Species at risk: Guthega skink
Endangered: Biodiversity Conservation Act 2016, IUCN RedList (IUCN 2018), Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999
The Guthega skink is a small (9-11cm), long-lived (10+ years) and fascinating lizard. It lives in the coldest and one of the wettest regions on mainland Australia and is one of our highest dwelling lizard species, only occurring above an altitude of 1600m.
Adults give birth to three or four live young during the warmer months after reaching sexual maturity at about four years of age – this is considered unusual, as almost all reptiles lay eggs. The Guthega skink prefers to live in rocky or thickly vegetated habitats, which provide important shelter. They gather together in warren systems, which they are loyal to, and have favourite basking locations. Home ranges are small and they prefer to stay near their burrows.
Major threats to the Guthega skink are habitat loss and fragmentation, predation from feral animals, changes in vegetation structure, and grazing and trampling by feral pigs, deer and horses. Heavy hooved feral horses trample the warrens of these skinks and their shelter is lost to grazing. The remaining populations of this intriguing lizard depend on the conservation of their habitat. With feral horses trampling and grazing the delicate alpine areas of Kosciuszko National Park, the Guthega skink will struggle to persist.
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- Chapple, D.G. (2003) Ecology, life-history, and behaviour in the Australian Scincid genus Egernia, with comments on the evolution of complex sociality in lizards. Herpetological Monographs 17: 145–180.
- Michael, D. & D. Lindenmeyer (2010). Reptiles of the NSW Murray Catchment. A guide to their identification, ecology & conservation. Collingwood, Victoria: CSIRO Publishing.