Lizards > Skinks > Kaapse Skink

Skinks (Scincidae; skinke, gladde akkedisse)

Cape Skink / Kaapse Skink

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Trachylepis capensis

Size It is a large, often obese, skink with adult snout-vent length ranging from 80-135 mm. No sexual size dimorphism have been recorded.

Description Typical of terrestrial forms, the body is slightly elongated and tubular and the limbs relatively short. There is no well-defined neck. The body is light brown to olive greyish brown, with three pale longitudinal stripes. Between the stripes and extending onto the flanks are series of dark brown to black spots or short bars. The belly is uniformly yellowish-white to grey. Occasional specimens are uniform grey-brown above, sometimes with vague stripes.

Biology The Cape skink is probably the best known lizard in South Africa as it is common in gardens and has an extensive range in South Africa. It tames easily, and will eventually eat from one's hand. Such tame individuals may become very fat. Unfortunately, domestic cats have a considerable impact on the numbers of this lizard in urban areas. Like most skinks, the Cape skink is ground-living and shelters in tunnels that it digs at the base of bushes or boulders. It also favours any kind of debris to hide underneath and is, for example, particularly common at municipal dumps. It is a live-bearing species and gives birth to 5-18 babies in late summer. There are reports of females in certain areas also laying clutches of eggs, but this still needs to be confirmed. In the wild, it is fairly secretive and will more often been heard than seen. It is an active forager and hunts large insects.

Distribution It occurs throughout South Africa (with the exception of the extreme northern regions and the lowveld) and reaches well into Namibia and Botswana. Relict populations also occur in Zimbabwe.

Distribution in the GCBC Probably occurs throughout the Corridor.

Conservation status Not listed.

Threats None identified.

Current studies None.


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