Shore Skink

Leiolopisma smithi (also known as short-tailed skink, Smith's skink)

shore skink


New Zealand


Always found near the shoreline, preferring open areas such as driftwood at high tide level or nearby vegetation.


Food is likely to be small insects found on the beach, under driftwood and weed mats.


Produce live young


Live over 20 years in captivity


Introduced rats and cats, as well as native birds of prey

Conservation Status:



This lizard is active during the day (diurnal) and spends most of the day hunting for food or basking. If disturbed it will quickly hide.

Small (up to 8cm) and very well camouflaged, this is the common beach skink of northern New Zealand, named after Lt Alexander Smith, who collected some of the original specimens in the 1840s.

This skink may be found in a range of colours, sometimes almost black. The grey, brown and greenish tones as well as the speckled pattern, provide excellent camouflage.

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. Lizards are difficult to keep in circumstances where they are happy and healthy.