A Cape Skink in the Crocodile River Reserve by Anthony Stewien

Cape Skink

The Cape skink or Cape three-lined skink is quite large at 22 to 27 cm, and is often a rather plump lizard which has three distinctive light stripes running down it’s back. Its skin is light brown to grey or yellowish on its belly and its scales are smooth and closely fit.

The Cape skink is found thoughout Southern Africa, often in loose stones or a small tunnel at the foot of a boulder or tree.

It feeds on insects such as beetles, crickets and grasshoppers mainly as well as spiders and worms. It is worth encouraging this lizard in your garden and discouraging pets like cats and dogs from harming them because of its diet of pests such as crickets, moths and rose beetles. Its natural predators in the wild include the fiscal shrike and various snakes.

This species of skink is live-bearing and the female may take up to a week to birth her litter of offspring – often between 8 and 18 per brood. Each baby is born in a thin, membranous bag or ‘shell’ that it breaks out of within seconds. Newborns measure measure 5 to 7 cm.

Photograph by Anthony Stewien