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Skinks

Skinks are the largest group of Australian lizards with over 400 species in the family Skincidae While most skinks as we know them are only about 10cm long there are some species that grow up to 70cm in length and others are as small as 22mm. They are the typical small lizard, they are sun-loving and very quick to disappear when disturbed, and they also may shed their tail when threatened as a decoy to wannabe predators. They have very wide ranging habitats; several species are almost entirely sub-terrainian, rarely venturing above ground. Because of their physical diversity they are difficult to define but generally have smooth overlapping body scales, often quite shinny. They have broad tongues and moveable eye lids, most have four limbs and five toes on each. As diverse as they are there are exceptions with some skinks being almost legless and others without eyelids etc

Some species are nocturnal while others are diurnal, most species eat insects and some eat worms, fungus, frog eggs and the like. Most species lay eggs yet some birth live young.

The larger and well known blue-tongue and shingle back (bobtail) lizards are among the larger of the skinks, there are roughly a dozen species and subspecies within the genus that are native to Australia; and others in PNG and Indonesia. The common garden lizard (Lampropholis guichenoti) or sun-skink is another handy skink to have around as its diet is predominantly insectivorous.