he finally got in the mood.
Mr Hazley said he was "over the moon" that Henry had finally become a father. "After 36 years of looking after Henry I was chuffed about the mating, then the eggs hatched and now, after nurturing them for 223 days, we have got the results."

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