Variable Skink

Variable Skink Graham CookeVariable Skink Graham Cooke

Vital Statistics

Name
Variable Skink [Mabuya varia]
Class
Reptilia
Order
Squamata
Family
Scincidae
Length_F
50 - 60 mm
Length_M
50 - 60 mm

Description

A medium-sized skink with a rounded snout and a window in each lower lid. Colouration is variable; the back may be blackish, olive, pale brown or red-brown, with or without black spots. There's always a distinct, white lateral stripe down the backbone and on the upper flanks. The belly is bluish-white.

Subspecies

A poorly-defined race, M.v. nyikae, is sometimes recognized from the Nyika Plateau in Malawi.

Distribution

South Eastern Cape, through Eastern Africa to Sudan and Somalia, west to Namibia, Angola and Congo.

Breeding

The Variable Skink is generally viviparous but there are place where they lay eggs - 6 - 12 which hatch after a 60 day incubation period. The growth is fast and young reach maturity in only 8 months.

Diet

Grasshoppers, caterpillars and termites, spiders and, in exceptional cases, other lizards.

Field Notes

Often difficult to identify due to the variation in colour, hence the name, this is nonetheless one of the most common and widespread of the skinks.
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