Garden Skink Northern Donald Hobern

Garden Skink Northern

Lampropholis delicata

Did You Know?

  • Often caught and eaten by cats
  • Skinks are the most diverse and largest group of lizards in Australia with around 325 species
  • Only the Southern garden skink (L. guichenoti) has two clutches per season in years of good rainfall, as the rain increases the amount of vegetation and associated insects and invertebrates, which means more food for skinks
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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.

This species has a lighter body with a less obvious stripe running along its sides than the Southern Garden Skink.

Size

8 - 10 cm (nose to end of tail).

Behaviour

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.

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What to Observe

  • Courting/Mating

  • Presence of juveniles

  • Hatched eggs

Climate Adaptations

We expect skinks to start mating and laying eggs earlier in the year as a result of global heating. We may 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.

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When and Where

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

  • Along the eastern and southern coast of mainland Australia, from northern Queensland south 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
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What Else?

Similar Species

Eastern Water Skink is larger when adult (25 - 30 cm long), with small black spots on its back and white and black spots on its side.

Blue-tongue Lizard is larger, with a tail shorter than its body, and doesn’t have the stripe running along each side of its body.