Garden Skink Lampropholis guichenoti

Lizards of Victoria series


The Garden Skink, Lampropholis guichenoti, is dark grey, with a darker stripe commencing in front of the nostril, continuing through the eye and above the ear onto the tail. A broad dark vertebral stripe commences about the level of the forelimbs and continues onto the tail. It has a snout vent length of up to 40 mm.

The Garden Skink, Lampropholis guichenoti

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

Distribution and habitat

The Garden Skink is the most common skink found in suburban gardens around Melbourne. It is found over most areas of the state except the semi arid northern and western regions. It lives in a variety of treed habitats.


Active by day, this is a sun loving species which feeds on small invertebrates. Females lay from 2-6 eggs in a communal nest which can contain up to 250 eggs. Females often produce more than one clutch per season.

Further Reading

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

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

Comments (259)

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Sylvia Ranson 23 December, 2010 13:37
My children want to know the life expectancy of garden skinks. Does it vary with climate (we're in Hobart, Tasmania)? Thanks for your time. Sylvia Ranson
Katy Convery 15 February, 2015 11:23
Um Well I Have a Skink But I Don't know what type it is just a black lizzard
Alexandra Hayes 18 November, 2016 18:48
Yes if not properly cared for a skink would only life for a few months or weeks
Jarrad k 18 November, 2016 19:46
It's called a drop tail lizard
Sally Ingram 19 January, 2011 18:25
Hi there, Could you describe the eggs of this skink please. I have found a clutch of eggs in some soil under a garden statue that are about the size of peas, but oval.
Ella Simpson 13 October, 2013 09:31
They are white that are about 1 cm long and have a glow to them in the sun
Melisse 11 November, 2013 10:56
Wow - what a thrill!
Joey Fleener 16 June, 2014 13:24
I say there skink eggs.
Discovery Centre 22 January, 2011 12:04
Hi Sally - Unfortunately lizard eggs aren't distinguishable by species from just looking at them. About all you can tell is that they come from a larger or smaller species. You can usually tell gecko eggs, as they have a harder shell & geckoes only a two eggs at a time.
Mihir Vyas 15 February, 2014 11:07
Hi I just have find out that I have this lizard in my kitchen unfortunately there is 2 of them underneath my electic gas. I just brought my newborn home as well. Is that any risk to him???? Hiw can I get rid of those lizards from my apartment. .. :(
Joey Fleener 16 June, 2014 13:27
Minor they are no harm and they love crickets .
Brandyn 7 February, 2016 17:00
Hi I have 7 pet skinks my advice is get a long stick that fits in under the gas thing and move the stick around the lizards are sure to pop out
Evan Sinclair 19 February, 2011 11:05
What can I do to get skinks in my back garden? I have only seen them a couple of times. What do skinks eat and how can I make an environment for them?
Discovery Centre 21 February, 2011 14:54

Hi Sylvia,

The rule of thumb with skinks seems to be:  the bigger they are, the longer they live.  Garden skinks have a short life span of only a few years, whereas somewhat larger varieties live six to 10 years, and the largest skinks can live 20 years or longer.  The colder climate does slow their growth rate and results in a slightly longer life span. 

Discovery Centre 4 March, 2011 08:21

Hi Evan, providing good habitat for your skinks is the best way to encourage them into your backyard. Giving them shelter to retreat to (such as rocks to hide under / between) and places to bask in the sun close to these retreats is ideal. They feed on invertebrates from around the garden so ensuring you don’t spray too many pesticides around the garden is also important. Another factor that may help encourage skinks into your garden is to consider if there are any pets such as cats and dogs who quite enjoy chasing skinks. Keeping these animals away from the habitat you create will be important to help the skinks establish into your garden.

All the best with making a comfortable home for the local residents.

Natasja 23 April, 2016 16:12
Hi need help. Someone stepped on a garden skink.. he got hurt badly but still alive., i kept it in a box for the night fearing the worst. But sad to say.. the little fighter is still alive but BLIND.. what can i do for him... i put half dead insect in front of him so he can smell... furter.. i really dont have a clue
Joana Hicklebottom 17 April, 2011 12:17
Hey I have a little garden skink as my pet but I am unsure what it eats. I have put some cabbage, carrot, silverfish, ants and it's not eating. Is it because it is scared or it just eats when I am not there with her?
Robin 25 November, 2012 15:31
I've watched my Garden Skinks catch and devour live Slaters, ie Skinks are those flat, grey creatures 1cm long with many legs. You could also Google SLATERS and WHAT TO FEED GARDEN SKINKS? They are beautiful creatures.
Brianna 18 March, 2014 07:22
They love cockroach small and big mothes they also like flyes they don't really like fruits and things as they are carnivores witch only eat meat
melissa 9 September, 2016 22:49
I didn't have flies for a few days so have my skink defrosted mince (pork but any would work I guess). He demolished it!!
Willinator 29 October, 2016 10:07
They love carrot and banana however the carrot must be cooked and the banana doesn't ur welcome
Rowena Trafford-Jones 16 August, 2011 21:05
Could you describe the communial nest in more detail? What is it's typical location and appearance? Is it guarded or tended by the skinks?
Discovery Centre 19 August, 2011 15:15
Hi Rowena, there is some good information on the Monash University website on Communal nesting in reptiles and amphibians should provide further answers to your questions.
Coral Baragwanath 4 September, 2011 15:00
I have found a white puddle of nest under where rotting wood was lying , and i am wondering if it might be a skinks nest or something else it is aproximatley. 10cm diamenter
Discovery Centre 4 September, 2011 15:18
Hi Coral, If you send us a photo of the nest, we can certainly try to identify it for you.
Blake 9 November, 2011 18:55
How do you encourage skinks to come into my garden
Discovery Centre 12 November, 2011 13:18
Hi Blake, Thank you for your question. Evan posted a very similar question in March 2011. Please see our response to his question above.
aly 22 December, 2011 17:06
i have found 2 skinks or lizards i cannot figure out if thry are boy or girl skink or lizard or what type they are i have looked every where please help me!!!
Kirsty 20 September, 2013 16:32
Females have a yellow, nearly orange-tinted underside and males have a greyish
Cat-Lady 1 August, 2015 12:14
skinks are all the same ; )
Discovery Centre 23 December, 2011 11:47
Hi Aly, it can be difficult to determine the gender of lizards as they don't have external genitals. In terms of identifying the species if you take some good quality images of the lizards and email them to our Herpetologist may be able to name them.
georgie 11 January, 2012 12:45
Hi, I recently aquired 3 garden skinks and are wondering if the rule of "female= white belly and male=yellow is true and if there are any other ways to sex them. Also,can you email me some male female comparison pictures?
Sam 9 November, 2015 20:21
Actually georgie, vice versa. Males have grey and females have yellow and sometime light orange
Michelle Brodrick 13 January, 2012 16:22
I have common garden skinks which lay eggs in the same spot every year and I have great fun watching them hatch. Now I have discovered a second species of skink in my garden. They are slightly fatter than the garden skink. The tail is shorter and fatter and copper coloured but has a grey really pointed tip. I have caught both species and they appear to be quiet different when placed side by side. What is the coppery one?
Discovery Centre 14 January, 2012 12:35
Hi Michelle - we can't really say without seeing it ourselves; one possibility is the Bougainville's Skink, but there are other possibil;ities depending on where you live, etc. If you have any images, you are welcome to make use of our free identification service; feel free to send us any photos via "Contact Us" at the bottom of this page.
Discovery Centre 18 January, 2012 12:44

Hi Georgie, Garden skinks are very hard to tell male or female and so photos that guide you are not available. Some experienced owners suggest the following: if the base of the skink enclosure is a smooth dark coloured mat you may find clear waxy bits on it during spring.  This depends on your skink being an adult and the presence of these waxy bits would mean it was a male.

Callie 26 January, 2012 13:04
Hi, I have 3 garden sun skinks and I was wondering what substrate is best for them to breed in and make their nest? I currently have quarts sand 3 large aquarium plants and a bogwood arch, A reptile light and a bearded dragon water dish. Is there any way to coax them into breeding other than hibernation?
John 26 January, 2012 13:07
Hi, I have what looks like a cross between a barrington sun skink and a garden skink but without dark flecks and without the dark line down its back. I live in Newcastle NSW. What could it be?
Discovery Centre 26 January, 2012 13:27
Hi John - we would need to see a clear photo of the animal in order for us to make any suggestions; if you have clear images, you can send them to us via our Ask The Experts service and we'll do our best to have it identified.
Jane Routley 28 January, 2012 10:51
Should I worry that a skink seems to be living in my worm farm?
Discovery Centre 29 January, 2012 16:19

Hi Jane, on the one hand, garden skinks definitely feed on earthworms and that's probably the reason the skink is living there - an almost limitless supply of food. Not to mention all the other small invertebrates that inhabit worm farms and would make equally good food. On the other hand, there's only so many earthworms a single skink of that size would be able to consume, so it may not have much impact on the overall worm numbers.

Discovery Centre 29 January, 2012 16:32
Hi Callie, three skinks should be housed in a large enclosure, between about 20L and 50L in size, with enclosure furniture for them to hide. A basking light at one end will give them a gradient of hotter to cooler areas, and the bogwood and water dish you mentioned are also important.

A substrate of sand or cocopeat or a mixture of the two should be at least 5cm deep with leaf litter at one end that will encourage them to lay eggs. Most southern Australian species need a period of cool temperatures without a basking light and without feeding for them to hibernate if they are to breed. We don't know any other method to encourage breeding without a hibernation period.

Jamie and Joel 12 February, 2012 10:39
Hi there, My Mum is a gardener and found about 15 pea sized oval shaped white eggs under a large rock. A small skink ran away when she uncovered them. So she has brought them home to encourage them to hatch and release them in garden. She has filled a tupperware container half with soil from the area. She has placed the eggs in a shallow trough in the soil, put a couple of dead leaves over the eggs and gently balanced a large rock over the trough. Can you tell me if this is a suitable environment for the eggs to hatch? Also what sort of climate should we keep the container in? We currently have it sitting inside the house at a window that gets Northern sun. We are in Sydney. Also approximately how long until the eggs hatch and what do we feed them once hatched? Do we place a shallow container of water in the tupperware container? Or should we release them straight away? Thanks
Discovery Centre 17 February, 2012 10:50

Skinks generally require a specialised incubator and quite specific conditions for them to survive. Your set-up is reasonably good, but may not be exactly what they need. The best thing is to let them go in the garden as soon as they hatch.

You should keep in mind too that it’s illegal to take any protected wildlife from the wild, including your backyard and including eggs.
Holly 8 March, 2012 18:21
i have one pet Skink. If it's a girl will it still lay eggs? Or those it need a male?
Discovery Centre 12 March, 2012 12:07

Hi Holly!
Yes, a female skink does need a male skink to reproduce. Depending on what species you have, it will usually lay eggs. Some species, however, do not lay eggs and give birth to young skinks.

Cassie Taylor 19 March, 2012 16:38
how do u tell between their gender
Discovery Centre 23 March, 2012 16:45

Hi Pearl, many skinks have yellow bellies for at least some part of their lives, so it depends which species of skink you’re referring to. For example, both sexes of the Water Skink (Eulamprus tympanum) have yellow bellies, but in other species only the male has a yellow belly and only in the breeding season. The colouring may be a warning to other males or to make them more attractive to females. If this doesn’t satisfy your curiosity, send in a photo and we’ll try to tell you which species you have.

Morgan 6 April, 2012 09:15
Hi,My dad found a common garden lizard,I Put it in my old fish tank with little bits of dirt and some rocks,I put it in the shade and sun,I fed it some little tincy bits of cooked egg.I don't annoy it,is this a good way to look after it ??
wee 3 December, 2012 20:07
I think they are a great thing to keep,as long as they have what is needed for them,and it sux's that it is a illegal,to keep them,we have some in a really big,big tank,and have done for over 3 year's know,and they are our baby's,we love watching them,i love how their tail's wag when it is feeding time.
Discovery Centre 7 April, 2012 12:20
Hi Morgan, it sounds like you are doing a great job with the skink but the best thing is probably to release it where you found it. It might have a specialised diet that it can only get in the wild or via special food that you buy. Also you may need a permit from the Department of Sustainability and Environment to keep this animal.  
christy gee 21 April, 2012 12:39
l have 2 pet skinks.l gave it water, live ants and they are not eating them. what should l do? please help!!
Discovery Centre 22 April, 2012 11:17
Hi Christy, Skinks don't eat ants as part of their normal diet, as ants are full of formic acid and are particularly distasteful. The only lizard that specialises on ants is the Thorny Devil. Your skink would prefer a range of live insects as food. If these are not readily available, you can buy live crickets from many pet shops.
katie 28 May, 2012 07:55
hi HELP! my pet new zealand garden skink not eating much only half a slug and a magot! douse he need any more food? and is he a male he has a yellow belly. and how big will he grow he is (at the moment!) 8.1 cm in length. thanks!
Discovery Centre 5 June, 2012 14:29

Hi Katie,

Generally a yellow belly signifies a male, although in some species the belly of both male and female can be yellow. It depends which species you have. There are more than 40 skink species in New Zealand, so it is difficult for us to pin down the right one. The adult body length of the skink will also be determined by which species it is.

Skinks will eat small snails and finely diced vegetables as well as lettuce and banana. They also eat crickets and cockroaches and prefer to chase these around the enclosure.

katie 10 June, 2012 09:04
HI! by the way my pet skink (called shimmer!) is a common garden skink so is he a male (he has a yellow belly)? and he likes cockroaches, small spiders, magots of pantry moths, slugs, worms, fruit, vegys and egg. we try and give him 1 evry day is that unuf? and if he gets sick sould i take him to the vet? and if we cant find a insect or spider 1 day is it OK if we give him just egg, fruitand water?
Discovery Centre 29 June, 2012 10:18

Hi Katie, in the wild, garden skinks would generally feed every day and can be fed daily in captivity, but will also be fine if fed every second day. You’re feeding it an excellent range of food, and any one of those components can be included on any particularly day (the skink doesn’t need fruit and eggs and vegetables and live prey every day). It sounds like it’s being well looked after.

If you’re worried about the skink’s health at any time, you should take it along to the vet. There are vets that specialise in reptiles and these are listed on the internet but you can also be referred to one from your local vet.

julie 11 July, 2012 03:28
I recently found a nest of skink eggs with the mother curled up on top of them. My question is will she eat the eggs or the babies when they hatch. I was wondering if I should remove the eggs and release them once they have hatched. I have hatched box turtle eggs in the past so I am familiar with the care of eggs.
Discovery Centre 13 July, 2012 11:08
Hi Julie, thanks for the question!  We have checked with the Live Exhibits Team and reptiles and other animals that normally brood their eggs will not eat or abandon them unless they are disturbed. The only option we can recommend is to leave them alone as the female skink is best placed to look after them.
Cass 7 November, 2014 10:54
How can you tell if it's dying or if it's pregnant ?
katie 27 July, 2012 09:36
thanks! we are going a way for about a week VERY soon so what should we do? And is he a male common garden skink if he has a yellow belly?
Discovery Centre 2 August, 2012 11:13

Hi Katie, at this time of year, skinks do not need much food and will easily cope for a week whilst you’re away. If you are heating the enclosure, it might help to turn the heating off so the skink becomes less active (they do that during winter anyway). Make sure you don’t feed the skink for a week beforehand if you turn off the heat – this will give the skink sufficient time to digest whatever food it has in its stomach before becoming inactive.

Male Common Garden Skinks do not have a yellow belly – it could be a Three-Toed Skink or McCoy’s Skink.

Alexis 3 September, 2012 14:44
My cat loves to catch skinks and usually brings them in and eats them. I try to save as many as possible but sometimes I'm too late. I have one skink at the moment who i just rescued but it looks in a bad way. His body seems find, it looks more like head trauma, particularly to one eye. I have put it in a plastic container in the cupboard to recuperate, it's been about an hour now. I'm worried about letting him out and it being subject to predators because of it's damaged eye. What should I do? He seems to be active, should i just let him out? What is his chance of survival and what can i do to better prepare it for rerelease?
Discovery Centre 14 September, 2012 10:45
Hi Alexis, our Live Exhibits staff have said most skinks will die after being mauled by a cat, regardless of what treatment is given to them. So there’s not much that can be done to better prepare the skink for release short of taking it to a vet. The best solution is to prevent the cat from catching any more, by keeping it inside as much as possible or better still erecting a cat run in your backyard.
lone traveller 23 September, 2012 18:42
hi, my Mother found a skink in the garden today,I named it Larry, I want to keep it as a pet, is that legal? what can I feed it that we can have as an every day item? (example strawberries and bananas) thanks, the lone traveller.
Discovery Centre 24 September, 2012 15:13

Hi Lone - in most cases a permit is required to keep native animals depending on the species, and in all cases the animals kept in captivity should come from captive stock such as from keepers or pet suppliers rather than capturing the animal yourself.

You shouldn't capture a wild native animal and keep it as a pet for a number of reasons, so we strongly reccommend you let the skink go in the same location you found it for its best chance at survival. You can read more about wildlife permits, animal welfare considerations and regulations at the DSE website here.

Hope this helps

Rebecca Gray 17 November, 2012 19:11
Hi, we found two little white, hard shelled, pea sized eggs in the garden today under the woodpile. We've brought them in and popped them in a container with some of the dirt they were laying in. Do you know what they might be and if they will hatch? How long do they take to hatch? I'm certain that when i picked them up, they were moving!!
Discovery Centre 19 November, 2012 15:13
Hi Rebecca - It's difficult to make an identification without a picture. Feel free to contact us through our Ask the Experts page, attaching a photograph (preferably with a pen or ruler or something in the photo to provide scale). You might also like to note that reptile eggs don't like being turned, so make sure you keep them the same way up as when you found them!
Nathan 1 December, 2012 19:47
Hi i was just wondering what would be the best setup for a common garden skink? i live in riddells creek victoria so whereabouts can i find them? and also do i need a licence for a common garden skink thanks if you answer
Discovery Centre 2 December, 2012 11:12
Hi Nathan - Have a look through the previous comment threads; you should find the answers to your questions addressed above.
Sarah 5 December, 2012 23:15
What email address can I send a photo to, so I can find out what type of skink I have and whether I would need a license to keep it. What should I feed it? I have tried a variety of moving things but it doesn't seem to eat. I have also put in dried fruit which I think it licks. It has a variety of logs and rocks and grass and a tree branch in the box would a tray of sand or bark be good to keep or would that need to be replaced regularly?
Discovery Centre 6 December, 2012 10:50
Hi Sarah - we would need to see a clear photo of the animal in order for us to make any suggestions; if you have clear images, you can send them to us via our Ask The Experts service and we'll do our best to have it identified.
Chloe 8 December, 2012 17:42
Hi, I have three pet skinks and one of them had about 6 eggs. I have left them where they are and I was wondering if they will just hatch by them selves or if I have to do something to care for them? If they hatch, will the other skinks eat them or will they be all right to leave them in there?
Discovery Centre 9 December, 2012 12:32

Hi Chloe, the fact the eggs have been laid in the enclosure suggests the adults consider the habitat you've provided to be suitable for incubation. So the best option is to leave them where they are, whilst keeping them warm and moist. Alternatively, you can remove them and place them in an incubation medium (such as vermiculite) in a shallow container, leaving about one third of the egg surfaces exposed. The container should have a lid with small holes punctured in it, the humidity should be kept high by spraying every day, and the temperature should be kept around 25 degrees celsius. The eggs will begin to shrivel if they become to dry (and also if they die). If you need more information, there are plenty of reptile discussion forums on the internet.

If the eggs hatch, you should remove the young skinks and keep them separately. They will feed on a similar diet to the adults, just much smaller quantities.


Joseph Senat 12 January, 2013 10:31
Hi, I have a fish pond with about a dozen fish and have a lot of skink lizards in my back yard. They sometimes congregate around the pond and even go in the water. I am worried that they might eat the fish and or the eggs or newly hatched fish. Do Skinks eat fish? I live in Sydney.
Discovery Centre 13 January, 2013 14:00

Hi Joseph, most fish in fish ponds tend to be live bearers and so the lizards won't be eating eggs. There aren't really any types of skinks in your area that would pose a threat to pond fish of any age. The Eastern Water Skink has a semi-aquatic lifestyle but they tend not to feed in the water, and Eastern Water Dragons might but they are distinctively different to skinks and not easily confused with them.

May Wong 24 January, 2013 22:31
Now I know a lot more about those lizards that abound in my garden in Sydney. That's fine but they seem to get into my house too and I have a hard time making sure they get back out. Is there some way I can deter them from getting into my lounge, kitchen, etc. where they leave little blobs of poo and where there is no food or water for them? I already take precautions like closing doors to the outside and putting sand ropes to seal gaps under the doors but they still manage to slither in.
Bella 27 January, 2013 17:59
Hi sorry for the stupid question but are skinks native animals.Ive been reading past comments and some have talked about native animals and skinks being native i just wanted to clarify, thanks
Tahlia 28 January, 2013 20:51
Hi I have 6 skinks. In one enclosure I have for them, they don't seem to be able to climb out of so is possible that I can keep the lid off?? Or will they eventually get out ??
Discovery Centre 29 January, 2013 15:22
Hi Bella, it's not a stupid question. The term skink is used for a variety of lizards from Australia but is also used in other countries. Australia has many species of native skink, but if you were in America for example there would also be lizards native to the US that are called skinks. Generally lizards from the family Scincidae are called skinks.
Discovery Centre 1 February, 2013 11:36

Hi Tahlia,

The answer partly depends on what type of skinks you have. Most of the smaller skinks appear quite happy living in the same enclosure, but other usually larger species will fight if males are left together. And as a general rule skinks will not be able to climb out of their enclosure, although some species can climb up the corners of glass tanks if the circumstances are right. So unless enclosure furnishings are close to the top or there is some other means of assistance, the lizards should be fairly safe without a lid.

If you do place a lid on the enclosure, you’ll need to allow for UV light to enter, as all lizards require this light to remain healthy. UV light is blocked by a range of materials, including glass, so a mesh lid is preferable.

Remember too that in Victoria you must have a licence for skinks (depending on the species) and have bought them from a pet shop, otherwise it is illegal to keep them.

Kim 5 February, 2013 23:45
Hi there. I live in st kilda, Melbourne and seem to have a new housemate. He is a very pale skink and has been here for a few days now. I have no hope of getting him back to a garden environment as he is up high and has found a home ina crevice above the door, which I can't access. The poor little fella must hungry and thirsty, what can I give him, that will sit on top of a thin door frame?
Discovery Centre 23 February, 2013 13:37
Hi Kim, the lizard you describe sounds very much like a Marbled Gecko. It is very unlikely to be a skink, as skinks are not good climbers and don't survive well inside houses. Marbled Geckos are very common in and around houses in Melbourne, including high rise apartments. They live in crevices and even inside the walls of buildings, feeding on insects they find there. They also favour the cracks of doors, but care should be taken when closing doors as they sometimes get squashed in the door jam. In your case the best option is to leave the lizard where it is - if there is insufficient food and water around, it will simply move on.
ayesha & millie 22 February, 2013 18:51
hi! my friend and I have just found a baby garden skink near our car and we have accidentally run over something that seems to be like his or her parents. we put him in a cardboard box with a small amount of dirt, a jar lid with some water a few bits of small logs and leaves. i want to keep him for a while before I release him. what should he eat and should we change his habitat?
Discovery Centre 23 February, 2013 13:35
Hi Ayesha and Millie, skinks are able to look after themselves soon after emerging from the egg, so this individual doesn't need its parents around in order to survive. Whilst your concern for the skink is commendable, it's illegal to collect native wildlife even from your own yard, unless you're concerned about its health and welfare, in which case it should be taken to a vet. In the circumstance you describe, the best option is to release it back into the wild.
Rachel C 3 March, 2013 12:43
HELP, are my two pet skink are only having a couple of mouthfuls of banana, a lick of lettuce and a bite of ham, is this enough for them to eat or should I go out to the park and catch and kill some tasty insects for my skinks? PLEASE ANSWER. PS. How can you tell how old a garden skink is. Thanks
Discovery Centre 4 March, 2013 14:53

Hello Rachel - we checked this with our Live Exhibits team, and they've responded as follows:

The best way to stimulate the appetite of the skinks is to offer them live prey. You can either catch some yourself, and this is a good time of year to do it, or you can buy small crickets from most pet shops. You don't mention the species of skink you have, but small individuals don't need a lot of food to sustain themselves.

Once a skink becomes adult, particularly small species, it is difficult to determine their age. Particularly because their size is due more to the amount of food they consume than how long they have been alive.

Brodi 15 March, 2013 20:21
I have a garden skink but I'm not shore if it is a male or female???
Discovery Centre 16 March, 2013 10:03

Hi Brodi, read through some of the response above in regards to sexing your skink. Check out the response form the Discovery Centre on January 18th 2012, or March 23rd 2012 or June 5th 2012!

Willow 6 May, 2013 13:23
Hey, I was wondering what it meant if there is a bulging eye on a skink, is it because one of my pets got to it or is it a deseise? We get skinks inside our house really regularly because of my cat but she doesn't seem to eat it is it because she just wants to be praised because I've never seen her eat one but sometimes she kills them... I would appreciate if you took the time to read this. Thank you.
Melena 5 June, 2013 06:43
I'm in the US but i have a skink question. I have several in my backyard, one that i had grown quite fond of, drowned in my pool :( I have another larger one, but he doesn't come out often. Is this normal for the larger/older ones? Thanks for all the great info!!
Cammie 16 June, 2013 07:28
I would like to know what environment I need to keep a skink alive?
Brian Howard 25 July, 2013 17:16
Hi, Do skinks hibernate? Regards, Brian
Discovery Centre 15 August, 2013 11:24

Hi Brian,

Skinks of all kinds do hibernate during winter in southern Australia. In the reptile world, the word ‘brumation’ is often used to describe this process, as some biologists assert the way ectothermic animals such as reptiles hibernate is different to that of mammals.

Cherie 14 August, 2013 17:24
One of our cats brought home a skink! It's tail is gone and back legs not working but my 10 yr old daughter wants to look after it as it will die if we let it go! Please tell me what I can feed it other than 'live' things? We're in the UK.
Discovery Centre 5 September, 2013 11:49
Dear Cherie, our Live Exhibits staff have provided us with the following information:

If the skink is in a bad state, the best option is to take it to a vet. There are quite a few wildlife vets in the UK, including a number that specialise in reptiles. Live insects are the best source of protein for captive skinks but you can also feed canned dog food, or dry dog food soaked in water. Skinks also need vegetable matter in the form of fresh fruits and vegetables. Protein should make up just more than half their dietary intake.

leonte 15 August, 2013 04:53
Hi I have a really big garden skink how do I tell if its pregnant or not aand I allready know that it a female
Discovery Centre 5 September, 2013 11:52
Hi Leonte - here is some information for you from our Live Exhibits staff:

If you have a Common Garden Skink (Lampropholis guichenoti) it will be an egg-bearer, unlike many other skink species that are live-bearers. Female Garden Skinks generally produce about six eggs at a time, so if pregnant your skink will have a noticeably large belly. Other than this, there is no guaranteed way to determine if a skink is pregnant.

Alexis 18 June, 2016 05:48
I have two small skinks the mother laid eggs, after the father killed the mother.. are they spouse to do that?
Caitlin 29 September, 2013 12:50
Hi, we live in Lennox Head NSW and have accidentally dug up 3 eggs (7-8mm long) laid under some capeweek in our lawn. I guess they might be skink eggs (but we also have dragons, geckos and some snakes visiting our garden). I am wondering what we should do with the eggs now we have disturbed them. Should we try and find another spot nearby and leave them there? Their original spot with the capeweed has been removed and it is now a bare patch of soil which wont offer them any protection. Do they need their mother to sit on the eggs?
Discovery Centre 1 October, 2013 16:29

Hi Caitlin,

It’s unlikely that the eggs would require their mother’s attention, so the best option is to put them back in the ground. If you can find a piece of ground most similar to area of capeweed, and as close as possible, you can rebury them at about the same depth.

Roger DESHON 7 October, 2013 16:30
I know someone who breeds skinks, specifically Blue Tongues and I asked him about determining the gender. With a straight face he told me the females have the longer eyelashes.
sam 12 October, 2013 18:23
I have two pet skinks, I have provided a water dish and a heat mat for them at night when it gets cold. during the day they get sun through my window. do they need UVB if so does that give them enough? also I mist once a day with a spray bottle is that ok? sorry I should have mentioned they are 5 lined skinks I think. anyway to the main point they don't seem to be eating why is this? thanks.
Discovery Centre 17 October, 2013 14:12
Hi Sam, the skinks you have are probably Three-lined Skinks (Bassiana duperreyi), if not Common Garden Skinks (Lampropholis guichenoti). Keeping in mind that you must have a licence to keep Three-lined Skinks or have obtained Garden Skinks from a licenced dealer. It is illegal to collect either species from the wild, including your garden, and keep them in captivity.

There are plenty of sites and discussion threads on the internet detailing the best way to keep skinks. Artificial light using a lamp designed for reptiles is better than just natural light, as you can ensure the skinks have the right amount of UV and you can control the temperature more accurately. Leaving the skinks near a window can mean they get too hot or too cold, depending on outside conditions. If kept too cold they are unlikely to be taking food at this time of year.

quintin 6 November, 2013 21:57
How long does the common garden skink take to grow to there full size
Hayder 14 November, 2013 14:09
In my small garden I have discovered around half a meter garden skink, is it dangerous when it's bigger than normal? I realised that it's a little bit shy and doesn't like someone to get closer. Thanks
Discovery Centre 16 November, 2013 12:29
Hello Hayder, Garden skinks are normally a great deal smaller than what you describe; a 50cm long Garden Skink would be more than 400% larger than typical size for the species. We think a reptile of that magnitude is more likely to be a snake than a skink, but we cannot provide an identification without seeing the animal ourselves.
Joanna 29 November, 2013 17:05
hi, my dad found a common garden lizard in our garden and i was wondering if i can send a picture so you could tell me the speices and gender?
Discovery Centre 30 November, 2013 11:09
Hi Joanna, please feel free to take a couple of images of the skink before you let it go and you can send the images to us at Some species can be very similar in appearance so we can't guarantee we will be able to go to species from the images but our Herpetologist will do her best. When you send the images in if you can tell us what suburb you live in and also give us an idea of how long the lizard is. 
Simon 2 December, 2013 00:53
Hi, I found a garden skink in cairns, it looks sick an has been running in circles and not reall movin for 36 hours now. I have given him water and some bannna but is not eating. What should I do for him? He looks I'll, and I'm not sure what to do.
Nila 2 December, 2013 11:56
I found a dark brown skink running in circles (like chasing his tail) in my garden and don't know what to do. How can I help him?
Carmen 3 December, 2013 11:13
i have a boy skink and he wont eat and ive tried everything. he is fat so i dont know if his like not hungry or something. PLEASE HELP ME ASAP!!
cooper 11 December, 2013 16:17
hey what do i do with skink eggs do i give them extra suport or just let the other pet skinks take care of them i havent tuched the eggs yet but what do i do?
Cam 17 December, 2013 16:07
Hi I have a garden skink Whitch layded 2 eggs how should I take care of the eggs and make sure my skinks are very healthy
Dan 22 December, 2013 19:33
We had 4 or 5 garden skinks on our back verandah all tangled up together and appeared to be attacking/biting at least one of the skinks caught up in the tangle. I have never seen this behaviour before. Are skinks cannibalistic or is this a territorial behaviour? They broke apart and ran off when I tried to get closer for a better look.
Discovery Centre 30 December, 2013 11:14
Hi Dan - here is what our Live Exhibits expert had to say: The behaviour you witnessed is most likely to be a group of male skinks attempting to mate with a female. In many skink species, males bite and harass the female until she succumbs, and on occasion a number of males will happen across a female and become aggressive to both the female and the male competitors. You may have notice that the males were trying to curl their tails under her, in order to be the one to mate with her.
This is normal behaviour for skinks, and the females are generally resilient and are unharmed by the encounter.
Yan 31 December, 2013 14:46
We have a what looks like a spotted skink in our backyard. It has been killing fish in our fish pond. It dragged the fish out from the pond and leave it to die, might eat some part of the fish. Please HELP!!
Judy 2 January, 2014 23:14
over the last 8yrs I have noticed an increase of geckos around my garden in Melbourne but skinks I use to come across, babies & adults don't seem to be around anymore. Could the geckos eat skink eggs?
Discovery Centre 3 January, 2014 16:11
Hi Judy, the geckos you see in your garden are Marbled Geckos (Christinus marmoratus). This species feeds on invertebrates rather than vertebrates (or their eggs), and occupies a different niche to Garden Skinks (Lampropholis guichenoti). We have had several reports of reduced skink numbers this summer - the factors causing this are undoubtedly independent of factors influencing gecko populations, and are most likely due to environmental factors such as temperature, rainfall, humidity, or a change in predator populations, including domestic animals.
Molly 9 January, 2014 17:16
Is my skink pregnant it seems fatter then usual?
Molly 9 January, 2014 18:02
Do they lay eggs
Kim 10 January, 2014 20:13
A common garden skink got in my house, we tried to catch it, but it dropped its tail and escaped. Will it leave on its own? If not how do it get it to leave? I am not comfortable having it somewhere in the house and would prefer it was in the garden.
Discovery Centre 13 January, 2014 09:45
Hi Kim, Garden Skinks (Lampropholis guichenoti) do not do well inside houses, due to the dry air and lack of suitable food. If possible, the best thing you can do for the skink is to catch it and put it outside. It is unlikely, but still possible, for the skink to find its own way out.
Kim 13 January, 2014 15:57
Thanks for the info is there a humane way to lure it out of hiding and trap it? We have not seen it since it escaped, or is it to late?
ryan 14 January, 2014 15:48
Hello, I have two pet common garden skinks in Tasmania (Hobart). How big should there enclosure be and I'm thinking of getting a couple more so how big should about four skinks enclosure be. Also I have not noticed them eating yet should I just wait or get them checked at a vet. Also how do I tell if one of them is pregnant. Thank you
Ryan 14 January, 2014 18:25
Hello, I have two pet garden skinks and I want to make sure I am looking after them properly. How big should I have there enclosure. I am thinking of getting a couple more so how big should the enclosure be if I get more. I have not seen them eat anything yet so should I change there diet or take them to a vet. Also my cat did get ahold of one of them but when I put the skink back in the enclosure it seemed fine will he be alright. Now I always keep the tank away from the cat. Thank you
ryan 15 January, 2014 16:16
I have two pet garden skinks and i live in Tasmania. i wanted to make sure i was treating them correct. how big must there enclosure be and what is the best diet? Also one of my cats attacked my girl skink and her tail dropped off and when i put her back in the enclosure she was fine just want to make sure she will be ok. thank you.
Susan 21 January, 2014 20:25
My son has found a marbled geko and a garden skink (both within a couple of weeks). We have an enclosed, aired terrarium with dirt, a couple of sticks, flat rocks, leaves and water. I'm feeding them small crickets covered in calcium powder. I'd like to know if they are habitat compatible as we currently have them separated but it would be easier if they were together. Can someone help with an answer.
Discovery Centre 26 January, 2014 14:24
Hi Susan, as a general rule, it's not a good idea to house different reptile species together. Firstly they are often predatory, and the smaller reptile may be eaten by the larger one, even if the size difference is only minimal, or the more timid species eaten by the more aggressive. Secondly, they are often territorial. Species that may tolerate other members of their own species may not tolerate members of other species. Also, different species have different needs, and it can be difficult to cater for the needs of both species at the same time.
Jo-Anne Dooner 15 February, 2014 15:30
I have a garden skink living in my home. He has been bunking with us for over 6 months. He seems happy, but has recently dropped his tail. I am wondering if I need to do something special for him now that winter is coming. We have tried to encourage him back into the backyard. No luck... He loves the house.
Discovery Centre 22 February, 2014 11:00
Hi Jo-Anne, animals tend to choose the environment that suits them best - determined by temperature, humidity, prey availability and protection from predators - it's what they do for a living. If the skink has the choice to go outside and prefers to stay inside, and you're happy with that decision, then that's probably the best outcome.
Craig 2 March, 2014 02:30
Hi this is my story! I Live in north east Victoria, today I witnessed same thing amazing! Today I was looking at a old camp fire in the bush! Up the Rose river! It looked like it was not to old! 6 month mix! Anyway cutting the story short, about 10 cm under the black coals I found eggs! Moving more coals I found little baby's that have just hatch! It was amazing to see this! I Didn't count then but about 40 eggs and about 20 little baby's! I have spent a lot of time looking whats around me in the bush but never this! I think they are baby eastern water scinks because they are around here! Baby's were about 30mm long, eggs were about 10mm! The things we can see if we open our eyes! Nature at its best.
john 2 March, 2014 21:58
We have several common garden skinks in our backyard (Sydney) and sometimes we feed a very small quantity of mince meat. They seem to love it. The only thing is that one if them seems to like my toes but I am reluctant to let it gnaw at them in case it draws blood causing an infection. Can this happen ie draw blood? And if yes, is there a risk of Infection? Thank you
Discovery Centre 6 March, 2014 11:10
Hi John, the disease most readily and commonly transferred from reptiles to humans is salmonellosis, caused by the Salmonella bug. But this is transmitted by handling reptiles and their faeces, which is not the case for you. There are a number of bacteria that can be transferred through reptile bites, but Garden Skinks’ mouths are small enough, and their jaw strength weak enough that the risk of their teeth penetrating skin and passing on bacteria is extremely small.
Julia 4 March, 2014 12:12
I am absolutely terrified of all insects and as much as ive read so people feel the opposite... However I NEED to get rid of the lizards in my back yard... There are literally 1000's of the them. When I was growing up they used to be seen in garden beds etc I'm seeing 6 at a time in a patch of lawn and what seems to be families of them around my back door. I'm considering moving due to my fear!!! They are absolutely everywhere...
Brianna 17 March, 2014 21:47
Do the geckos that come round at night and eat they actually eat garden skinks.oh and sorry for this wired question but where do garde skinks go at night just wondering thanku!😊
Brianna 18 March, 2014 07:16
What saught of habitat should I give them ?but I've got the tank
Brianna 18 March, 2014 07:25
Can garden skinks tail drop of without being threatened
Discovery Centre 20 March, 2014 16:24

Hi Brinana,

In the comments above you will find lots of helpful advice on how to best provide a habitat for skinks, both in your garden and in tanks. As for the tail dropping, it is unlikely that a skink will drop its tail without being threatened as the process does cause some issues for the skink. It can affect its sense of balance, reduces its fat stores and even affects its growth and reproductive processes. Healing and regrowing the tail also takes a significant amount of energy and makes skinks more susceptible to predators as they no longer have a defence mechanism. 

Brianna 24 March, 2014 18:58
Thanku for that I absaloutly love skinks
Chris 26 March, 2014 07:26
I need help ASAP. Today I was tealing soil for a vegetable garden and I accidentally hit a ground skink with the shovel. The skink has a cut behind its front leg from the shovel. I did not see any blood but to get a cut from the shovel I must have hit it hard. It is alive and still breathing but it just lays around. It is still cold here in southern WV and I think it was hibernating. I brought it straight into the house and set it in a shallow dish of warm water to see if it would move. It did try to move around but just barely. What can I do for it ? I wanted to give it every chance to live but I'm afraid that it may be suffering. If anyone can help me at all I would very much appreciate it. I just don't know much about reptiles and I can't find much info on the web.
Brianna 28 March, 2014 21:55
Also if the lizard is running and jumping around a lot it is best to let it go.if its not eAting that means it is not happy so also best to let it go.try to leave it alone if you are keeping it until it gets better because it is Likely trying hibernating
Brianna 26 March, 2014 19:21
What does it mean when a garden skink does a funny littl tail swirly type wiggle thing with its tail is it attracting prey or is it some saught of a mating thing
Aden 30 March, 2014 08:05
Hi, I live in the us, but would still like to ask a question. I've seen lots of answers about gender, but for a garden skink, what is the easiest way to tell male from female?
Discovery Centre 30 March, 2014 10:00

Hi Aden,

The best answer we can give is the one we gave to Georgie on 18 January 2012. As we said then, it's very hard to tell males from females.

Izzy 30 March, 2014 18:14
Hi, I sometimes see skinks in my garden, so I know they are there, and I want to catch one to observe it. Is there a reliable way of attracting them, and would a pit trap work? Also, if I put small pieces of meat in a pit trap would they come? Thanks
Discovery Centre 1 April, 2014 13:55

Hi Izzy,

Unfortunately for your purposes it's not legal to capture native reptiles, including the Common Garden Skink (Lampropholis guichenoti), and including those in your own garden. The best option is to sit quietly in the garden on a warm day and observe them in situ.

Jo 14 April, 2014 20:26
Hi, Im wondering what Skink poo looks like? on our back deck there are very small oval pellets with a white ball / tip at the end ... Thanks :)
Brianna 16 April, 2014 18:15
Your description of it definitely sounds like garden skink poo
Discovery Centre 21 April, 2014 11:53
Hi Jo - The shape and the white end on the scat you describe certainly do fit with the leavings of a lizard or skink.  A typical reptile scat will often be white at one end.  The white end is a solid or semi-solid form of urine, as lizards cope with arid conditions by retaining as much fluid as possible by concentrating their urine. Lizards have one waste chamber and canal, and so waste from the intestine and semi-solid urine (urates) from the bladder come out together.
Angelo 10 June, 2014 12:29
These beautiful serpents are also very common in Sydney gardens. They are commonly found on wooden garden fences, in trees and also, as you would expect, large rocks. There are also just as many of there cousins here known as the 'Five Striped Skinks.' In forests and coastal areas of NSW, the Garden Skinks are usually much longer and fatter due to differing diets and larger prey. These skinks themselves may often reach lengths of up to 19cm.
Liz 29 June, 2014 19:09
I have a pet skink and even though he has cockroachs, slaters, worms, and crickets he doesn't seem interested in them. Is there a reson why he is off his food.
Discovery Centre 3 July, 2014 11:51

Hi Liz

Our Live Exhibits team have responded with the following:

The most likely reason your lizard not feeding at the moment is the cooler temperatures. Reptiles tend to hibernate (brumate) in southern Australia at this time of year, or at least reduce their activities and therefore their need for food. If it’s a small species of skink, it won’t consume vast quantities of food even when hungry, and even less at this time of year. But if you’re concerned about the lizard’s health, you should take it to a veterinarian specialising in reptiles.

saviana 12 July, 2014 04:35
I have a skink in my backyard I want to feed her but I dont have there common foods what should I do
Lynn Adkins 31 July, 2014 07:17
hi..we live in columbus ga and we are litterly being over run in our yrd by rainbow skinks big and little alike.they are digging huge holes in our yrd!is there anything that we can do the run them off or atleast some of them.our dogs are good hunters but them skinks are FAST!any advice?thanks
Christopher Ruschmeyer 15 September, 2014 20:17
I have these skinks,I no my lizards but these I don't no,there tails are 3 times lo get than there body,and there tails r like a red I've never seen,not like the old grey skinks with red to Ge tails thread r red like on a Japanese fighting fish.
Alyssa 8 October, 2014 22:10
I have a snake eyed skink it eats pork and drinks water It loves me and plays tigger war with my finger
Alyssa 10 October, 2014 21:29
My snake eyed skink loves me he gets on to everything He thinks I am a personal chew toy
Troi 25 October, 2014 09:55
Our cat Pushka continually catches skinks and brings them into the house alive and generally undamaged. Most however will drop their tails. My wife is quite concerned about how long it takes for the common garden skink to regenerate a new tail. We catch them and release them into a garden where the cat has no access. We acknowledge all previous posts but this question has not been answered. Obviously environmental factors such as climate, diet and general health of the individual would contribute to regrowth times. Any indication of the time it would take would be good. We must have a very healthy population of skinks as our cat brings in a lot of them.
Discovery Centre 4 November, 2014 15:45
Hi Troi, the time taken for regeneration is very variable due to many factors, such as temperature and nutrition. It is difficult to find a generally accepted period for regeneration, and probably the best estimate is “several weeks”. Additionally the regeneration is never perfect – there may be colour changes and cartilage replacing bone. Regeneration in animals is very variable and in lizard tails it is not perfect. If possible it is good to try and reduce interaction between the cat and skinks - a bite from a cat will eventually kill a skink most of the time due to infection etc, even if the skink looks healthy when it's put back in the garden.
Lili 28 October, 2014 15:03
hi, I found a skunk in my house, and was wandering if they eat grass/herbs etc?
Stephanie 8 November, 2014 17:46
I have two garden skinks and I think that they r both boys. how do I tell?
Discovery Centre 10 November, 2014 13:53
Hi Stephanie - it's worth having a read of previous comments on this page. There are lots of questions, answers and discussions about the sex differences (or not) of skinks.
nathan 15 November, 2014 23:29
what temperature do i incubate the eggs at?? cheers nath
lulu 21 November, 2014 18:47
Hi I was wondering if the garden skink eggs have any diseases?
Lara 18 December, 2014 17:25
I found a garden skink about 4.5cm long, what do I feed it and what kind of habitat do I keep it in?
Discovery Centre 20 December, 2014 14:51

Hi Lara, 

The Garden Skink lives in a range of habitats, including suburban gardens, and feeds on small invertebrates such as flies, ants, moths and worms - you'll find more info here in the Museum Victoria field guide.

maddy 10 January, 2015 11:59
I have a garden skink egg and I have no idea where to put it. plz help me
Discovery Centre 18 January, 2015 12:29
Hi Maddy, Garden Skinks (Lampropholis guichenoti) and other skinks lay their eggs in protected areas under logs or rocks, or under the soil. The eggs are usually left alone after being laid so if you have discovered an egg the best option is to place it in a similar place and leave it alone to hatch.
Marc 18 January, 2015 11:14
Hello I have two or three Garden Skinks that live in my house and I would like to get rid of the them without harming them.... they often run outside through the gap under the door. I think they are great lizards but they poop on my carpet not only do I have to pick it up but it does leave a mark on the carpet.
Hayden 24 January, 2015 12:02
Hi we just found some garden skinks while mowing the lawn do we need a license to keep them?
Discovery Centre 24 January, 2015 16:48
Hi Hayden, you can't collect any native reptiles without a licence, so you'll need to release the skinks or contact the Department of Environment and Primary Industries to chat about a licence. 
Bron 26 January, 2015 16:42
Hi there, I was wondering if anyone could help me? We have a commone garden skink and she gave live birth to 4 babies about 4 weeks ago. They have now all vanished, does a female eat her young after that long? The little ones were feeding fine and were healthy and running around etc? Thanks in advance!
Discovery Centre 9 February, 2015 13:22

Hi Bron, we checked this with our Live Exhibits team, who have responded as follows:

If it's a common species, it's more likely to be a Garden Skink Lampropholis guichenoti. They will also have young this time of year, and are the most common skink around Melbourne.

If the skinks are out in the garden, then they most probably just dispersed; if they were eaten then they could have been eaten by anything. In contrast, if they were together in an enclosure then she may have eaten them herself. If she doesn't have enough to eat, and with the young having nowhere to disperse to, it's entirely possible.

Barry 31 January, 2015 20:00
I have about a dozen of the little beggers. I can get to within a metre of a couple of them. If I just sit still they will go about their business without worrying about me. It is a great site when you see 6 or 8 of then lined up along the footpath sunbaking.
Marian 4 March, 2015 17:30
please I need help, I am new in Australia and for my first time introduced to garden lizard :( , I was scared first I saw them in the home garden but was OK, because my neighbor told me that they stay in the garden but will not come inside my apartment, but today I found 2 in the apartment and I really feel scare. please tell me are they can harm me ?? how can I get rid of them ?? how to prevent my unit from them ?? please I need a HELP ... Thanks
Discovery Centre 7 March, 2015 11:13
Hi Marian - don't worry, a garden skink won't hurt you, and really just wants to be left alone. They don't really want to be inside your home, but may come in accidentally. You can gently encourage them towards an open door, but they may drop their tails if you try to pick them up. If you have a gap under your external doors, you might like to use a draft excluder (like a long weighted fabric sausage) to encourage them to stay outside.
Joy 8 March, 2015 13:39
Hi! Are we allowed to keep skinks or lizards as our own pets? I think we have a few baby water lizards, is that ok, because I would love to keep him/her as a pet! Thank you!
Discovery Centre 8 March, 2015 14:32

Hi Joy,

Unfortunately, the Department of Environment and Primary Industries (DEPI) states that it is not permissible to take wildlife from the wild, or keep a wild-caught specimen as a pet without the correct licence. Ideally, you should release the lizard where you found it, as translocation of individual animals can disrupt local gene pools, and contribute to the spread of disease.

Ryan (Lizards Name) 17 April, 2015 11:20
I have a new zealand common brown skink, and it is not eating, I'm getting really worried, what do I do? I'm wondering if I'm not feeding it properly or the right food, what do they eat and I have just moved it into a new home, would that be affecting it? it hasn't eaten in 2 days! Please Please Please help and reply asap! thx.
Discovery Centre 21 April, 2015 10:33
Hi Ryan's owner - unless you’re in New Zealand, it’s illegal to have a New Zealand Common Brown Skink Oligosoma nigriplantare. Alternatively you may have a Common Garden Skink Lampropholis guichenoti, which is very common in Australia and similar in appearance to the New Zealand version.

In any case, our Live Exhibits team advise that two days without food is not a big deal for a skink, particularly at this time of year when the weather is cooling off and the skink would be reducing its food intake in preparation for brumation (hibernation). The skink should be fine as long as all other environmental conditions are suitable for that species, and if food is available it will feed when it feels the need.

Bj 23 April, 2015 22:49
Hi. I have an eastern striped skink and I was wondering about hibernation. Do I stop feeding it now that it's getting colder? Also, do I need to still put the heat & uv lights on if it's going to hibernate?
Discovery Centre 24 April, 2015 16:52
Hi Bj, Eastern Striped Skinks (Ctenotus robustus) are not a scheduled species in Victoria and are therefore not allowed to be kept privately. You should check the species and the schedule to ensure you are complying with the laws in your region.

Many lizards can go through winter without being cooled down, but if you want a more natural cycle or want the lizard to breed, you’ll need to stop feeding it now, and after a week or so start cooling it down, without heat or lights. Once they enter brumation (hibernation), any food left in the stomach may become rancid and cause serious health problems, which is why you need to stop feeding well before cooling down.

Wendy 24 April, 2015 17:48
Hi, I live in New Zealand and my friend brought me a common bron nz skink to look after. he (im sure its a he) has dropped his tail, and was apparently just sitting on the road. Ive put him in a large plastic container with a small shell with water, long grass from our garden and a couple of rocks. i put him in the sun earlier but he didnt seem to want to move at all. its now nightime and I have put a few meal-worms in the container for him to find and eat - but he doesnt want them. Whats the best thing I can do for him? (can anyone answer this please?) ps - I have tried my best not to handle him at all, but Im a little worried thats why he wont move.
Discovery Centre 25 April, 2015 10:55

Hi Wendy, have a look at the link below, this group should be able to assist you with NZ fauna.


Joe 3 May, 2015 16:51
Hi there, I have found a skink living in my house in Sydney. I've been finding small yellowish/mustard droppings on the walls. There doesn't seem to be any white. Could these be from the skink? If so is it sick?
Discovery Centre 10 May, 2015 09:18
Hi Joe, if the faeces is on the walls, it's more likely to be from a gecko than a skink. Gecko faeces are often more yellow than white, but they also generally have the dark brown component in addition to the urates. If this is the case, the gecko is probably a Marbled Gecko (Christinus marmoratus), which frequently lives in houses around Sydney but is rarely seen.
Lauren 14 May, 2015 08:04
I have a fat lizard in my backyard who won't budge when I toss (lightly) a little berry at him. Is he/her sick or what should I do?
Discovery Centre 15 May, 2015 12:49

Hi Lauren,

We have no way of knowing if it is sick or otherwise, so we cannot advise you to do anything with the lizard. To this end, we encourage you to leave it alone. Lizards are often not particularly active, especially during the colder months. It is possible that the lizard, being cold blooded, is trying to sun itself for warmth.

Discovery Centre 25 May, 2015 11:24

Hi Lauren,

The best thing you can do from the lizard's point of view is to leave it alone. Larger skinks such as Blue-tongue Lizards often emerge from hiding to bask in open areas on warm days, and need to do this to maintain good health. If left alone, the lizard will return to its hide when finished basking.
Grace Q 31 May, 2015 20:35
Hi there just a question can they live as pets.
Discovery Centre 1 June, 2015 14:28
Hi Grace, you can't catch lizards from the wild and make them pets, (see our answers to Hayden in January this year and Joy in March this year). If you are really keen contact the Department of Environment, Land, Water & Planning to check if you need a permit for the species that you are interested in and then source captive bred specimens.
Tom 8 June, 2015 16:12
Hi I've got a garden skink I was wandering how many times a day I feed it I've given it a slate and a 10 cent size pease of lettuce and do I need a heat light thank you so much thanks Tom age 11
Discovery Centre 13 June, 2015 10:27

Hi Tom,
A Garden Skink will need food every day but it may not eat every day, particularly over winter. The food should be a mix of fresh vegetables and crickets or cockroaches - the insects should be juveniles rather than adults for a small skink. Reptiles slow down over winter so if it goes into hibernation you shouldn't be feeding it at all, as the skink won't be able to digest the food. Keep in mind too, that although you may not need a licence to keep the skink, all reptiles need to be sourced from a licenced dealer rather than collected from the wild, and the wild includes your own backyard.

Gail 26 June, 2015 01:09
Please help me help a skink that is stick in a small drain hole of my patio. It cannot get itself in or out. Tried putting some veg oil to help loosen the area for it to move & I used a soft grabber to try to pull him out of the hole. Nothing has worked. I hate to see it suffer & I want to help it. Any suggestions??
Discovery Centre 28 June, 2015 12:01

Hi Gail - we checked this with our Live Exhibits team, who have said you couldtry soap on the body of the skink, but try to keep the soap away from the skink’s eyes and ears. Sometimes animals enter small spaces seeking food, and if they manage to find that food there they are too fat to get back out. In that case, a couple of days without food and the skink will be skinny enough to fit through. Alternatively, skinks have backward-pointing scales which sometimes means they can get into small spaces but cannot back out again. Once again, only gentle physical persuasion or a few days’ starvation will enable the skink to escape.

Emmalia McGlynn 25 July, 2015 02:51
how do you determine the age of a garden lizard?
Discovery Centre 27 July, 2015 09:40

Hi Emmalia,

That's a tricky question!

In reptiles, size is determined more by food intake than age, so it’s not possible determine the age of a Garden Skink (Lampropholis guichenoti) by size. Most reptile species have an average adult size, in the case of Garden Skinks about 90mm, but again the time take to reach adult size can vary dramatically between individuals.

One indication is that the colours tend to fade as the lizard ages, but the changes are small and relative to the original colours. Research shows that the shape and appearance of Garden Skinks is determined not only by the environmental conditions around the egg, but also the conditions experienced when the lizard is young.

So the short answer is that it’s not easy to determine the age of a Garden Skink.

Anjolie 1 August, 2015 16:20
do garden skinks eat any type of vegetation ive found some in my backyard and decided to keep them as pets i've put them in an octagonal fish tank with plants and little pieces of bark and feed them some crickets but i would like to know if they eat any type of vegetation and if there is any thing else i should do
Discovery Centre 2 August, 2015 10:11
Hi Anjolie, Garden Skinks (Lampropholis guichenoti) need a mixture of fresh vegetables, finely chopped, and live insects as food. However, under state laws it's illegal to collect reptiles from the wild and keep them in captivity, even from your own garden. Some reptiles require a permit to keep them, but even those that don't need a permit must be obtained from a licenced dealer, and never collected from the wild.
Bob Smith 15 August, 2015 17:20
hi, i have four garden skinks at home and was wondering if they have any preditors i should be worried about.
Ben 25 August, 2015 09:35
Hi, Why do drop tailed lizards tails still move when the tail has come off? Thanks
Discovery Centre 29 August, 2015 12:45
Hi Ben, when attacked by a predator, the tails of these lizards can drop off at regularly spaced ‘fracture planes’ along their tails. Nervous spasms in the tail muscles make the dropped tail move or wriggle. This makes the tail look as if it is alive, giving the lizard time to escape while the predator is focused on the wriggling tail.
Fabian 8 September, 2015 10:42
hi when the tail comes off from a drop tailed lizard is there blood
Imogen 8 September, 2015 10:44
Hi All, Does it hurt the lizard when the tail is dropped? Though it helps them to survive, does it cause stress and pain for them afterwards? I'm doing this for a school project and are still struggling to find this particular part of information. Warm regards, Imogen
Discovery Centre 26 September, 2015 15:11

Hi Imogen,

There has been no research on this topic that we are aware of, but we can say that it probably does hurt a lizard to drop its tail, as lizards are well and truly capable of feeling pain, but it probably doesn’t hurt too much. The tail is designed to break off under pressure, allowing the lizard to get away from predators. Humans have collarbones that are designed to break under pressure to prevent other more important bones breaking, but although designed this way it doesn’t mean that a broken collarbone doesn’t hurt. The lizard’s stump is also designed to heal very quickly after the tail is dropped so the pain is most likely to be short-lived.

There are follow-up problems after the tail is dropped, the most obvious being that it can’t be dropped again if the lizard is attacked by another predator, so the lizard becomes more vulnerable to being eaten. Regrowing the tail requires a lot of energy, so juveniles stop growing for a while after losing a tail, and adults may stop breeding. In many species the tail is used to store excess fat earned during spring and summer, so the loss of that can be significant to some individuals. And finally, the tail is used for balance so lizards may have more trouble walking and climbing until the tail grows back or the lizard adjusts to life without a tail.

Ben 9 September, 2015 14:48
hi, Does it hurt the lizard when the tail is dropped?
Discovery Centre 26 September, 2015 16:06
Hi Ben,

It probably does hurt a lizard to drop its tail, as lizards are well and truly capable of feeling pain, but it probably doesn’t hurt too much. The tail is designed to break off under pressure, allowing the lizard to get away from predators. Humans have collarbones that are designed to break under pressure to prevent other more important bones breaking, but although designed this way it doesn’t mean that a broken collarbone doesn’t hurt. The lizard’s stump is also designed to heal very quickly after the tail is dropped so the pain is most likely to be short-lived.

chris 1 October, 2015 12:07
My daughter's pet dog - a small Chihuahua/Papillon cross, weighs about 3.5kg, loves chasing skinks in the flower beds of our garden. If she catches them and eats them is that likely to be harmful to her? Any suggestions on how to prevent her eating them?
Josh 10 October, 2015 10:08
Hi I was wondering what is the metabalism of a common garden skink
Josh 12 October, 2015 16:04
How do you know if a skink is a boy or a girl?
Discovery Centre 19 October, 2015 15:35

Hi Josh - we referred this to our expert staff in the Live Exhibits team here at the Museum, and they've replied as follows:

Sexing skinks can be easy or very difficult, depending on the species (mostly difficult). As a general rule, the body of the male is bigger than that of the female, and males have bigger jaws, broader heads and are thicker at the base of the tail. The body of the female is not only smaller, but more round. In some skinks the female is larger but as a general rule these distinctions occur across most skink species, but in many individual species the male may have colouring on the chest when mature, usually yellow or red, again depending on the species.

Mitch 4 November, 2015 08:45
Hi I've got a garden skink that is happy sitting on my arm. But I think it's pregnant because it's really fat.
Michael 15 November, 2015 23:15
Hi I have found skink and it had been injured from my dog and had a gash in its leg which I helped fix, I have put it in an enclosure that has soil, leaves and a big rock to absorb heat from my light, I have fed the skink a daddy long leg and a cricket I have also put a slater and a moth in the enclosure for it to eat, as well as a water supply. Am I taking care of it alright?
Discovery Centre 29 November, 2015 15:22

Hi Michael,

The best thing for an injured skink is to take it to a vet, preferably a vet that specialises in reptiles (of which there are many available these days). Bites by cats and dogs can cause infection in lizards that will kill it even if the injury is minor. Many vets treat native wildlife with no or minimal fee to the person that brings it in. Veterinary treatment will usually hasten the lizard’s recovery and get it back to the wild quicker, which can be important for its rehabilitation. Under state laws it’s illegal to collect and hold native wildlife other than for the purposes of taking it to the vet, even if the animal is collected from your own property. Your care of the lizard may be adequate, but it will get the best treatment from a reptile vet.

Hayley 18 November, 2015 18:07
I found a dead skink after the mower man came and two eggs were hanging out. I managed to prize them off her body. I birthed the other egg and put them in soil and gently covered them. put a wet paper towel over them and then the lid of the deli cup. The mother was cold when I found her. Unsure if the eggs. Will they survive? Im very worried.
Discovery Centre 28 November, 2015 16:16
Hi Hayley, our manager of Live Exhibits said it is possible for skink eggs to survive outside the female’s body, but it depends entirely on their stage of development. If the eggs aren’t ready to continue developing and eventually hatch, no conditions will make them so. Given that the female was a wild animal and it’s illegal to collect reptiles from the wild (which includes your own property), the best option is to find a quiet and well-protected place in your garden and carefully bury the eggs there.
Natasha 22 November, 2015 01:09
Hello, I just found a baby skink running down my hallway, will it be okay if I let it outside or should I look after it for a while as its young and I think it was born in my linen closet and would guess it's never been outside before, I haven't found the mother yet.
Discovery Centre 22 November, 2015 10:12
Hi Natasha - Skinks are pretty independent from birth, so by far the best thing to do would be to let it go in a safe place in your garden, so it can seek out its own hiding places, appropriate temperatures, and food variety.
Jenny 23 December, 2015 12:01
Hi, we found 4 mysterious white, hard shell eggs size of chicken eggs just under the soil and dry leaves under our apple tree. Can these be eggs from Skinks?
Discovery Centre 28 December, 2015 09:25
Hi Jenny, skink eggs are usually only a couple of centimetres long at the very most. The largest of the skinks (Blue-tongue lizards and Shinglebacks) give birth to live young and so don’t leave eggs in the soil or leaf litter. Reptile eggs are usually soft-shelled and/or parchment-like, unlike the hard-shelled eggs produced by birds. The largest reptile eggs in Australia, produced by Lace Monitors (Varanus varius), may be a similar size to chicken eggs but they are sealed into active termite mounds and have a soft, parchment-like shell. The most likely answer to your question is that you have chicken eggs in your yard.
Madi 18 January, 2016 12:57
Do skinks fight?
Lisa 10 February, 2016 15:43
Hi,do skinks have a preferred breeding environment I am catching at least 2-3 skinks weekly in my house.Not that i mind they are great.i live in Melbourne.
July 26 February, 2016 16:38
I am so happy I have found this site! We have what I think is a garden skink - goldy/olive coloured with thin black stripes, probably measures up to 20cm incl his tail, living under our dishwasher in our 1st floor unit in Sydney! No idea how he got there (it's 2 flights of stairs up) and he's actually been with us the whole time we've lived there which is just over 3 years (and goodness knows how long before that). We have no idea how he's surviving - well, he must be eating small spiders & insects, but I just worry that this isn't a great habitat for him. We go for long periods of not seeing him, but then we have other times when we see him almost daily, like now. We had a new dishwasher installed at the end of last year and I thought we would see where he was living, but there was no sign underneath the cabinetry. Should we try to catch him and release him outside where he would surely be happier? But then he has survived so long at ours, I don't want to upset the little creature. I would be so grateful to hear what you think we should do with him.
Asha 13 March, 2016 17:16
I might get a skink for a pet, so I'm wondering: what's the best type of small skink? e.g. garden skink etc. Please help! My birthday is coming soon!
Discovery Centre 14 March, 2016 16:04
Hi Asha, and happy early birthday! For comparative pet advice, you might like to speak with your local Herpetological Society, and don't forget that you'll need the appropriate wildlife license before obtaining your pet.
Asha 15 March, 2016 09:44
Thans so much! i was look around and i think i am actually going to go with a marbled gecko. i have been doing a lot of research and it might be easier for me to keep/look after.
Skye 23 March, 2016 02:48
Hi,I found a large garden skink and I'm not very clued up with this stuff so are there any clues to tell if this skink is pregnant or not.
Discovery Centre 2 April, 2016 15:53
Hi Skye - Our Live Exhibits manager says that female Garden Skinks (Lampropholis guichenoti) are larger than males and have an orange tinge underneath the belly. Females lay 2-6 eggs, so a pregnant individual will have a distended belly and will spend much of its time basking. There are other behavioural changes that occur when a female is pregnant, but in a small skink these are difficult to discern unless you are familiar with their general behaviour.
izzy 10 April, 2016 22:53
I have a skink and it looks like it is a girl . And it lost its tale and grew only half way how long will it take till it grows the other half?
Discovery Centre 12 April, 2016 15:58

Hi Izzy,

Garden skinks will regrow a tail at a rate depending on availability of food and a safe habitat. They eat ants and other small insects in leaf-litter, grass and rock piles. If you are caring for the skink there is a book that may help - “Reptiles and Amphibians of Australia” by Harold Cogger. On page 13 of this book is the following, “Regenerated tails may differ greatly from the original tails”. Your lizard’s tail therefore may not grow back the way it was.

Jaysen 19 April, 2016 17:53
how can u tell if a garden skink is a boy or a girl
Discovery Centre 20 April, 2016 10:42

Hi Jaysen,

We have been asked this question before, if you scroll through the Discovery Centre responses above you will find the answer! All the best.

Ben 9 July, 2016 15:26
Is there any way to tell how old a skink is without hurting it?
Discovery Centre 10 July, 2016 09:57
Hi Ben. 

It depends partly on the species of skink, but in general skinks grow larger with food rather than time. A healthy, well-fed skink will grow faster than a skink from the same clutch of eggs that doesn’t receive as much food or is kept in a less-than-perfect environment. Sexually mature adults can usually be distinguished from juveniles, again depending on the species, so this is one measure of age. Most skink species mature at 8-12 months of age, and it’s only when skinks reach a great age that signs of wear and tear become obvious. Whether a skink is male or female may also affect its growth rate and size at maturity.

Jone 17 August, 2016 17:38
What eats the skink? My daughter is doing a report on the and needs to know what its predators are. Thanks
Discovery Centre 18 August, 2016 11:21
Hi Jone - small lizards have quite a few predators, depending on your area: birds like kookaburras, butcher birds etc, and larger reptiles. Of course, some of the most common predators for small reptiles, amphibians and marsupials in Australia are introduced species like cats and foxes.
lily 21 September, 2016 09:48
hi, i have 2 blue tongues that are from the same family and i really want to know if they could mate? is it the same with garden skinks?
brian 22 September, 2016 10:46
hi I was digging in the garden a startled a skink I am in the Toronto nsw area it is about 3-4 inches long with 2 toes per foot and a readish underbelly can you id it for me
Julie Roberts 7 October, 2016 13:04
We have a lot of small skinks in our garden, and my eight month old schnauzer has taken to eating them.... Are they poisonous in any way?
Discovery Centre 7 October, 2016 13:35
Hi Julie - they're unlikely to make your pup sick, but do contact your vet for medical advice if you're concerned. However, do your best to discourage the dog from eating them, or reduce the opportunities to do so - for our wildlife's sake as well as your beloved pet!
Nathan 12 October, 2016 22:57
i have a skink that my little brother has found it has broken its too front legs i was wondering if i could do anything to help it
Discovery Centre 13 October, 2016 11:34
Hi Nathan - while we understand the good intentions, we don't reccommend you take the skink from the wild into captivity to care for it yourself - if it is injured, it will already be in some shock, and being captured and contained for a long time would add significantly to this. Instead, you may wish to find a specialist vet or perhaps the Zoo ir Healesville Sanctuart vets and keepers for their advice and/or veterinary attention - good luck!
Roopa 19 October, 2016 10:39
Found some garden skinks in my backyard.... but one skink is always running towards me.... it is scarring me... how to get rid of it
george 30 October, 2016 19:40
can you put sand from the ocean in with the lizards enclosure
Discovery Centre 1 November, 2016 13:29
Hi George - we checked with our Keepers from the Live Exhibits Department, and they've said that  beach sand can be used but river sand is better. Sand collected directly from the beach can contain small particles of glass and other sharp matter, or bacteria that can harm the lizard if ingested with the food. Newspaper or similar is most hygienic of all, but if you want a naturalistic enclosure you can purchase washed beach sand, or even better washed river sand.
Olivia 13 November, 2016 16:55
Hey, My little brother caught a garden skink and so happens today she laid two eggs in her container. We have not touched them and they are covered by leaves, I was just wondering if there is anything we can do to keep them alive, And if we need to remove the mother from the container in case she will hurt them, And also how long they will take to hatch and the temperature to keep them at, my little brother has his heart set on these eggs hatching and I have made him aware it will be hard work and they might not hatch in the end. Thank you
Discovery Centre 15 November, 2016 12:55
Hi Olivia - you should be aware that unless you have a permit to do so, it is illegal to collect animals like skinks from the wild and keep them in captivity; all native backboned animals are protected and it is unlawful to trap them and hold them unless you have a very specialised permit to do so. There are abundant supplies of captive-bred animals available from authorised breeders and specialist pet shops to keep as pets; an animal caught from the wild will most likely become stressed by the confines of their enclosure and will have their freeding and hunting habits suppressed by being housed in an arteficial setting. We therefor suggest you return the skink and her eggs to the location where they were collected from as soon as possible to give the skink it's best chance at survival.
Lasombra 25 January, 2017 17:10
Hi Olivia, I have pet skinks and they laid eggs. Took 30 days for the eggs to hatch. Best to keep them somewhere warm but in cool soil, not buried just covered like with a piece of bark.
Leta 23 November, 2016 07:38
Love this site....I have found a clutch of about 30_40 eggs that are transperent that look like cooked tapioca,these eggs are just laying on top of the soil under strawberry leaves, could this be skink eggs, we have alot of skinks in our garden also how long do they take to hatch...thank you for your reply cheers
Discovery Centre 2 December, 2016 10:27
Hi Leta, 

Skink eggs are white and opaque, whereas the eggs of snails and slugs are much smaller and transparent (or at least translucent), usually clump together in a large group and could be very accurately described as cooked tapioca. So it appears you have the eggs of introduced snails or slugs.

Anne 11 February, 2017 11:54
Our skink has died but on the same day we found a baby skink in the enclosure! It is beautiful!
warriorcats4days 12 February, 2017 15:29
i have a baby lizard how do i look after him? please help!
TJ Fisher 27 March, 2017 22:44
Hi, I found a baby skink lizard with it's foot injured in my backyard. I have made an enclosure for it in a plastic see through box with air holes. I have given him/her reptile food and the lizard loves it, but I am worried I am doing something wrong.-the babies tail has grown back and I try to let him go but he won't leave. Please help me with some info. :) Thanks.
Genevieve Xuereb 17 February, 2017 23:10
Hi there, I am hoping I did the right thing...I found a tiny Lizard about 10cm long and probably half a cm wide. It was kind of greeny brown. The lizard was in our bathroom. I released it out in the backyard. So am wondering if this type of Lizard is common in Victoria in the north west suburbs in Broadmeadows.hope he isn't supposed to be in a really hot climate.
Michael 19 May, 2017 06:51
Can a western skink die of a hole in it's side? My cat got a hold of mine and it's about the hole is about the size of a tooth pick.
Discovery Centre 20 May, 2017 11:16
Hi Michael - we can't offer you medical advice unfortunately, so if you are concerned for your pet, please take it to a vet.
Alison 12 July, 2017 13:53
I moved a garden pot this. Morning and accidentally chopped the tail of a Penny Lizard. It was quite a long section ... I'd say 90% of the tail. He was still moving and in the process of hiding when he spotted me. Will his tail grow back? As silly as this sounds, is it known if there a lot or pain when something like this happens!
Rowan reardon 19 July, 2017 17:53
Hi we found a little skink in our bedroom just sitting there very inactive. We kept him over night and then put him outside in the sun in the morning. We went away for a 3 day holiday and when we got back we noticed he was just sitting in the grass exactly where we left him! Not sure if he's sick / hibernating or what? I called a vet and they just wanted to put him down! I called a wildlife place and they were'nt very interested because "it's just a common garden skink" : ( can you help / suggest anything? We are in Sydney Bronte. He won't eat anything (worms/bugs/ants/fruit but will drink drops of water off my finger tip
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