Prehensile-tailed skink

Latin Name
Corucia zebrata

Class
Reptiles

Order
Sauria

Description

Largest known living species of skink, reaching a length of 32 inches. Color: body is olive to green, with scattered black scales on the back and legs.


 

Range

Solomon Islands


Status

Capture for the pet trade and habitat loss due to logging are concerns. The Solomon Islands government has regulated trade on these and other reptiles to help avoid endangerment. Lincoln Park Zoo participates in the Prehensile-Tailed Skink Species Survival Plan®, a shared conservation effort by zoos throughout the Association of Zoos and Aquariums.


Habitat

Tropical rain forests


Niche

Nocturnal and herbivorous, feeding mainly on the leaves of the Solomon Islands creeper plant


Life History

Unlike other skinks these animals are arboreal, spending little time on the ground. Prehensile-tailed skinks are usually found in the oldest trees in the primary forest. They lack the ability to drop their tails when attacked. Copulation takes place during early evening in the trees and may last from 5–15 minutes. Gestation is about six–seven months, after which a single (occasionally a pair) large offspring will be born.


Special Adaptations
  • Large, strong digits equipped with sharp claws enable the skink to climb trees with ease.
  • Disruptive color patterns and slow movements help the skink go unnoticed.


Bonus Content

A prehensile-tailed skink enjoys some flowery enrichment.

Flowery Fun for Mother's Day
Happy Mother’s Day! Flowers make a great gift for mom, but they’re also a tasty treat for Bactrian camels, red-footed tortoises and prehensile-tailed skinks.


Lincoln Park Zoo Exhibit