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Other Species Of Skinks

One of the most unusual species of skinks is the Australian stump-tailed skink (Tiliqua rugosa), one of very few species that does not have a long, pointed tail. The stubby tail of this species looks remarkably like the head, and the animal may have to be examined closely to tell which way it is pointing. This species is sometimes called the pine-cone lizard, because of its unusually large body scales. Unlike most skinks, this lizard is mainly herbivorous.

A juvenile 5-lined skink (Eumeces fasciatus). JLM Visuals. Reproduced by permission.

The giant skink (Corucia zebrata) of the Solomons and nearby islands in the Pacific Ocean is another unusual species of skink. This tropical forest lizard spends much of its time climbing in trees. It has a prehensile tail and strong, clawed feet to aid with its clamberings. The giant skink can attain a body length of 26 in (65 cm), and is the largest species in its family.

The snake skinks are various species in the genus Ophiomorus, which either have greatly reduced limbs, or are completely legless. Species of snake skinks occur in southwestern Asia and the Middle East.

The recently extinct skink, Didosaurus mauritianus, was the world's largest species of skink, occurring on Mauritius and nearby islands in the Indian Ocean. This skink was rendered extinct by mammalian predators that humans introduced to its island habitats, particularly rats, mongooses, and pigs. Mauritius was also the home of the world's most famous extinct animal, the turkey-sized flightless bird known as the dodo (Raphus cucullatus).



Grzimek, B., ed. Grzimek's Encyclopedia of Animals. London: McGraw Hill, 1990.

Bill Freedman

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