Garden Skink - Northern
- Colour: grey-brown to bronze, with a dark stripe running along each side of its body from its nostril, across its eye to its tail, getting wider from its front legs. Its body pales below the stripe to a cream belly.
- Of the two species found the Lampropholas delicata is a lighter body with a less obvious stripe running along its sides.
- Size: 8 cm to 10 cm (from its snout to the end of its tail).
- Diet: small insects and other invertebrates.
- Movement: active day and night, although it sometimes basks in the sun to raise its body temperature. It forages amongst leaves, grasses and debris, particularly in gardens and bushland areas.
- Breeding: mating occurs in spring after which the female lays between one and seven small, white rubbery eggs. The eggs are often deposited in a nest shared by other individuals, and up to 250 eggs have been found together! The eggs hatch in mid-summer and females can have more than one clutch per season in years of good rainfall. Second matings occur in late summer and the female stores the sperm to fertilise her eggs the following spring. After those eggs are laid, another mating in spring will produce another clutch.
What to Observe
- Hatched eggs
- Presence of juveniles
ClimateWatch Science Advisor
We expect skinks to start mating and laying eggs earlier in the year as a result of climate change warming the Earth. We may also notice an increase in the number of females having more than one clutch per season as a result of warmer temperatures beyond the summer period. They may also start appearing in new areas as warmer temperatures enable them to live in environments that were previously too cold for them.
When To Look
- From September through to February
- Mating occurs in spring and late summer
- Eggs hatch in mid-summer and in spring (if two clutches per season)
Where To Look
- The species found in the Sydney region is Lampropholis delicata.
- Along the eastern and southern coast and ranges of mainland Australia, from northern Queensland south and into South Australia, and in eastern and northern Tasmania; but not in the semi-arid regions of the eastern states.
- In wooded habitats, most commonly open grassy woodland at low altitudes, and often in suburban gardens.
- Amongst leaves, grasses and debris in gardens and bushland, and on pathways or brick fences where they might be basking.
The map below displays the accumulated observations of these species as reported by ClimateWatch observers, together with the layer showing how the range of the species might change between now and 2085, with orange areas indicating where the species might disappear, and green areas where the species range might expand.
Cogger, H 2000. Reptiles and Amphibians of Australia. Reed Books, Australia.
Ehmann, H 1992. Encyclopedia of Australian Animals: Reptiles. Angus and Robertson, Sydney.
Wilson, S & Swan, G 2003. Reptiles of Australia. Princeton University Press.
- Eastern Water Skink: larger when adult (25 cm to 30 cm long), with small black spots on its back and white and black spots on its side.
- Blue-tongue Lizard: larger, with a tail shorter than its body, and doesn’t have the stripe running along each side of its body.
Did You Know?
Skinks are the most diverse and largest group of lizards in Australia - with around 325 species!
Garden Skinks are caught and eaten by cats.
Only L. guichenoti has been observed to have two clutches per season. This occurs in years of good rainfall, as the rain increases the amount of vegetation and associated insects and invertebrates, which means more food for the skinks!