Gladiator skinks

Following my last post (Skink family?) on my cute Southern Water Skinks, web visitor Darian Zam told us of his skinks:

‘I have a lot of these. I thought having the screens fixed would stop them getting in the house and running around this summer. It didn’t and it’s worse than ever this year! It’s quite annoying. They poop on everything. I got some great shots of two battling it out dramatically last week — they were biting each other on the head and then flipping in the air together. It was a pretty dramatic fight over who gets to claim the back of the refrigerator, I believe.’

Intrigued, since my skinks so far seem non-aggressive, managing to divide territory quite amicably, I asked Darian to send some of those photos and with his permission I share these three below. Thanks, Darian!

The flipping over is clear and they contort like wrestlers, but I am astonished that they bite the head, not a soft, vulnerable part like the stomach. I wonder if many lose an eye this way.

Perhaps they hold firmly with their jaws — to flip — rather than bite?

I will now be on the lookout for battle wounds on my skinks, of which there are now five zipping about on the verandah. Glad my screens work!

6 thoughts on “Gladiator skinks”

  1. Thanks for that story Darian. Sorry about your skink. The unpredictable is the only sure thing about wild life. I’ve been amazed at what antechinus can get out of. I guess we’d do anything to try to escape too…

  2. The population explosion got so out of control I had to finally do something after three years, as there were more episodes like the one featured above. Too many creatures, not enough territory! I have been catching them one by one in a humane trap. After the first couple of times they set it off the whole population somehow learned not to go in it. I actually have to run around after them and corner them to trap them! Furniture flying everywhere. It has been working pretty well and I take them down the road a way to a water board enclosure near a creek and throw them in. However I had the worst experience today with one that managed to squeeze it’s 3 cm+ wide body through a 1cm square hole in the grille in a crazed attept to escape. It pushed all the way out of the cage until it got to it’s back legs and then it was stuck. A one centimetre hole! I have no idea how this happened at all, it was like a freak occurrence because looking at it physically it seems impossible – but somehow it happened. It was starting to turn dark waist down and it’s tail dropped off and I even took it to my neighbour’s to see what could be done. In the end with a small pair of wire cutters and some pushing it was out. By that point it was too stressed to try and snap at me. It scuttled off but somehow I don’t think it will live, it would have been quite damaged internally. I’m kind of in shock. You just never know what critter disasters you will deal with on a daily basis…

  3. Thanks Darian. Have now done more Googling and I think the Blue Mts one is only found there (where I am nowhere near but perhaps you thought I was, as many do) and it has more distinct stripes on the back. A fauna survey here found the Eastern Eulamprus quoyii and the Southern warm temperate form Eulamprus heatwolei. As always, I ‘d need them all lined up and still so I can compare!
    I’m plumping for the Southern WTF– E. heatwolei.

  4. Thanks Darian, but what is the latin name of the Blue Mts ones so I can look them up– Alpine, Eastern, Southern (warm temperate and cold temperate forms) – all water skinks found here. How do you tell the difference?!!

  5. Wow! Looks great. I had a closer look and yours are slightly different genus – Blue Mountain Skinks whereas my ones are Eastern water Skinks. With some more observation, I think they were both very pregnant females. Those hormones can make you so moody apparently…

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