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Celebrating the achievements of landcarers

04/12/2017

The Tamar Island Wetland Cares Volunteer Group has been recognised in the 2017 Landcare Tasmania Awards.More

Horsetail Falls walk now open

15/11/2017

Visitors to the West Coast are in for some spectacular views on the new Horsetail Falls walk near Queenstown.More

Bruny Island Neck lookout re-opens

10/11/2017

The walkways and lookout at the Bruny Island Neck will re-open to the public today, following the completion of a new, larger car park that will provide improved access to the popular lookout.More

She-oak skink, Cyclodomorphus casuarinae

  • She-oak Skink
  • She-oak Skink
  • Juvenile She-oak Skink

The she-oak skink is a distinctive lizard with short limbs and a long, snake-like body. Despite being found over most of Tasmania it is not often seen, as it shelters amongst dense, low vegetation.

Description

The she-oak skink is unlikely to be mistaken for any other Tasmanian lizard. It is a large snake-like skink with short legs and a long, tapering tail. The head is barely distinct from the neck. She-oak skinks are extremely variable in both colour and pattern, usually being a pale to dark brown above, with individual dark scales often forming narrow bands across the body.Occasionally, completely black specimens are found. Juvenile specimens are often strongly banded and when born, have a head and body length of about 42 mm with a tail length of about 63% of the head and body length. As they grow the tail gets proportionately longer and a large adult with a head and body length of 174 mm may have a tail 231 mm in length. Mid-body scales are in 22-26 parallel rows.

Ecology

The snake-like shape of these large skinks is used to their advantage during threat displays, when the front legs are pressed along the body and the tongue is flicked rapidly. This elusive species usually shelters in low dense vegetation (such as occurs on buttongrass plains) and is of secretive habits. Long-lived, a specimen is known to have lived in captivity for seven years. The preferred minimum body temperature at which this species will be active is 27.1° C. If the she-oak skinks' body temperature rises above 39° C it will seek shelter. Through alternately basking or moving into shade a body temperature of around 32.6°C is usually maintained while active.

Breeding

She-oak skinks mate in spring and young are born live in February. Larger females tend to give birth to more young, with a record of 18 babies produced by a she-oak skink with a head and body length of 16 cm.

Distribution

Until recently this species was though to occur on mainland Australia, but recent research has shown that the mainland populations are different species and that the she-oak skink is found only in Tasmania. She-oak skinks are found widely across the state wherever suitable habitat occurs. This species has been recorded from Schouten Island. The original description of this species is based on a specimen from Bruny Island.

Status

Secure.

Threats

A major threat is loss of habitat through changes in fire frequency since European settlement. She-oak skinks are preyed on by cats and almost certainly by introduced laughing kookaburras. She-oak skinks are occasionally mistaken for snakes and killed by people.