The Indian forest skink

Writer: Issac Cohen  |  Editor: Zhang Chanwen  |  From: Shenzhen Daily

An Indian forest skink is seen in Meilin Park, Futian District. Photos by Issac Cohen

The Indian forest skink

The Indian forest skink (Sphenomorphus indicus) is a fascinating species of skink we can find in Shenzhen. This charming 15-centimeter-long lizard has a very short neck and relatively small legs, with a cylindrical tail of about the length of its body. It has a gleaming appearance with rows of tiny scales around the center of its body with variant coloration depending on the age and sex of the animal. The adults are brown on top with a distinctive blackish frame in the center of the body and a lighter underbelly. The top of the body also may have some dark marks.


The Indian forest skink is an insectivore, feeding on various insects and other small invertebrates. It forages at night among leaf litter or shrubs.


An Indian forest skink is seen in Meilin Mountain, Meilin Park, Futian District.

It is oviparous, meaning that it lays eggs rather than giving birth to live young, and females can lay up to four eggs per clutch, which hatch after an incubation period of around two months.


The Indian forest skink is essential to its ecosystem as a predator of insects and other small invertebrates. It also provides food for larger predators such as birds of prey and snakes. It is also an important indicator species, meaning that its presence or absence can provide valuable information about the ecosystem’s health. Because any change in the standard conditions of its habitat can severely affect them, its presence is a positive sign that things are in order.


An Indian forest skink is seen in Meilin Park, Futian District.

Let’s keep protecting our forests so we can enjoy this and other species in the future in our beautiful city.