Weasel Skink Saproscincus mustelina

Lizards of Victoria series


The Weasel Skink, Saproscincus mustelinus, is a coppery brown with darker flecks on the back. The under surface is cream. It has a prominent white spot below and immediately behind the eye.  The tail colour is similar to the back, but with a short, paler, dark edged streak starting immediately in front of the hind limb and continuing onto the upper section of the tail. It has a snout vent length of up to 45 mm.

Photo of Weasel Skink, Saproscincus mustelinus

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

Distribution and habitat

Occurs in Gippsland and north east Victoria, through the Melbourne area to the Otway Ranges. Usually found in or under fallen timber, or rotting vegetation.


This species feeds on small invertebrates.  Females lay up to four eggs per clutch in a communal nest, which contain the eggs of numerous females.

Further Reading

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

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

Comments (21)

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kathy butler 26 December, 2010 10:47
We just found a weasel skink in our bathroom (Blackheath, Blue Mountains, NSW). We identified it using Burnham Burnham's" Wild Things". We haven't seen one here before. It was quite lay back, staying on our hands and not trying to get away. Now it's out in the garden.
Jane Edwards 9 January, 2011 14:57
I found this skink (identified on the web. not in my small Australian Lisards by Davey)in my house in suburban Brighton Vic. It was very quick but I captured it under a dish, and then let it go in my garden. Never seen one before, and I am very plesased that some wildlife still exists among all the development. Thanks museum.
talia 10 January, 2011 19:45
I have been finding quite a few of these lizards running around in the backyard of my Keysborough home. They seem friendly although, they do not seem comfortable sitting in hands. Thanks for the easy find museum.
Kyle 10 February, 2011 19:35
I found one in my garage on the weekend, I live in the Sutherland Shire of Sydney, 1st time I have seen one. Identified using Stephen Swanson Field Guide to Aus reptiles, and confirmed it using google images. Very calm and unaffraid, so much so, he seemed sick. Observed him overnight, fed him some small crickets and let him on his way.
ian 18 April, 2011 11:53
we have many weasle skinks in our backyard,thanks for the identifaction of them, the kids now know what they are.They are doing well here at woori-yallock
Doug Blake 7 November, 2011 22:07
We have had them in our Bundoora property for the last few years. Each summer a few take up residence in the compost bin, I guess plenty of insects to feed on. The way I identified them as weasil skinks was to take a close up photo and blow it up on a computer screen. The white mark behind the eye showed up clearly. This white mark is very difficult to pick up with the naked eye. There are a lot of young ones so they are obviously breeding well.
tintrojan 22 November, 2011 19:48
Just found one in the backyard in Belgrave. I filmed it- may put it on youtube
Alexa 16 February, 2012 08:53
About once a year I find one of these fellows in the garage. I'm in quite inner Melbourne so I'm always happy to see them!
Eva 25 December, 2012 18:18
One came into our house in Clifton Hill (Vic). We tried to feed it slaters but perhaps they were too big. It was very calm and sat on my hand. I loved it and we let it go.
Alisha 26 July, 2013 13:31
Would anyone know the life expectancy of the weasel skink? I have been looking everywhere and can't seem to find any information on their life span.
Discovery Centre 15 August, 2013 11:17

Hi Alisha,

As a general rule, the bigger the skink the longer it lives. Small garden skinks may live only a couple of years, whereas Blue-tongue Lizards may live around 20 years. There is no definitive answer for longevity of Weasel Skinks in the wild, but our best guess would be 5-7 years.

Robert Bender 26 October, 2014 08:24
Found one yesterday along a bushland track on the Yarra bank in Ivanhoe East, while I was weeding. Identified for me by a friend from my photos. This is a good site. Thank you.
Cathy Edwards 9 November, 2014 10:51
Are these common in WA?, or is there a similar type here? Whilst weeding around rocks in our backyard I came across four of them and looked it up on the internet, closest picture to it was the weasel skink. They are sooo cute.
Discovery Centre 10 November, 2014 15:59
Hi Cathy - doesn't look like this skink occurs in WA. If you can get a photo, the WA Museum has a Discovery Centre service too, and they're likely to know more about the species local to your area. Best of luck!
nathan 15 November, 2014 23:31
at what temperature do i incubate eggs at?? cheers nath
Discovery Centre 4 December, 2014 10:47
Hi Nathan, as a general rule, skink eggs incubate best between 22 and 29 degrees Celsius. Weasel Skinks (Saproscincus mustelinus) do best between 25 and 28 degrees. Keep in mind that under the regulations of the Department of Environment and Primary Industry, it's unlawful to remove this species from the wild, even from your own backyard.
Thomas 28 October, 2015 18:18
We were wondering what the weasel in weasel skink refers to
Discovery Centre 7 November, 2015 11:05

Hi Thomas, Apparently the ‘weasel’ came about because the colour, size and shape of the body is similar to that of a weasel.  A weasel grows to about 15 cm and has a long slender body, perfect for chasing mice or other small animals into burrows.  The weasel has a small triangular shaped head and pointed snout and short legs, like the lizard.  The colour of both is similar - light brown on top and white underneath, and the weasel moults its coat twice a year. Sometimes some imagination is used when naming animals!

Troy 13 January, 2016 11:28
I beleive i just found one of these in St Leonards (north shore NSW) have a pretty solid image, as he was calm enough to pose on my hand before i let him back in the shrubbery.
Sam james 24 September, 2016 17:55
Hi um I just found one in my back yard we held it and let it free at the local pond or creek and it came back 4times we recognised it because it had Bruze marks from a past fight is it legal to own a weasel skink WITH A REPTILE LICENCE
Discovery Centre 25 September, 2016 16:26
Hi Sam, 

It’s illegal to collect animals from the wild, even in your own backyard, and even if you have a licence for that species. Captive animals must be sourced from a licenced wildlife dealer. 
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