Common garden skink

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Common garden skink at Bannerghatta National Park
Pale-flecked garden sunskink or
common garden skink or drop-tail skink
Garden skink.jpg
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Reptilia
Order: Squamata (paraphyletic)
Infraorder: Scincomorpha
Family: Scincidae
Subfamily: Lygosominae
Genus: Lampropholis
Species: L. guichenoti
Binomial name
Lampropholis guichenoti
(Duméril & Bibron, 1839)
Synonyms

Lygosoma guichenoti
Lygosoma (mocoa) guttulatum
Lygosoma duperreyii
Lygosoma (leiolopisma) guichenoti[1]

The pale-flecked garden sunskink or common garden skink (Lampropholis guichenoti) is a small common skink often seen in suburban gardens in Adelaide, Melbourne, Perth, Sydney and Brisbane in Australia, but are common across most of Southern Australia and some of New South Wales.

Description[edit]

Lampropholis guichenoti can grow to a maximum of 14 cm, but rarely exceeds 9cm. According to statistics, the average common garden skink lives up to 2–3 years. The garden skink usually has a browny black colour and sometimes may appear a dark shade of red when bathing in the sun. They have small sharp teeth which easily slice through smaller prey.

Gender[edit]

The female pale-flecked garden sunskink has a yellowish, almost orange tinge to her underside, however the males have a light grey tinge to their underside.

Diet[edit]

Garden skinks feed on larger invertebrates, including crickets, moths, slaters, earthworms, flies, grubs and caterpillars, grasshoppers, cockroaches, earwigs, slugs, dandelions, small spiders, ladybeetles, ants and many other small insects, which makes them a very helpful animal around the garden. They can also feed on fruit and vegetables, but the vegetables have to be cooked for the skink to be able to eat it. Skinks especially love bananas and strawberries etc. (no citrus fruit). Garden skinks rely purely on the movement of their prey when hunting. When hunting, the skinks will either hide and wait for prey to come by or actively pursue it (this depends on how hungry they are). Once they have caught their prey, they shake it around vigorously to kill it before swallowing it whole. Once they have had one meal, they begin to actively pursue prey for a short while with their newfound energy. Skinks only need one prey item per 4 or 5 days, but will eat every day if conditions are good, thus, making it an ideal pet for small children.[2]

Habitat[edit]

Skinks are often seen under leaves, in long grass and under rocks so that they can watch their prey, they also love hiding in logs where their big predators can't get them. As all reptiles are cold blooded, you may see them on top of rocks or paths in the morning trying to warm their blood. Skinks enjoy large areas with a lot of leaves and soft dirt. You normally find them around hot and dusty areas that have lots of trees and stumps.

Predators[edit]

The garden skink's predators are mainly birds and cats. Even tiny birds like robins are a threat to skinks. Larger lizards and snakes will sometimes try to eat them as well. Like many other skinks, its tail will drop if grasped roughly. The disconnected tail will twitch vigorously for a while, capturing the attention of the predator while the lizard makes its escape. This survival tactic may seem hard for the skink to tolerate, but it is quite the opposite. Although it may cost the skink some energy, the skink's tail will eventually grow back.

Eggs[edit]

The common garden skink is oviparous and lays small, white eggs between summer and mid autumn. The female usually lays about six eggs, often in communal clutches that may contain as many as 250 eggs altogether, usually under a cluster of rocks to keep them safe from predators. The eggs hatch in a matter of weeks after they are laid.

References[edit]