The tautara is the only survivor of the beak-headed order of reptiles, called Rhynchocephalia, that goes back to the time of the dinosaurs. It hunts by night and its prey are insects. Like the coelecanth, a prehistoric fish that still survives, the tautara is almost a living fossil.
It can now be found only on some of the small islets off the coast of New Zealand, having been exterminated from the mainland. It basks in the sun during the day and burrows into the soil for safely. It is covered in scales and grows to about 30 ins.