ENDEMIC. COMMON. RESIDENT.
DISTRIBUTION: Widespread throughout the South Island and in the Wellington and Hawkes Bay regions. Also found on most of the close offshore islands and the Chatham Islands.
HABITAT: Dry open areas with low vegetation or debris such as logs or stones for cover. Common in coastal areas, shingle riverbeds, tussock grassland, farmland and urban areas. Found to an altitude of 1700 m.
BREEDING: New Zealand Skinks are unusual in that they give birth to live young (with the exception of Suter’s skink). This is thought to be an adaptation to cope with colder climates. Skinks in warmer climates usually lay eggs. A litter of up to 8-9 young are usually born in January or February. The newborns are barely 25 mm long.
FOOD: Mostly small insects and spiders, but a varied diet of berries and flower nectar is occasionally consumed.
GENERAL: Like all skinks, the Common Skink is able to shed its tail when attacked, leaving it wriggling to distract the predator while the skink makes its escape. The tail later regrows, although never perfectly. With tail intact they have an overall length of about 14 cm.