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Reptiles Guide


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Coal Skink
Coal Skink
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Reptilia
Order: Squamata
Suborder: Sauria
Family: Scincidae
Gray, 1825
many—see text

Skinks are the most diverse group of lizards. They make up the family Scincidae which shares the superfamily or infraorder Scincomorpha with several other lizard families, including Lacertidae (the "true" or wall lizards). Scincidae is the largest of the lizard families with about 1,200 species.



Skinks look roughly like true lizards, but most species have no pronounced neck and relatively small legs. Several genera (e.g., Typhlosaurus) have no limbs at all, others, such as Neoseps, have only reduced limbs. Often, their way of moving resembles that of snakes more than that of other lizards. Skinks usually have long, tapering tails that can be shed and regenerated.

Most skinks are medium sized with a maximum length from the snout to the vent of some 12 cm, although there are a few that grow to larger sizes, such as the Corucia, which can reach 35 cm from snout to vent.


Skinks are generally carnivorous and largely eat insects, including crickets, grasshoppers, beetles, and caterpillars. They also eat spiders, earthworms, snails, slugs, isopods, other lizards, and small mice. Some species, particularly those favored as home pets, have a more varied diet and can be maintained on a regimen of roughly 60% vegetables/leaves/fruit and 40% meat and meat products (cat or dog food). [1]


Skinks occur worldwide. Some species are endangered.

Many species are good burrowers. There are more terrestrial or fossorial (burying) species than arboreal (tree-climbing) or aquatic species. Some are "sand swimmers", especially the desert species, such as the Mole skink in Florida. Most skinks are diurnal, so they are active during the day. They like to crawl out on rocks or logs to bask (soak up heat from the sun) during the day.


During the breeding season, some types of skink will exhibit orange or red markings to indicate sexual maturity. About 55% of the skinks are oviparous, that is, they lay eggs in small clutches. The other 45% are ovoviviparous, giving birth to living offspring.


Raccoons, red foxes, opossums, snakes and hawks all prey on skinks.


Many large genera, Mabuya for example, are still insufficiently studied, and systematics is at times controversial, see e.g. the taxonomy of the Western Skink (Eumeces skiltonianus).

Family Scincidae

  • Genus Ablepharus
    Genus Acontias
    Genus Acontophiops
    Genus Afroablepharus
    Genus Amphiglossus
    Genus Androngo
    Genus Anomalopus
    Genus Apterygodon
    Genus Asymblepharus
    Genus Ateuchosaurus
    Genus Barkudia
    Genus Bartleia
    Genus Bassiana
    Genus Brachymeles
    Genus Caledoniscincus
    Genus Calyptotis
    Genus Carlia
    Genus Cautula
    Genus Chabanaudia
    Genus Chalcides
    Genus Chalcidoseps
    Genus Coeranoscincus
    Genus Cophoscincopus
    Genus Corucia
    Genus Cryptoblepharus
    Genus Cryptoscincus
    Genus Ctenotus
    Genus Cyclodina
    Genus Cyclodomorphus
    Genus Dasia
    Genus Davewakeum
    Genus Egernia
    Genus Emoia
    Genus Eremiascincus
    Genus Eroticoscincus
    Genus Eugongylus
    Genus Eulamprus
    Genus Eumeces
    Genus Eumecia
    Genus Euprepes
    Genus Eurylepis
    Genus Feylinia
    Genus Fojia
    Genus Geomyersia
    Genus Geoscincus
    Genus Glaphyromorphus
    Genus Gnypetoscincus
    Genus Gongylomorphus
    Genus Gongylus
    Genus Graciliscincus
    Genus Haackgreerius
    Genus Hemiergis: Earless Skinks (Australia)
    Genus Hemisphaeriodon
    Genus Isopachys
    Genus Janetaescincus
    Genus Lacertaspis
    Genus Lacertoides
    Genus Lacertus
    Genus Lamprolepis
    Genus Lampropholis; (Common Garden Skink)
    Genus Lankascincus
    Genus Larutia
    Genus Leiolopisma
    Genus Leptoseps
    Genus Leptosiaphos
    Genus Lerista
    Genus Lioscincus
    Genus Lipinia
    Genus Lobulia
    Genus Lubuya
    Genus Lygisaurus
    Genus Lygosoma
    Genus Mabuya
    Genus Macroscincus
    Genus Marmorosphax
    Genus Melanoseps
    Genus Menetia
    Genus Mesoscincus
    Genus Mochlus
    Genus Morethia
    Genus Nangura
    Genus Nannoscincus
    Genus Neoseps
    Genus Nessia
    Genus Niveoscincus
    Genus Notoscincus
    Genus Novoeumeces
    Genus Oligosoma
    Genus Ophiomorus
    Genus Ophioscincus
    Genus Pamelaescincus
    Genus Panaspis
    Genus Papuascincus
    Genus Parachalcides
    Genus Paracontias
    Genus Paralipinia
    Genus Parvoscincus
    Genus Phoboscincus
    Genus Plestiodon
    Genus Prasinohaema
    Genus Proablepharus
    Genus Proscelotes
    Genus Pseudoacontias
    Genus Pseudemoia
    Genus Pygomeles
    Genus Riopa
    Genus Ristella
    Genus Saiphos
    Genus Saproscincus
    Genus Scelotes
    Genus Scincella
    Genus Scincopus
    Genus Scincus
    Genus Scolecoseps
    Genus Sepsina
    Genus Sigaloseps
    Genus Simiscincus
    Genus Sphenomorphus
    Genus Sphenops
    Genus Tachygia
    Genus Tiliqua; (Blue-tongued lizards)
    Genus Trachydosaurus; the rugosus species is known as Shingle
    Genus Tribolonotus
    Genus Tropidophorus
    Genus Tropidoscincus
    Genus Typhlacontias
    Genus Typhlosaurus
    Genus Voeltzkowia


  1. ^ McLeod, Lianne. Keeping Blue Tongued Skinks as Pets. Retrieved on 2006-08-27.

External links

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