Thursday, 11 March 2010

A Skink And A Bronzeback?

On this particular morning, there were a lot of skinks actively moving around, perhaps looking for prey?  I easily counted at least six skinks of various species on the short walk towards a trail but managed to take a photo of only one of them.



Based on its size and the distinctive large orange patch, it is quite probably the Many-lined Sun Skink.  Skinks are usually quite elusive.  Sometimes you would see them basking in the sun but they will go into hiding among leaf litter or among rocks at the slightest distraction or movement within their sphere.  Quite often you would see a swift slithering creature and just a bit of the tail before it disappears out of sight and you would think it might have been a snake.

This skink here was chasing another smaller skink when it caught my attention.  When he realised I was watching him, he stopped to assess me for just a minute before disappearing.  I was lucky to have my camera in hand and ready to shoot a dragonfly when all that happened.

Anyway, as I walked further along, I spotted another tiny head and an eye staring at me from among some rocks next to a stream, very similar to the skink in the photo above but all I saw was just that bit of its tiny head.

I was thinking, "ok, another skink..." when it decided to move away. 

And a skink it was not. 

This time I didn't manage to get a photo.  When it started moving into the bushes, its long body slithered along and its length was at least a meter or more.  Its colours were very similar to the Many-lined Sun Skink and it was just beautiful.  All that was over in just a few seconds. 

Based on the markings, I would think it was the Common or Painted Bronzeback, which is described as having a bronze upper body and head, black face mask and yellow or cream stripe on the first two scale rows of the body bordered above and below by a black line (Cox et al, 2006).

One of these days, perhaps I'll manage to get a photo of these snakes too...


Reference:  Merel J. Cox, Peter Paul Van Dijk, Jarujin Nabhitabhata and Kumthorn Thirakhupt, A Photographic Guide To Snakes And Other Reptiles Of Peninsular Malaysia, Singapore And Thailand (New Holland Publishers (UK) Ltd, 2006).



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