Acontias percivali

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Percival's Lance Skink
Acontias percivali
Acontias percivali.jpeg
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Reptilia
Order: Squamata
Suborder: Lacertilia
Family: Scincidae
Genus: Acontias
Species: A. percivali
Binomial name
Acontias percivali
(Loveridge, 1935)
Acontias percivali distribution (colored).png

Acontias percivali, also known as Percival's Legless Lizard, Tanzanian Legless Lizard, and Percival's Lance Skink, is a small, legless (snake-like) species of lizard in the family Scincidae, collectively known as "skinks".


The species' range is limited to continental Africa and includes regions of Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, South Africa, Kenya, Angola, and Tanzania.


Percival's lance skink inhabits savannas by burrowing just below the surface of the soil.


There are three subspecies of Acontias percivali:

  • Acontias percivali tasmani
  • Acontias percivali occidentalis
  • Acontias percivali percivali

Acontias percivali tasmani may be a subspecies of Acontias meleagris as seen after recent DNA sequencing tests.


Percival's lance skinks can be identified by their copper-brown back and gold underside. They are insectivores that specialize in feeding on beetle larvae, earthworms, and other slow-moving invertebrates. They are live bearing (ovoviviparous) and have 1 to 5 neonates at a time.

As pets[edit]

Although this animal is poorly understood, it is occasionally seen in pet shops. Most acontias that appear in the pet trade are wild-collected individuals of this species. In captivity, they require a deep layer of sandy substrate and hollow hiding places on the surface. They should be kept warm in the seventies (Fahrenheit) with a slightly warmer spot in the soil with about 30% humidity. They should be fed small mealworms, earthworms, or other slow-moving insect larvae. They can be kept in groups or alone. Acontias do not require a 'basking lamp' or any special lighting. Male acontias can be distinguished from females by a slightly larger head. Captive breeding is possible, but currently has not been accomplished commercially. Care should be taken to make sure the young are well hydrated by providing higher humidity shortly after their birth.