L is for Lizard! Behold, the rarely seen she-oak skink! #MelaleucaMiscellany

She-oak skink? Depends on who's asking.

“Take my photo, if you must. It has been a rather trying morning.”

Making my way to the airstrip one morning, I almost trod on this unfortunate lizard.  This is the rarely seen, but not uncommon, she-oak skink (Cyclodomorphus casuarinae), also known as a slender blue tongue. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I’m not sure if I should actually be calling this lizard unfortunate – perhaps it’d had a splendid stroke of luck. On the other side of the track, just a few metres away, sat a tiger snake, apparently having trouble swallowing something.  Whether this “something” was our friend’s recently shed tail, I can’t say, but it did seem to be rather suspicious timing.

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Short-tailed she-oak skink!

She-oak skinks live across a broad range of environments in Tasmania, come in many colours and patterns (leopard print, geometric, plaid), but despite this, are not commonly seen.  At Melaleuca, the one reliable spot to track them down was around the compost bins at Melaleuca South.

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“Look, if you’re done with your amateur naturalist-ing, I’m afraid I really must be off.”

Skinks can drop their tails when threatened by predators, sacrificing a fairly sizeable chunk of their body in the hope that whatever wanted to make a meal of them will be happy enough with a snack.  Having had a rather traumatic morning already, this one quickly tired of my unprofessional paparazzo attempts, and let me know so in no uncertain terms.

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“Dreadfully sorry, but I really do think it would be a good idea for you to remove that camera from up my nostrils, before I am forced to bite your face off.”

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