SPECIES: Egernia rugosa — Yakka Skink


The Yakka Skink. It's robust. It's secretive. It's clever. And adaptable. Here's why: It's a skink that's of a similar size as a Blue Tongue Lizard, growing up to 40cm in length, with a thick tail and short stocky limbs. Their habitat is open, dry forest, woodland and scrub and their hiding spots include rock cavities, under and between logs, tree stumps and abandoned animal burrows. Clever because they are skilled in excavating deep underground burrow systems. Adaptable because just about the only place they won't be found is in trees or in particularly rocky areas. Known as one of the largest skinks in eastern Queensland, and found as far down as the NSW border. To top it all off, a signature move of the Yakka Skink is leaving a pile of droppings near shelter sites - a behaviour of this genus of skink. And yes, in true Skink fashion, it will drop its tail as a defence mechanism to distract predators.

Habitat loss - clearing throughout much of the region in which the species are found, removal of rabbit warrens - which destroys shelter sites and predation by feral cats and foxes are the big threats of the dear Yakka Skink.

Photo: ABC

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