RARE footage of an ancient reptile hatching from its egg has been caught on camera at Chester Zoo. 

Ancient reptile the tuatara has lived on the planet for more than 225 million years which is older than many species of dinosaur. 

Reptile experts at the zoo are the first in the world to breed the animal outside of their native home of New Zealand.

More than six of the rare species have now hatched and keepers now believe they have found a 'winning' formula to breeding these type of creatures.

The species became extinct in Europe, Asia, America and Africa around 70 million years ago but conservationists aren't sure how they were wiped out.

The rare reptile hatch caught on camera

The islands on which they remain in New Zealand are now protected and only few people are granted permission to visit. 

Reptile keeper, Isolde McGeorge said: "It took nearly 40 years of research and dedication to achieve the very first breeding of a tuatara outside their homeland in New Zealand last year. Now, after waiting all that time for the first to successfully hatch, six more have come along.

"Hatching these remarkable animals is a real testament to the skill and expertise of the herpetology team at the zoo. Hopefully this means we've found the winning formula in therms of breeding the species, which has been a mystery to schience for so long. Tuatara lived before the dinosaurs and have survived almost unchanged to the present day. They really are a living fossil and an evolutionary wonder.

"Breeding the species is an amazing event and almost as special is the fact we've now caught a tuatara hatching on film for the first time. It's very, very special footage -footage which has barely ever been recorded before, certainly not in this level of detail. We will be able to learn more and more about these amazing animals from this footage. It's incredibly unique and a real privilege to be able to witness something so rare."

The footage will be available to watch on The Secret Life of the Zoo which starts at 8pm on Tuesday, February 28 on Channel 4.