Cunningham's Skink

Egernia cunninghami cunninghami


South Eastern Australia


Forests and open woodland, with plenty of rocks for cover


Insects and other invertebrates: spiders, slugs, and snails, and many types of plants


They give birth to live young, but not much is known about their reproduction.


Up to 27 years


Cats, dogs, foxes, birds of prey, snakes, dingoes

Conservation Status:

Least concern


Cunningham’s skink, also called Cunningham’s spiny-tailed skink, is a large species of skink native to Southeast Australia. This lizard is named after the explorer and botanist Allan Cunningham. The keelor ridge on each scale gives them their spiny appearance.

They are able to grow up to 40cms in length! Because of their enormous size they can be mistaken for the blue-tongued lizard. Cunningham’s skinks vary in colour and patterning – Ranging from black to a dark or reddish brown, with spots and speckles, blotches, bands, or stripes on the skin.

Females can give birth to anywhere from 1 to 11 live young – This means they don’t lay eggs like many other reptiles!

Cunningham’s skinks form close family bonds and live in social groups to protect themselves from predators. Living in groups is beneficial because it makes spotting danger a lot easier than living alone! If the lizard feels threatened it will hide under a rock or log. If this isn’t enough to escape danger, it will swell its body to a larger size up by sucking in air – Just like a balloon! Its bigger size combined with its spiky scales dig into the sides of its hiding place, making it much harder for a predator to pull the skink out!

At Hamilton Zoo:

We have four of these skinks at the zoo. They live in the australian aviary, and can often be seen sunning themselves on warm days!