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Kumi lizard

The kumi lizard is a large, unknown, tree-dwelling species of lizard said to inhabit New Zealand. If confirmed, it would likely be a monitor lizard, making it the only one of its kind in New Zealand.

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Kumi lizard

Reptile, Lizard, Monitor lizard


New Zealand cryptid, Polynesian cryptid


Mountain-dwelling, Rainforest-dwelling


Carnivore, Out-of-place, Arboreal, Featured in Native folklore, Presumably extinct

The kumi Lizard, also called the ngarara, is an unknown arboreal monitor lizard inhabiting the treetops of the North Island rainforest and northern South Island, New Zealand. Its description is vague, but it is green in colour and about 5 ft long. it seems to live in the canopy and raid bird nests.

The first recorded sighting was by Captain James Cook in 1785, when a man named “Taweiharooa” told him of man-eating giant lizards, eight feet long that would occasionally dig burrows. In 1875, a kumi lizard corpse was found that washed up from the Hokianga river, and a separate skeleton of a kumi lizard was found the same year, also in the Hokianga River. On September 20th, 1898, a kumi lizard attacked a bushman in Arowhana, before quickly climbing up a rata tree to escape.

There hasn’t been a sighting I know of, of a kumi lizard in more then 100 years, so it is likely extinct or is in very small numbers. Some theorize the Kumi Lizard to be related to the Crocodile Monitor, inhabiting New Guinea or the Mangrove Monitor, inhabiting many south pacific islands, so it wouldn’t be unlikely they have inhabited New Zealand.

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