Thursday, February 16, 2012

Lizard wife of snake - the Skink!

In my childhood days I was warned about a slithering lizard inhabiting wastelands. It is still believed that its presence means that there is also its 'consort' nearby - snake! That lizard has also a warning red line line on its sides extending to its tail end. It is the Common Sun Skink (
Mabuya multifasciata, 'Paambu Rani' or 'Paambaranai' in Tamil).

It is not a 'female snake' as it is meant by its Tamil name; but it is a clearly different and separate reptile belonging to the lizard family. Unlike other lizards it has no neck and has only smaller legs. It moves like a snake, having a long tail. Its tail is shed off as soon as it is grabbed; then the tail regenerates. Its body is 3 to 5 inches in length. It is carnivorous taking mainly insects like crickets, bees, and grasshoppers. It is ovo-viviparous (hatching eggs internally and then giving birth to young ones). Its predators are snakes, crows, herons and hawks.
This harmless wonder lizard scared my wife too by wandering inside our quarters during my rural medical service!

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