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Solomon Island Skinks

Scientific Name Corucia zebrata

Native To The Soloman Islands which are located off the coast of Papua New Guinea northeast of Australia

Habitat Tree-dwelling

Diet Herbivore: leaves, flowers and fruit

Size and Age 61-76 cm (2-2.5 ft) long; average lifespan 15 years

Natural History

Solomon Island skinks are also commonly known as monkey-tailed skinks, or prehensile-tailed skinks, for their unique prehensile tail. This tail acts like a fifth limb when the skinks are clambering about in the trees. If a skink slips from a branch, it can hold its entire body weight by its tail. Solomon Island skinks are also known for living in family groups called a circulus, which are unusual among reptiles. Both male and female skinks will defend the territory, and members, of a circulus, even if they are not directly related.


Conservation Status

Solomon Island skinks are exploited for the pet trade; they are taken illegally from their natural habitat and sold on the black market. These reptiles also face the threat of deforestation.

Interesting Facts

  • Females give birth to live young (rather than laying eggs); their offspring are very large in comparison to the mother—up to half her size!
  • Unlike other lizards, these skinks cannot regenerate their tail.
  • Solomon Island skinks are the largest species of skink in the world.