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Ablepharus kitaibelii 01.jpg
European snake-eyed skink, Ablepharus kitaibelii
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Reptilia
Order: Squamata
Family: Scincidae
Subfamily: Scincinae
Genus: Ablepharus

Ablepharus bivittatus
Ablepharus budaki
Ablepharus chernovi
Ablepharus darvazi
Ablepharus deserti
Ablepharus grayanus
Ablepharus kitaibelii
Ablepharus pannonicus
Ablepharus rueppellii

Ablepharus is a genus of skinks that contains the common snake-eyed skinks.[1] Their name refers to the fact that their eyelids have fused to a translucent capsule; as in snakes, they thus are physically incapable of blinking.[2] They resemble small lizards and prefer to live in the leaf litter of dry fields and hills.[3] Their scales give them a very shiny, bronze appearance with a characteristically dark stripe down the sides of their bodies. They prey on small insects and other small mollusks.[4]

General Characteristics[edit]


The scales on all Ablepharus species are shiny and bronze in appearance. There is also a very characteristic bronze stripe that runs along the length of their bodies. They have short, weak arms which contributes to the fact that they move in a very serpentine-like manner. In general, females are longer and weigh more than their male counterparts. They also have thick tails relative to their body sizes and lengths.[4] Fully mature Ablepharus species can reach up to 15 cm in length. On average, both males and females reach up to about an average of 13 cm in length.[5]

Mannerisms and Habitat

As a whole, Ablepharus skinks are generally shy creatures. They tend to bask in the sunlight during the daytime and become more active as dusk and darkness approaches.[5] They make their homes in rocky areas with leaf litter and little soil.[6]

Geographic Distribution

The geographic range of the common snake-eyed skink spans from southern European countries to northern African countries; there are also some species native to southeast Asia.[5] While most of the species in the genus Ablepharus prefer remaining low to the ground and in drier environments, some species may be found in damper habitats up to 2,000 meters above sea level.[4]


Analysis of the stomach contents of certain Ablepharus species has led to the conclusion that common snake-eyed skinks are typically generalist predators.[6] They mainly feed on small arthropods, mollusks, and small snails.[4]

Life Span and Life Cycle

In captivity, the common snake-eyed skinks are known to survive up to 3 and a half years; in the wilderness, where they are preyed upon, they life up to about 2 and a half years.[4] Upon reaching reproductive maturity, the female snake-eyed skink will lay between two and four eggs at a time; these eggs will then take at least 9 weeks to develop to the point when they can hatch. Hatchlings typically measure around three-and-a-half centimeters long. It takes about two years in order for the hatchlings to reach reproductive maturity, and then the life cycle continues.[4]


There are ten species in the genus:[1]

Native species found in Azerbaijan, Turkey, south-eastern and central Armenia, Iran, and Turkmenistan.
Ablepharus bivittatus can typically be found inhabiting thorny shrubbery, grasslands, and rocky slopes.[7]
Native species found in Turkey, Syria, Lebanon, and Cyprus.
Ablepharus budaki are typically found inhabiting the leaf litter, woodlands, shrubbery, and forests in humid areas.[8]
Native species found in Syria, Turkey, and Armenia.
Ablepharus chernovi can typically be found hiding under leaf litter and small stones in open areas with little shrubbery or forestation. Some of this particular species may also be found on some of the gentler slopes on some mountain ranges.[9]
Native species found in Tajikistan, India, Afghanistan, and Pakistan.[10]
Native species found in Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, and Kyrgyzstan.
Ablepharus desertiare generally observed in desert lands and dry slopes with several different types of angiosperms at around 2,000 meters above sea level.[11]
Native Species found in Central Asia, Pakistan, India, Afghanistan, and Kyrgyzstan
Ablepharus grayanus mostly keep to the mountainous areas of the regions mentioned previously for this species.
Native species found in southern Slovakia, Serbia, Hungary, Eastern Croatia, Albania, Greece, southern Romania, Macedonia, and Turkey.
Ablepharus kitaibelii are found in arid regions containing meadows, scrubland, and woodland clearings as well as hilly areas.[12]
  • Ablepharus lindbergi — Lindberg’s snake-eyed skink (sometimes Ablepharus bivittatus lindbergi)
Native species found in western Afghanistan.[13]
Native species found in the United Arab Empirates, eastern Georgia, Iraq, Iran, Oman, Pakistan, Syria, Jordan, Afghanistan, Caucasus, northwestern India, southwestern Tajikistan, southern Turkmenistan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, and western Azerbaijan.[14]
Native species found in central and northern Israel, the Sinai Peninsula of Egypt, southern Lebanon, western and northern Jordan, and possible reported sightings of this particular species in Syria and Jordan.
Ablepharus rueppellii go against the grain within the Ablepharus genus in that they live in more heavily forested areas with dense vegetation. They prefer more humid areas, especially the oasis in Egypt.[15]