Prehensile-Tailed Skink/Solomon Islands Skink/Monkey-Tailed Skink

Prehensile-Tailed Skink/Solomon Islands Skink/Monkey-Tailed Skink Corucia zebrata

Type of Animal:

Forests, semi-cleared areas, trees in cultivated food gardens

Solomon Islands

World’s largest skink, long body, strong short legs, triangular-shaped head w/ small round eyes, noticeable prehensile tail, males have broader heads & more slender body shape, fairly flat triangular head on both sexes, common/nominate subspecies larger/longer than Northern subspecies, dark green to olive-brown coloration often speckled w/ light brown/black, females slightly heavier but males longer

Leaves, leafy plants, greens, fruit, vegetables, legumes, melons, berries, flowers, shoots

Status in Wild:

Breeding in zoos, aquariums, wildlife centers, & herpetoculture. Exportation from Solomon Islands illegal.

Found in group called circulus comprising male, 1-3 females, & young/juveniles. Solitary individuals (especially males) also occur).

Additional Info:

Group: Circulus

Male: 1-1.8 lbs
Female: 1-2 lbs
Young: 0.66 lbs

7-10 months 

Life Span:
15-25 years

Body Length:
Male: 2-2.3 ft
Female: 1.83-2 ft
Young: 1.4 ft

Tail Length:
Male: 1-1.15 ft
Female: 0.915-1 ft
Young: 0.7 ft

Main predators are raptors, boas, & rats.
Threatened due to pet trade, habitat loss, deforestation, hunting for meat, & low reproductive rate.
They’re ovoviviparous w/ 1-2 eggs hatching inside mom’s body, coming out as 1-2 live young.
Young stay in circulus until 6-12 months old w/ males leaving before females. Whole circulus highly protective of young, often attacking intruders.
Circulus members highly territorial of area/towards unfamiliar skinks, w/ territorial battles sometimes resulting in death. Males can be especially territorial & almost never accept other males. Females may sometimes accept new females.
These skinks are highly arboreal.
Also called Solomon Islands Tree Skink, Corucia Skink, Zebra Skink, Solomon Island Giant Skink, & Solomon Island Green Tree Skink.
Sexually mature at 2 years old.
Prehensile tail comes in handy for grabbing branches/maintaining balance.
Sharp hooked claws act as climbing picks.

Fun Fact(s):
Only skink species w/ prehensile tail.
Only entirely herbivorous skink.
Unlike many lizards & many skinks, they can’t regenerate tail if it falls off, meaning preferred mode of defense is hissing/biting/scratching.
These skinks can be fairly tame in captivity but caution must be taken around them (especially if there’s young around) due to powerful jaws & sharp claws. They’re not beginner pets.

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