Skink: 8 Interesting Facts, 5 Common Species & 6 Fun Facts

Brief introduction and history

The word skink has derived from other lizards which are there in the dessert. Skinks are also lizards, and they belong to the family of Scincidae and a group of reptiles called infra-order Scincidae. They belong to one of the most diverse families of lizards. These creatures first appeared in fossil records about 140 million years ago. Some of these species love spending time in trees and greenery. Some people keep skinks as a pet and enjoy their presence. They are dependent on the type of habitat and according to the food around them.

Physical characteristics

1. Appearance and size

The skinks have profound necks, cone-shaped heads, and small legs. They do not have limbs. Their locomotion is not like other lizards; it resembles that of a wild snake. The species have long tapering tails which help them to protect themselves from the attack of predators. These species can regenerate the lost parts of its body. They range from the size of 7.5cm to 15 cm in maximum length. They are referred as the second largest group of lizards. Different species have different sizes. The prehensile-tailed skink resembles a lot like a snake because of the similar features. The smaller species ranges from 1 to 3 feet in length. This creature has dark brown stripes on its body.

2. Diet and food

Skinks are known to be carnivorous. Some particular skinks are also insectivorous. They mainly depend on flies, butterflies, moth and caterpillars. Many species of skinks also consume earthworms and snail from the ground. Their diet plan is totally different. They feed on vegetables and fresh fruits.

3. Habitat and distribution

Yellow skink over the black.The species of skinks are found in the entire habitat worldwide. They are rarely found in boreal and Polar Regions. Skinks are mostly seen in deserts and mountains. Some species are aquatic, they are found in lakes and rivers. They are splendid sand swimmers.

4. Reproduction and lifespan

The female skinks lay eggs in clutches. The eggs are hatched in the female tract, and then the offsprings emerge as live births. They lay their eggs in summer and mid of autumn.

5. Behavior

All the species of skink love to dig and burrow. Most of the skinks spend their time in digging the ground in temperate regions. They feel safe in the tunnels from the predators and other enemies. Because of their natural skin color, they have many enemies around them. These secretive ground dwellers can also dig out the large tunnel to navigate quickly. The majority of skinks are found in Southeast Asia and North America. They are cold blooded. They chase their prey until they don’t take its first bite and swallow the whole prey.

6. Breeding

The reproductive tract in the female is used to provide the food to the offsprings. Their breeding functionality is same that of other mammals.

7. Nesting

Skinks usually look for shelters in areas such as thick foliage and human-made structures. They are mostly seen in ground level building and first apartments. They are often seen guarding their nests and eggs. If you ever observe a nest nearby, within a month, you will see about 20 to 230 lizards.

8. Predators

It has many predators and includes raccoons, foxes hawks, and lizards. Their long gestation period makes the skinks an easy prey to their predators.

Common skinks

1. Wo-spinner rainbow skink

Rainbow skinks are also known as garden skinks. They are mostly found in Australia. Their average size is 2feet in length. During the breeding season, they show unusual colorations. Their eyes are covered by an eyelid which is used to protect the eye from dust and in the litter.

2. Rainbow skink

Rainbow skinks love to live in the woodlands. They mainly feed on various invertebrates. They have large eyes which help them to see their prey in dim light. The female broadhead skink has three keels and dorsal scales on its body. Its clutch contains two or three eggs. Males display blue-greenish color on heads during the breeding season.

3. Wall lizard or fence skink

Wall lizards are the species of lizard which is found in Asia in huge numbers. These are small lizards with different patterns on its body. It sometimes has a row of black spots on its back. The tail of wall lizard is brown in color. These tiny lizards enjoy living in the rocky environment and urban setting. They also live in the humid habitat. The region of the belly has scales of various patterns. You find them in gray to brownish color.

4. Common gray skink

Common gray skink is the species of small skinks. They are mostly found in Australia. They size of a common gray skink varies from 9 to 14 cm. The average life span estimated is two to three years. They appear as dark brown in color and sometimes gray as well. Their teeth are very sharp which helps them to catch their prey. They bite humans when they try to touch or harm them.Blue-tongued skink is sticking out the tongue on the white.

5. Northern blue tongue

The northern blue tongue skinks are the largest and the heaviest species of skink. They live about 20 years. They have a very distinctive pattern on its back. They appear in bright orange color with dark brown straps on its bodies. Their dark blue back is used to warn the predators from attacking them. Their legs are short, but the body is large. Their breeding season occurs only once in a year. When the male skink finds a suitable female, he starts following her. Their mating method is very aggressive. The male holds the female by biting her hard and the method can also cause damage to the scales of the female. Their gestation period usually lasts for 100 days. The offsprings produced are similar to the adults except for the color and pattern on their bodies. The offsprings wander by themselves and start living an independent life. They start eating insects after few days of their birth.

Skink as pets

It is certain that many people keep skink as pets. They are also great pets. Because of their playful nature, they are a source of entertainment for the humans. You need to take good care of skinks. Otherwise, they will die.

The blue-tongued skink

These skinks are mostly originated in Australia. These creatures are habitat to open areas such as woodlands and semi-desserts. They have a body of approximately 30 feet in length. They have broad bodies and short legs. One of their distinctive features includes blue tongue. Their docile nature makes them easy to handle and tame. Even small children can deal with them.
As they have massive bodies, they are kept in 40-45 gallon tank. The blue-tongued skinks are very agile to nature, and they enjoy their playful and friendly environment. They also need some source of heat to maintain the temperature. These creatures are omnivorous, and they consume a different kind of food. Skinks are fed on 60% plants and 40% insects. Plant food includes vegetables and fruits. Fruit is a very healthy addition to their diet. When these blue-tongued skinks are hungry, they will show signs. There long squarish bodies need fresh water around them all the time.Skink is biting human's finger.

Skink bites and treatment

Some skinks are poisonous while others are not. If a skink bites, you must take the precautions and actions immediately. No need to sit and wait for the distressing symptoms. The symptoms of skink bitten may precede mild. Take some remedy and don’t try to invite any risk element. The best thing is to trap that skink so that it may not hurt others. Always remember that skinks usually inject venom during its bite. Immediately call for an emergency if a skink bites you. Because the area might swell and it will be difficult to remove it. You can also use a pen to mark the area of swelling. You need to apply direct pressure to stop the flow of blood. Clean the bite quickly to avoid any chance of infection to the point of injury. After the bite, wash the wound for 5 to 7 minutes. If you need a tetanus shot go for it.

Other fun facts

Here are some fun facts that might amaze you:

  • They are omnivorous and have such strong jaws that they can easily break the snails and beetles shell.
  • Their smooth bodies have overlapping scales.
  • In case their tail breaks off, it immediately regrows.
  • The blue-tongued skink has a bright blue tongue.
  • When they feel a threat, the wild skink puff of its body and stick his tongue out to hiss. This scenario also shocks the predator.
  • People usually kill it as the think it as a snake.

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