Reptiles

Skink, Shingleback

RANGE
Southern and Central Australia

HABITAT
Dry habitats with sparse land growth. Desert grasslands and dune areas.

SIZE
12 to 14 inches in length.

LIFE EXPECTANCY
20 years

REPRODUCTION

  • Ovoviviparous
  • Gives birth to one or two live young after a period of about 3 months.
  • Newborn skinks are already about half the size of the adults. This gives the babies a chance to grow quickly enough to be ready for the next drought.

DIET
Omnivores
Wild: Vegetation, insects and snails.
Zoo: Kale, carrots, assorted shredded fruits and vegetables, mealworms & crickets

BEHAVIOR

  • Diurnal
  • Slow moving, peaceful manner, occasionally making their way into burrows to escape the hot sun.
  • Many can often be found in rabbit warrens.
  • Skinks are adapted well to their uncertain climate of rains and drought.

POINTS OF INTEREST

  • These lizards are very sturdily built with a large triangular head, short, strong limbs and a thick, stumpy tail.
  • A reserve of fat is stored in its tail much like a camel stores fat in its hump. This is a valuable adaptation, as it lives in an arid climate marked by periods of drought.
  • The tail resembles the head and they use this as a defense to confuse potential predators. This adaptation is called self-mimicry.
  • This skink is also known as the stump-tailed skink, pinecone skink, bobtail skink, two-headed skink, sleepy skink and boggi.
  • Has Jacobson’s organ in roof of mouth to help find food.

STATUS
Common

REFERENCES
1. Prior Shingleback skink fact sheet at Louisville Zoo (July 1998)
2. http://www.whozoo.org/Intro2003/RyanBenn/RMB_ShinglebackSkink.html