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Sociable Skinks

Australia has some of the world’s most social reptiles and among the most social of all is Egernia stokesii, known in Western Australia as the spiny-tailed skink. It lives in stable family groups of up to 17 members. Group living in reptiles is unusual, recorded in less than 1% of species.

A Western Australian subspecies, the western spiny-tailed skink, is listed as endangered under federal law and vulnerable in Western Australia. There is also an unnamed black form in the Cue-Yalgoo-Mt Magnet region, including on the proposed parks, which could be a different species.

Spiny-tailed skink mates are typically monogamous. The young are born live and may live for several years with their parents and siblings. They recognise their kin and group members – presumably by smell – and can live more than 25 years (in captivity at least).

Photo: Terrestrial Ecosystems