Thursday, March 24, 2011

Stump Tailed Skink

The stump tailed skink ( Trachydosaurus rugosus) is a species of skink found in Australia.  It is even found on the Rottenest island.  It is locally common and not threatened.

Physical Features
Tongue of a stump tailed skink
The stumped tailed skink can vary in size.  Some are 41 cm and some can be almost 50 cm.  They are very heavily built and have a triangular shaped head unlike many lizards and skinks.  They have very minute ear openings and very short legs which make them different from most of the other species of lizards and skinks.  Some types of stump tailed skinks have a short and blunt tail which resembles the head.  Most of their predators and prey get confused due to the resemblance of the head and tail.  Their large scales are rough and knobby.  Like the blue tongue skink, the stump tailed skink also has a blue tongue.  Their body color can vary from dark brown to black.

The stump tailed skink is mainly omnivorous.  The regularly eat vegetables and plants but eat snails, insects and carrion also.

Distribution and Habitat
The stump tailed skink's main habitat is dry woodland and semi-arid areas.  They are mainly found in Southern Australia from New South Wales to the coast of the state Western Australia.  They are aslo found in the Rottenest island off coast of Western Australia.

Females reproduce 1 to 2 young each year with a gestation period of 5 months

Common names
The other names for the stump tailed skink are-
Boggi which is a local name, sleepy lizard, pine cone lizard, bob tailed lizard and shingleback lizard.

Conservation Status
The stump tailed skink is currently not threatened and is not listed as a threatened species in IUCN.

Source of pic 1 and pic 2

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Crocodile Skink

The crocodile skink (Tribolonotus gracilis) is a species of skink found in Papua New Guinea, near Australia.  Their head resembles a head of a crocodile and therefore is named the crocodile skink.They are rated as 'vulnerable' by IUCN.

Physical Features
The crocodile skink measures about 8 inches (20 cm).  They weigh about 500 grams.  Their heads are triangular in shape and has a casque at the rear.  The scales on their tail awkwardly point backward.  They have big and spiny scales along their back like crocodiles have.  These skinks have a body color of brown on the back and have a yellowish brown color in the underside.There is always and orange ring type outline around their eyes.  There is a yellow pigment present on the anterior edge of their eyes.

Crocodile skinks are omnivorous.  They eat both plants and insects.  They will prefer eating insects on plants but sometimes eat plants when insects are scarce.

Life Cycle
Female crocodile skinks lay on egg and occasionally two eggs.  The eggs hatch after 65 to 75 days.Several clutches of eggs are laid during the correct season.  Males protects the eggs while females go out in search of food for themselves.

Distribution and Habitat
The crocodile skink lives in coconut plantations and forests which are close to water or some wetland.  they are only found in New Guinea.

Source of pic 1 

Friday, March 4, 2011


The kokako (Callaeas cinerea) is a species of forest bird found in few islands in New Zealand and near it.  It is endangered due to introduction of alien species and habitat loss.  It is one of the three species of the wattlebird family, the others being the extinct huia and the endangered tieke.

Physical Features
The kokako is like a pigeon, measuring 39 cm (15 inches) and has a wingspan of 48 cm (19 inches).  They weigh 227 grams and have longer legs than pigeons.  Compared to pigeons, they have longer tails but shorter wings.  They have blue wattle folds beneath their beaks with make them different and recognizable.  Their feathers are steel gray and they have a jet black face mask.  Immature kokakos do not have light face masks and lack the wattles.  The South Island kokako has orange wattles with only a patch of blue.

Kokako feeding on berries
The kokako feeds on leaves, berries, mosses, ferns, cones and they even eat insects in necessary.  They always pluck their food with the help of only one claw.

The kokakos are poor flyers.  They prefer to leap from one branch to the other with their powerful and long legs.  Koakos making terrific calls.  Their calls can be heard from meters away.  Mating pairs normally sing a duet song for one hour in the morning.  They can maximum fly for 100 meters continuously and then they glide.  They are normally compared to a flying squirrel

Life Cycle
Kokakos make nests of twigs and mosses where they lay their eggs.They lay up to 3 eggs.  The eggs have an incubation period of 20 days and the young fledge after 30 days.

Distribution and Habitat
The kokakos are found in the North Island and Great Barrier island of New Zealand.  They are considered to be extinct in the South Island.  They prefer to live in lowland and mountain forests in New Zealand.  Kokakos are endemic to New Zealand.

Conservation Status
The kokakos are endangered in many parts of its range.  It is considered to be extinct in the South Island.  It recently has been introduced to 3 islands in New Zealand.  Their are estimated fewer than 400 pairs remaining in the world.  They are mainly endangered due to habitat loss as people cut them down for timber.

Source of pict 1 and pict 2