Striped Skink Ctenotus robustus

Lizards of Victoria series

Identification

The Striped Skink, Ctenotus robustus, has a brown ground colour, with a wide dark mid-vertebral line, running from the nape onto the tail. This stripe is bordered by a narrow off-white line. The narrow pale shoulder stripe is bordered above by a narrow dark streak. The sides are brown with pale spots, bordered below with an indistinct pale stripe from below the eye to the hind limb. It has a snout vent length of up to 110 mm.

Striped Skink, Ctenotus robustus

Striped Skink
Photographer: Peter Robertson / Source: Wildlife Profiles Pty. Ltd.

Distribution and habitat

The Striped Skink is widely distributed throughout Victoria except for the Dividing Range and Gippsland. It lives in a wide variety of habitats from sandy heaths to rocky outcrops.

Biology

A ground dwelling, sun loving species whose diet primarily consists of ants, but is supplemented with spiders, grasshoppers, termites, beetles and flies, as well as small amounts of vertebrate and plant material. Females lay up to 6 eggs in a clutch.

Further Reading

Cogger, H. 2000. Reptiles and Amphibians of Australia. Reed Books.

Wilson, S. & Swan, G. 2003. Reptiles of Australia. Princeton University Press.

Comments (10)

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renee 19 December, 2009 22:06
hi just wondering if it would be safe for the skink to be housed with mountain dragons and jacky lizards cheers
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Discovery Centre 22 December, 2009 11:49

Hi Renee - we passed your question on to senior staff in Live Exhibits, who gave us the following response: If the skink is the same size as the dragons – particularly the Jacky Dragon, then it might be ok to house them together. If the dragons are much larger than the skink it wouldn’t be advisable.

There is always a risk when housing different species together that some aggressive behaviour may occur. If you do put them together, observe their behaviour closely and separate them immediately if any issues arise.

Hope that's useful to you!

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leylani eriwata 27 January, 2010 20:26
I have recently received my reptile and have just found a Ctenotus robustus . is it best to keep it and care for it as a pet or let it go. my son is really fond of it. and what sought of habitat does it need to live in. and could i find the stuff aroud the house or need to buy it in a pet store and food e.t.c
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Discovery Centre 29 January, 2010 11:13
Hi Leylani! If your skink came from the wild, it is not advisable or permissible to keep it as a pet, and you should release it where it was found. See this Question of the Week for more information. Reptiles do make fascinating pets, though, and any reputable breeder or reptile specialist petshop should be able to give you information on the care of captive-bred lizards.
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Madi 1 March, 2011 17:00
hi, i was just wondering is this lizard posionsus
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Discovery Centre 2 March, 2011 16:47
Hi Madi; no, this is not a venonmous lizard
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Sam 29 September, 2013 09:01
How do you identify the gender? Also does this lizard bury it's eggs? Or do they lay them under rocks?
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Discovery Centre 17 October, 2013 11:21

Hi Sam - we ran this past our Live Exhibits team, and they have responded as follows:

Skinks can be notoriously difficult to sex - even the species most abundant in the wild and commonly kept in captivity (such as Bluetongue Lizards) cannot be reliably sexed. Sexing is usually done using colour, pattern and size, but these traits vary so much between Striped Skink individuals they are often useless.

Striped Skinks generally lay their eggs in burrow under rocks.

kodie 29 May, 2014 10:17
hi, not sure if i'll get a reply but i was wondering were i could find more in depth information on ctenotus robustus, as i have a community tank and they seem to exhibit some strange behaviors like head nodding, which i assume is territorial and sometimes they seem to gently bite one another and walk in circles, is this a mating ritual of some sort or is it territorial as i had originally guessed?
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Discovery Centre 10 June, 2014 11:12
Hi Kodie, our live exhibits staff have said Ctenotus skinks are known to be solitary animals, in the wild they are independent and will only interact with each other during breeding season and possibly just chase each other away to avoid extra competition for food etc.

Ctenotus robustus, like most skinks and other lizards will often use arm waving, head bobbing and tail twitching as a means of communication. It can be tricky to determine if this is aggressive/territorial behaviour or courting but by the sounds of it they’re being pretty gentle so it’s likely to be breeding behaviour in this instance. If it is territorial they will be much more aggressive, thrashing around when they bite to try and subdue or damage their rival and it can result in large chunks of skin being torn off, loss of limbs, tails etc, they can be savage! If they do reach the point where they become too aggressive I would recommend separating them permanently as an in-compatible pair of this species isn’t likely to get along if you try to re-introduce them later whether it is two males or two females or even a pair that lacks “chemistry”, sounds funny but sometimes females can just refuse to breed and end up beating up the males.