Taronga’s Herpetofauna department is celebrating the birth of three Night Skinks (Liopholis striata), which have proven to be some very big babies!
Each of the young skinks, born on 12 April, weighed about three and a half grams and measured up to 103mm at birth. To put this in perspective, the mum, who gave birth to all three, is only 217mm long and weighs a mere 38 grams!
Night Skinks are one of few nocturnal skinks native to Australia, where they predominantly inhabit the sandy dunes of the central western deserts. They live in family groups, excavating extensive burrow systems with several entrances.
Differing from most other skinks of Australia, Night Skinks give birth to live young, rather than laying eggs. This is a process known as ‘viviparity’, also shared by the more familiar bluetongue skink group, and a litter of two or three young is typical.
As with virtually all young reptiles, our young Night Skinks are completely independent from the moment they are born.
Being omnivorous, the three little skinks are feeding well on a diet of finely chopped vegetables, as well as crickets, and they are all growing very quickly!
These juvenile skinks reflect the typical adult colouration, but some may develop more of deep brick red colour.
Taronga Zoo’s group of Night Skinks are constantly on the go, spending their days digging and perfecting a network of burrows.
- Keeper, Chris Dryburgh