Giant Legless Skink

Acontias plumbeus

The Giant Legless Skink is a southern African endemic, occurring only on the highlands of Zimbabwe and neighbouring Mozambique, the extreme south of the latter country, Swaziland and South Africa’s Lowveld, Kwazulu-Natal and an apparently isolated population around East London in the Eastern Cape.  It is not a snake but actually the world’s largest skink (type of lizard), measuring up to half a meter in length. The Giant Legless Skink lives in damp soil and leaf litter, mainly in a variety of forest and thicket habitats, and sometimes emerges above ground following drenching rains. It feeds on invertebrates, frogs and smaller reptiles. In late summer females give birth to between 2 and 14 live young.

The IUCN lists the Giant Legless Skink as being of least concern.

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54 thoughts on “Giant Legless Skink

    1. de Wets Wild Post author

      Die grond raak versadig met water en dan vind hul dit moeilik om ondergronds te beweeg en asem te haal, Ineke, en kom dan na die oppervlak. Met eerste oogopslag lyk hul seker grillerig, maar ek dink die idee van n pootlose akkedis is fassinerend – moes wees hoe die eerste slange gelyk het.

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    1. de Wets Wild Post author

      The legs must’ve been lost during the evolution to a subterranean life, and I think the scientific world probably have already corrected its classification – when first discovered it must’ve been thought of as a snake – I mean just look at it!

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    1. de Wets Wild Post author

      Daar is n baie besonderse wereld onder die grond wat ons omtrent nooit te siene kry nie en nog minder van weet, Petru. Ek kan net dink hoeveel soorte onbekende diere afgemaai word wanneer groot stede en dorpe so teen n pas uitbrei.

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      1. petrujviljoen

        So twee jaar gelede was hier ‘n firebreak wat weggehardloop het – een vlagie wind en die hele kant van die kloof is daarmee heen. Ek weet nie hoeveel dekades dit net gelos is dat dit groei nie. Ek was veral jammer vir die diertjies. Duisende akkedisse en wie weet wat nog is daarmee heen. Selfs die ondergrondse wortel sisteem van party bome het so weggesmeul. As mens daarop loop nou is dit amper soos spons.

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        1. de Wets Wild Post author

          Vuur kan verskriklike skade aanrig, veral met menslike oe beskou, maar ek staan dikwels verbaas hoe vinnig die natuur eintlik weer terugkom in n gebied wat vir n mens heeltemal vernietig gelyk het!

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    1. de Wets Wild Post author

      Thanks very much, Carol! Indeed, they’re not often seen and when we do its always been from a vehicle in a location where you’re not allowed to alight, making it difficult to get a good side-on shot. Nevertheless seeing one is always a treat!

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