111-year-old to be first-time father

Last updated 00:02 06/08/2008
JOHN HAWKINS/Southland Times
DASHING DAD: Southland Museum tuatara curator Lindsay Hazley with Henry the tuatara and a sample of some of the tuatara eggs that have been laid this year. Henry's partner Mildred laid eggs but they were too fragile to be removed from the incubator for the picture.

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The high-profile sex romp early this year of Henry, a century-old tuatara from Invercargill, has resulted in his lover Mildred laying 12 eggs.

Henry, a resident at Southland Museum since 1970, hit the world headlines in March when he finally proved his manhood at 111 years old.

He had never shown an interest in mating until he was caught getting intimate with the much younger Mildred, aged between 70 and 80.

Museum staff put Henry's newfound desire down to a cancer growth being removed from his bottom.

Southland Museum tuatara curator Lindsay Hazley said Mildred laid 12 eggs on July 15 but one had since perished. The remaining 11 eggs were being kept in an incubator at between 18 and 21degC and were scheduled to hatch in about six months, he said.

"The fact they have come this far is a good positive sign. As each week goes by I get more confident the eggs will last." He now expected Henry to breed every season.

Henry was currently enjoying the company of three females in his enclosure, Mildred, Lucy and Juliet, with the next breeding season in eight months, Mr Hazley said.

"With these guys foreplay might take years. One has to be patient." Henry's love life had been a big hit with the public, Mr Hazley said.

"A few old people have come in having a good old chuckle, saying there was hope for them yet."

Another female tuatara at the museum had also laid 10 eggs last month. Henry was not the man in her life, 22-year-old Charles was.

Both lots of eggs were laid about two months earlier than expected, probably because a new roof over the museum's tuatara enclosure had provided extra warmth, allowing the process to happen earlier, Mr Hazley said.

Another four or five tuatara at the museum were also expected to lay eggs this season, he said.

 

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- The Southland Times

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