Prehensile-tailed Skink

Corucia zebrata

Monkey Tail

The largest skink in the world, these broad headed and cylindrical lizards are tree-dwellers. Their green scales, long claws and muscular tail aid in climbing in the canopies of the rainforests of the Solomon Islands.

About the Species

This slow-moving but excellent tree-dweller is also known as a monkey-tailed skink.

Prehensile-tailed skinks are built for climbing and reaching their favorite food of leaves. They are crepuscular, which means that they are most active during the early morning and late evening hours. These are one of the few social lizards that have family groups and will defend their babies and territory against members of another group. The mothers care for their young for six months. After this time, the young may move on to create their own family group, or stay with their parents for a few more years.

Words From the Experts

Quotes

The Prehensile-tailed skink, or monkey skink, uses it tail like a fifth leg. They are almost completely arboreal and rely on that tail as a safety net against falls. Their unique scale coloring allows them to stay camouflaged in the trees. That camouflage, along with their very slow speed when foraging, allows them to be almost invisible to predators.

Hilaire

Did You Know?

Prehensile-tailed skinks are ovoviviparous, that is the female hatches an egg inside her body and are later born.

Facts

Origin

Solomon Islands in the South Pacific

Habitat

In the canopies of tropical rainforests

Size

81 cm (32inches)

Diet

Leaves, flowers and fruit

Predators

Birds of prey, snakes, rats and humans

Natural Defenses

Strong jaws, loud hiss, excellent eyesight and sense of smell

Reproduction

Ovoviviparous, having only one or two live offspring which they will care for until it is 6 months old.

Status

Not Listed

Life Expectancy

Unknown in the wild, but can live 15 years in human care

  • Saving Animals From Extinction
  • Culture Builds Florida
  • Florida Association of Zoos and Aquariums
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