My special skinks

I have a family of skinks who frequently dive under a flap of the dampcourse of my cabin footings, thence probably into a chink in those footings; a small pointy nose is sometimes to be seen poking out of the underfloor vent grille.
 But most of the time they pose like statues and await slow-witted insects to pass by. 

I think they are Southern Water Skinks of the Warm Temperate Form (Eulamprus tympanum WTF, more recently renamed Eulamprus heatwolei). They are fat and fearless, about 250mm long, and seem to operate in distinct mini-territories.

This one stays on the verandah front rails and steps and comes much closer to me and my doings. She is quite inquisitive, far less inclined to dart away — or to dart at all — and doesn’t mind a bit of shade as she often hunts amongst the greenery.

I have absolutely no idea why I think this one is a ‘she’, as I have no idea how to sex lizards.  When she feels like a bit of sun, she chooses the rocks on the front side of the steps, and shows her gorgeous metallic colours.

I can sit and admire her for ages; just look at the intricacy of her patterning, the ebony and lacework side trims and the woven bronze of her back. That pink nose, that elegantly lidded eye, that perfect earhole!

The other skink, who occupies the rear side of the steps and darts off when I pass, happened to be sunning himself there at the very same time as his greenie friend was out the front, so I was able to take photos of them both, in the same light, to compare. 

Is it my imagination or does the one below have a more pinkish coppery tone to his back? And is the nose a less distinctly differentiated pink?

Either one is a jewelled beauty, as well as cute; who needs garden gnomes, bronze statuary or even trendy rusty iron sculptures when I can have these?

6 thoughts on “My special skinks”

  1. Welcome Nikki! Yes I am appreciating the beauty of the red-bellied black more as the fear lessens!

  2. What a lucky lady you are! Here in southern california I get small kingsnakes and garter snakes. Nothing as beautiful as your garden’s residents! Even the red-bellied black snake is gorgeous. I am a snake lover (and breed ball pythons), front fanged snakes make me uneasy as well. He’s a beauty to admire though.

  3. A lovely story, Laura; what lucky kids at your pre-school to have such a nature-loving teacher. Before I erected the snake screen door one of these skinks would often come inside here too.

  4. Hi Sharyn, my preschool is home to quite a few of these fearless little creatures, they often pop into the classroom to join in the days activities! One day we opened the compost list to find one had found his way in and as it was winter he was frozen and not moving much at all. The children were very worried so we put the skink on my fore arm under my jumper and jacket and there he stayed for about an hour and half, slowly warming up. The children called by every so often for progress reports! It was at one of these times when we checked him that he started to move about and he decided to run off back to the garden to join his friends once again. We like to think that he is happy and well and sometimes calling into the classroom for a visit.
    Cheers, Laura.

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