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Reptiles

Falla's Skink

fallas skink

Oligosoma fallai

Distribution:

Three Kings Island, about 58km north-west of the North Island of New Zealand

Habitat:

The skink lives among low-growing plants on the lower slopes of the islands

Diet:

Ground insects, crustacans and the berries of a native daphne bush. They also ear the parthly-digested fish regurgitated by young gannets. In Hamilton Zoo, they are fed insects and pureed fruit.

Gestation:

Young are born in summer; litters of four+ are common

Predators:

Harrier (kahu), introduced rats and cats

Conservation status:

Abundant on the islands now they are free of introduced pests

General:

The Three Kings skink is named after the only place they can be found – Three Kings Island. They are one of the largest of New Zealand’s skinks, growing up to 30cm, and are typically ‘skink shaped’ – long body, tapered tail, long blunt snout, long toes, short strong legs.

Unlike geckos, skinks are generally poor climbers because their toes are not flattened as geckos’ are. They may be able to climb rough surfaces like tree branches due to their clawed toes.

It is diurnal and often basks in the sun. At night and in bad weather it retreats to shelter under rocks or in holes.

Please remember that all lizards are protected in New Zealand. You must have a permit to keep any of them, even one you find in your back yard or at the beach on holiday.