Speckled Rock Skink

Trachylepis punctatissima

The main population centre of the Speckled Rock Skink, a common and very adaptable lizard, encompasses Botswana, Lesotho and South Africa (Free State, Gauteng, western Kwazulu-Natal, Mpumalanga, Limpopo, North West and the eastern reaches of the Northern Cape) with a seperate population along the borders of Zambia and Malawi. They are diurnal, enjoy basking in the sun, feed on small invertebrates and inhabit a wide range of rocky grassland and savanna habitats, as well as urban landscapes. Speckled Rock Skinks become very tame around houses, especially where marauding pet cats are not a threat. In the colder, high-lying parts of their range they may hibernate through the harshest winter months. Females give birth to litters of 3-9 babies in summer. Adults measure around 19cm in length (including the tail).

The Speckled Rock Skink is closely related to the Striped Skink, was originally considered a race of that species, and isΒ listed as being of least concern by the IUCN. It is also known as the Montane Speckled Skink.

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22 thoughts on “Speckled Rock Skink

  1. naturebackin

    I always just assume Striped Skink, so from now on I will need to look more carefully to see if they are in fact Speckled Rock Skinks. I assume it is speckles that differentiate them?

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    1. de Wets Wild Post author

      The two species are very similar indeed, Carol, and were considered races of the same species until quite recently. I suppose the easiest feature to look for is that the stripe along the side of the body fades into speckles just after the front legs in the Speckled Rock Skink, whereas it extends all the way to the back legs in the Striped Skink. Here’s a link to our post on that species if you want to compare: https://dewetswild.com/2018/06/26/striped-skink/

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  2. Anne

    I am glad you have focused on skinks as they tend to be ignored in favour of larger or more colourful creatures. This year we have observed an unusual abundance of skinks, lizards and geckoes in both our home and in the garden – from minute to fairly large. The breeding conditions must have been just right for some reason.

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    1. de Wets Wild Post author

      We’ve noticed exactly the trend, Anne! Just one anecdote in support of what you’re saying: I’ve occupied the same office for the last 10 years, and for the first time I’ve now had to catch and release not one but three skinks, and that in the space of three weeks! I’ve still got no idea how they got in to begin with.

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