Only one introduced species, the rainbow skink, has successfully established itself her
Click on geckos for the difference between a skink and a gecko.
DISTRIBUTION: Widespread throughout the South Island and North Island and on offshore islands. There are two main groups of skinks. The Oligosoma genusis found on the mainland and the Cyclodina genus is only found only in the North Island and offshore islands.
HABITAT: Skinks live in a wide variety of habitats ranging from coastal to high altitude. Each species has adapted to it's specific habitat. They love basking on the rocks during the day and are mostly active during the day. Many New Zealand skinks are ground dwelling with at least one species which lives in trees. Skinks which live on rocky outcrops or trees are able to climb very well, although not as well as geckos.
BREEDING: Skinks lay eggs, but all New Zealand skinks give birth to live young, this maybe due to cold-climate adaptation. There is only one New Zealand skink which lays eggs, the Egg-laying skink, which is found on islands off the northern North Island. Skinks usually give birth to 2-5 young, but some will have up to 10 at a time
FOOD: Mostly small insects and spiders, but a varied diet of berries and flower nectar is occasionally consumed.
GENERAL: Skinks can regrow a lost tail. They are good swimmers as well as having a good sense of smell, hearing and sight.
THREATS: Predators and habitat loss
LIST OF RARE SKINKS -
ALBORN SKINK - discovered in the 1990s and has been rarely detected since. less than 20 individuals detected
BARRIER SKINK - only from alpine habitats at three sites in the south-western SI
BURGAN SKINK - whole populations of this threatened skink have been lost since the 1980s – probably one two viable populations persist
CHESTERFIELD SKINK - this species of skink is confined to a narrow strip of coastal habitat 150 – 200 individuals
CHEVRON SKINK - one of NZ rarest and most secretive lizards
COBBLE SKINK - discovered in 2007 at a tiny beach near Westport population 36 individuals
GRAND AND OTAGO SKINKS - both unique to Otago and are two of NZ rarest reptiles
ORNATE SKINK - populations in gradual decline
SINBAD SKINK - only found in an alpine habitat in Fiordland
STRIPED SKINK - one of NZ least known and rarely seen lizards
TE KAKAHU- skink only known to live in one small area in Chalky Inlet, Fiordland
WHIRINAKI SKINK - only found in a small area at Bream Head – population unknown but less than 1 hectare of occupied habitat
WHITE-BELLIED SKINK - was only discovered in 2004 already in a critical state. Less than 250 individuals