Tuataras Wait 40 Years to Mate, Inspire Romance Film

tuatara photo
Photo via Wikipedia Commons

It's hard to exist for 200 million years on the planet without picking up a few important life lessons along the way -- like knowing when to take things slow. Henry and Mildred are two elderly tuartaras, a lizard-like species that has remained virtually unchanged since dinosaurs roamed the Earth, and they decided to wait a while to start a family, a long, long while. After a romance stretching over four decades, the 111-year-old male and 80 year-old female stunned the world by finally making babies. Now their reptilian romance has inspired a film -- proving that even old cold-blooded animals can still get hot.When the elderly reptiles first mated after a long period of abstinence back in 2008, news of their successful reproduction made them instant celebrities. And, for a pair of filmmakers from New Zealand, the extendo-romance between Henry and Mildred seemed like the perfect centerpiece for a documentary on the fascinating, yet little known tuartara species.

Love in Cold Blood, a film by Carla Braun-Elwert and Jane Adcroft, tells the tale of the two elderly tuartara, residents at Southland Museum in Invercargill, New Zealand, and their romance decades in the making.

The two tuatara had been paired together several times over the years by the museum's staff, but the spark of passion seemed to be lacking. A tumor was found on Henry that may have been slowing down his functioning -- but he was apparently renewed after a surgery was performed to fix him.

From the film's Web site:

To cut a long story short, Henry had an operation to his vital parts, and got his mojo back in 2002. Then, late one afternoon in April 2008, for the first time, Henry was found atop Mildred in their enclosure- to the great delight of the Museum curator and staff. This event made headlines all over the world- read some of the news explosion here.

Six months later, Mildred had laid eleven eggs... and roughly two hundred days after that, eleven precious little tuatara hatched into this world. Go Mildred!

Although the film premiered in New Zealand last year, it is has been gaining a wider audience around the world recently. The film was awarded best newcomer, merit for narration and merit for script at the International Wildlife Film Festival, and garnered awards from the Reel Earth Environmental Film Festival, Best New Zealand Film and Best Emerging Filmmakers awards.

Check out the film's trailer below:

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More on Animals Enjoying Their Golden Years
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