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Prehensile-tailed Tree Skink

Prehensile-tailed Tree Skink
Photo Information
Copyright: Loot Eksteen (loot) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5524 W: 722 N: 4163] (11276)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2006-05-06
Categories: Reptiles
Camera: Canon EOS 350D, Sigma 28-300mm f/3.5-6.3 HZ DG Macro, Digital ISO 100, UV 62mm Kenko
Exposure: f/8, 1/200 seconds
Details: (Fill) Flash: Yes
More Photo Info: [view]
Photo Version: Original Version
Theme(s): Zoo animals, Captivity, Pretoria Zoo 1, Reptiles - Skinks 1, RARE or SIGNIFICANT contributions to TN 1, A study in Herpetology (reptiles) 1, Lime Greens [view contributor(s)]
Date Submitted: 2007-02-15 19:13
Viewed: 10213
Points: 60
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
Prehensile-tailed tree skink - Corucia zebrata

I wanted to take a slight respite from my Kruger Park series and for that I delved into my archives. This photo was taken during a visit to the Pretoria Zoo, earlier last year. The Aquarium & Reptile Park offers a home to 447 specimens of 90 different reptile species. Those of you who might be interested may see more information on this wonderful facility, from some of my earlier postings here or here. Or just visit the Pretoria Zoo web-page.

Taxonomic Classification

KINGDOM: Animalia (animals)
PHYLUM: Chordata (vertebrates, tunicates, & lancelets)
CLASS: Reptilia (crocodilia, lizards, snakes, and turtles)
ORDER: Squamata (scaled reptiles – lizards and snakes)
FAMILY: Scincidae (skinks)

They can weigh as much as 0,4-0,8kg. The snout to cloacae length can measure up to 40cm with the prehensile tail making up the additional length; up to 81cm from snout to tail tip. The babies are born between 15-20cm long. The head is large and flat with small eyes. These large skinks range in colour from bright green to a near black. Black, yellow, and shades of various greens decorate the back, tail, and belly in random molting spots or stripes. The skin is supposedly smoother and shinier than any other lizards. Their scales are smooth, flat and overlapping. They have a short tongue that is broad, flat and fleshy. They have large powerful claws and a long prehensile tail, which enables them to sustain a rich arboreal life. The tail is adapted for seizing, grasping or holding. The long claws have razor sharp hooks, which enables them to cling to trees. Unlike other lizards, they do not have the capability to break off their tails when caught by predators since their tail is used as an extra appendage. Mature males appear to have wider heads than females.

They can be found mostly in the Solomon Islands where they inhabit tropical rain forest.

They are shy and secretive and seldom stray far from their shelter. They are crepuscular and nocturnal and hangs suspended from branches or hides in tree hollows during the day.

They are almost exclusively herbivorous, eating fruits and vegetables, and rarely insects.

They are ovoviviparous and have a relatively long gestation period, which last 6-7 months. Female skinks give birth to 1-2 offspring at a time. The young stays in close association with the parent although the parent does not directly protect the babies. The presence of the adult skink deters some predators like raptors, boas, rats and shrews, which prey on the young. The young skink is able to live independently and they forage for their own food at a very young age. Source.

Post Processing was done with Adobe Photoshop Elements 2.0.

Janice, Adanac, manyee, dew77, horia, stevkds, ramthakur, anel, Silke, RAP, peter_stoeckl, Watershed, marhowie, Dyker, scottevers7, Aaltjie, betsie, Miss_Piggy, boreocypriensis, Rehanna has marked this note useful
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Critiques [Translate]

Salut Lott
C'est une très belle prise de vue que tu nous présente avec ce reptil de la préhistoire. Les belle couleurs et les beaux détails et La composition sont très réussie.

Merci pour le partage amitié ...JP

  • Great 
  • Janice Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3277 W: 148 N: 6163] (18832)
  • [2007-02-15 20:37]

You show the head very clearly Loot, and the colours and details look good. The patterns on his face show up really well and it is interesting to read about and see him,

  • Great 
  • Adanac Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 1273 W: 1 N: 6188] (21378)
  • [2007-02-15 21:44]

Hello Loot,
Thank you for this excellent closeup of this skink, you have captured fantastic details and brilliant colors.

  • Great 
  • arfer Gold Star Critiquer [C: 2731 W: 0 N: 0] (0)
  • [2007-02-15 22:49]

Hello Loot

Not all the dinosaurs went extinct,an excellent shot of this skink.Looks like a mini dino.Wonderful detail and texture on the skin.Very well lit to show nice natural colours.I'd swear his scaley little hands had painted fingernails.lol.Nice detail in the eye too.TFS


Hi Loot,
This is incredible photography - It is almost impossible to think that you can get so many colours in such a small creature - Well done!!
(Wish I had nails like this skink!)

  • Great 
  • manyee Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3089 W: 230 N: 6774] (23770)
  • [2007-02-16 1:25]

Greetings, Loot. : )
Who is this beauty? Hehe...
A very reptilian face, I have to say. : P
A fantastic POV that allows us to see every scale in sharp details.
You have managed to render the texture of that skink's skin perfectly.
It amazes me how many shapes the scales come in.
A fascinating animal.
TFS for the great picture and the wonderful notes. : )

  • Great 
  • dew77 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 4432 W: 248 N: 4028] (13270)
  • [2007-02-16 3:34]

Hello Loot,
Magnificent capture.Details and sharpness on head are amazing.I liked POV,DOF you managed,framing and composition also a lot.Have a great day!

hi loot,
nice m,acro shot,
nice sharp image with good details of the scales on the skin,
nice colours,
tfs & regards

Hello Loot,
Really well done on this green Corucia zebrata, Excllent colors the focus is perfect focused on the eye, well done with excllent details very crisp well composed and capture great Job

TFS Kyle

  • Great 
  • horia Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2158 W: 224 N: 4749] (16656)
  • [2007-02-16 10:18]

Hi Loot

How nice to see something like this from you! (not that i don't like the others...but i'm a big reptile fan) :)
This is definately a very interesting species. I read your notes with much interest.
However...i'm not to sure of the fact that they have the smoothest skin than any other lizards...did you take that from somewhere? Because looking at the picture it doesn't appear nowhere near as smooth as the one from Anguis fragilis - the slow worm. I have a couple of shots of this one, if your curious, but i think what you'd find on a google search would pretty much give you a decent idea :)
Anyway...these are really some very minor details.
The photo itself is beautiful and i love that rich and vivid coloration. Te details - especially on the head are superb - and i love to see all those textures.
Too bad you couldn't catch one up on a branch...to see that cute prehensile tail in action :)

Cheers and TFS

What a huge yet amazingly sharp macro of this golden Tree Skink, Loot!
Thanks for sharing this beautiful 'find' from your rich archives.
Best regards,

  • Great 
  • whjb Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 51 W: 26 N: 172] (683)
  • [2007-02-16 13:40]

Hi Loot,

Nie gedink jy is n dieretuin besoeker nie. Interesting composition. These shots are never easy as these reptiles are normally behind glass in zoos. That in itself poses some challenges with focusing and reflecting light.

Well done.


  • Great 
  • Silke Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 729 W: 98 N: 1707] (5458)
  • [2007-02-16 14:05]

It's not that easy being green;
Having to spend each day the color of the leaves.
When I think it could be nicer being red, or yellow or gold...
or something much more colorful like that.

It's not easy being green.
It seems you blend in with so many other ord'nary things.
And people tend to pass you over 'cause you're
not standing out like flashy sparkles in the water
or stars in the sky.

But green's the color of Spring.
And green can be cool and friendly-like.
And green can be big like an ocean, or important like a mountain,
or tall like a tree.

When green is all there is to be
It could make you wonder why, but why wonder why?
Wonder, I am green and it'll do fine, it's beautiful!
And I think it's what I want to be.
~~Joe Rapposo

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  • anel Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 3053 W: 3 N: 8715] (40574)
  • [2007-02-16 14:05]

Hi Loot,
Amazig face of this skink. It seems to come out of another time. I like your picture with the accent put on the interesting head of this lizard. Great shot.
Best regards

  • Great 
  • RAP Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2524 W: 345 N: 2373] (7405)
  • [2007-02-17 9:16]

Bello espécimen el presentado aquí Loot con excelente punto de vista y elección del recorte.
Los detalles y texturas que se perciben en sus escamas son notables.
Personalmente creo que la intensidad (o difusión) del flash no fue la adecuada produciendo algunos reflejos indeseables y el DOF algo escaso considerando el POV donde no hubiese cambiado mucho estéticamente el uso de mayor profundidad.
Los colores son agradables y el exacto foco sobre el ojo, remarcable.
Mis mejores saludos... Ricardo

Beautiful specimen that presented here Loot with excellent point of view and election of the cutting.
The details and textures that are perceived in their flakes are notable.
Personally I believe that the intensity (or diffusion) of the flash was not the appropriate producing some undesirable reflections and DOF something scarce considering POV where has not changed much aesthetically the use of more depth.
The colors are pleasant and the exact focus on the eye, remarkable.
My best regards... Ricardo

  • Great 
  • jmp Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1659 W: 95 N: 2273] (8415)
  • [2007-02-17 14:17]

Hi Loot,
I like this golden lizard. Excellent composition, focus, exposure and details on head. I enjoy your note and found interesting its way to climb so opposite to my gecko, that is an excellent climber too, but without hooks.
TFS and best regards, José M.

Dear Loot,
the shiningly bright green skin of this giant skink has been very well reported by you here. I like your decision of making a close-up from just the head including its front legs, so this reptile comes to look really huge and powerful. Beautiful eye.
And thank you for the excellent notes, as always from your factory.
With best regards,

Hi Loot,
Excellent shot with beautifull colours and great details of the skin. Nicely composed.
Well done!
TFS Stéph

Well done Loot,
Very sharp detail of the head here, nice POV. Well composed with good looking colors and exposure. I see you used your flash, but was it under house lights as well?
Excellent note and links.
Very well done.

  • Great 
  • Dyker Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 136 W: 0 N: 57] (170)
  • [2007-02-18 13:02]

Hello Loot
You show us a very nice and interesting skink with beautiful details in the eye. You did well with the DOF to capture the head in full focus although the rest of the body shows enough detail to show this attractive reptile with all its charming cold-blooded features. The fill-in flash highlighted the textures of the skin very well and although your notes mention that it is suppose to have a very smooth skin (or scales at least) it looks like this crinkle-cut face could do well with the interventions of a plastic surgeon. I assume you have taken this through glass because as far as I can remember all these animal enclosures have glass in front. You did well with this aspect as I cannot see any evidence of reflections or scratches, etc.

Hi Loot,
A great fill flash exposure has rendered some amazing green colors and tones. I love reptiles for the patterns and detailed texture of their skin. You have brought that out extremely well here. As aways, your notes are superb!

Hi loot,
Well focused, great sharpness, excellent details.
Superb macro shot.

Ben Lakitan

When I saw this photo of the Prehensile-tailed Tree Skink, it immediately took me back into time to my childhood.
Not because I had one of these beautiful creatures as a pet, but in my mind’s eye I could see my dad buffing his shoes.
That is the first thought that came to mind when I saw this photo. It is so shiny, it looks like it has been buffed.
This photo is unbelievable. It does not matter on what angle you look at the photo, the green emerald coloured eye follows you, or your own eye keeps on returning to the reptiles eye. It is truely (eyecatching) and stunning.
It also looks as if the skink is covered in a layer of gold dust. It is an outstanding photo. Beautiful combination of colours.
Congratulations and thanks for sharing.
The notes are once again spot on.
I appreciate you and your contributions to the site.

Muy buenas Lott
Una toma con gran detalle y nitidez, nos muestras a un lagarto que tiene cara de bueno.
Un saludo

Hello Loot,
Interesting view of this kind of reptile a new one for me. Flash well managed and nice colours. Maybe short focal depth. Interesting note.
Best regards

  • Great 
  • Viera Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 82 W: 0 N: 74] (494)
  • [2007-03-03 1:39]

Hi Loot,
I like this photo very much,you posted really interesting animal.The sharpness of its head is superb, perfect detail of the eye!
Very nice shot.
Best regards,

Hi Loot,

Really cool capture ogf this skink. This species looks somewhat similiar to the Australian blue tongue skink. They both have that tough armour look to them. Very nice capture with sharp details. :)

Hallo Loot
This is an absolute stunning capture and you have managed to photograph it so closely. Thanks for sharing this lovely presentation. The golden green colour is really beautiful and displays well. The shape of the skink’s head reminds me of a tortoise’s head, but I don’t think one can compare these two reptiles eyes with one another. The lime green of the skink’s eye is a fabulous colour and really attractive. I cannot remember that I have seen a tortoise with such beautiful coloured eyes. You have really done well with the presentation on this one. Not only is the image great looking, the focus is also super sharp. Details like the nostrils, the skin’s texture and the huge paws are clearly visible and a feast to the eye. I once again want to stress that the colour of this skink is really beautiful. Thanks for sharing this lovely image as well as the very informed note that accompanied this posting.

Hi Loot, what an impressive macro shot of this beautifully coloured scincid which I have not seen till now. I love his head scallation and greenish eyes. Wooww.... Many thanks for sharing this beauty my friend!


Hello Loot

Aangesien ek nog niks nuuts vanaf jou kant sien kom en jou geleerde vriend hierdie dierasie met die groen oë so hoog aanskryf het ek toe maar goed gedink om ook 'n ou gesiggie te kom by voeg.

Alhoewel ek sekerlik my kort beentjies stomp sou hardloop as ek een van hulle sou ontmoet kan ek nie anders as om te erken dat dit nogals 'n besondere akkadis oftewel dan skink is. Dit lyk nogal vreemd met daardie ronde neus. Dit is egter 'n pragtige foto met goeie fokus en komposisie met die tak wat 'n tikkie addisionele belang skep.


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