The natives are coming and it's going to be a Close Encounter of the Gecko and skink kind. New Zealand native geckos and skinks will be visiting Waihi next Wednesday to show off their beauty and uniqueness.
The display has become an annual event in the Go Waihi Goldfest calendar and locals and visitors of all ages are welcome to have a 'gecko' at the geckos and skinks.
This is an opportunity to get up close and personal with these jewels from the New Zealand landscape. There will be some real gems on display this year and some of the lizards are used to being handled and are happy to sit on a hand.
New Zealand was a land of birds, lizards and insects after mammals died out millions of years ago (with the exception of a native bat), and lizards were abundant throughout the country until introduced mammals and human progress interrupted their ecosystems..
Loss of habitat and predators have taken their toll on New Zealand's reptiles and they are also threatened by illegal poaching. Predators include mice, rats, hedgehogs, weasels, stoats, ferrets, cats, possums, some birds and pigs.
New Zealand lizards are all protected species and may only be kept and studied by approved and licensed keepers.
A specialist 'herpetologist', Malcolm, will be setting up the display outside the Waihi Memorial Hall in Seddon Street from 10 am to 2 pm on Wednesday, 3 October.
Malcolm and his lizards were a big hit when he displayed them at the inaugural 'LogFest' which was held out at the Victoria Battery two years ago.
There are many fascinating things to learn about New Zealand geckos and skinks and everyone is welcome to visit the display for a close encounter to 'get up close and personal'.