Eastern Water Skink
Eastern Water Skinks are Rocking the Suburbs
Even when the weather's cooling down during autumn, the Eastern Water Skink won't be cosying up quite yet. He'll be enjoying his time as a poolside visitor in your backyard too much!
In April, Eastern Water Skinks are busy preparing for winter's start. They'll soak up plenty of autumn sunshine and have extra helpings from your garden's creepy crawly buffet. This way, its body has enough fat to keep it warm during winter.
To be a buddy to the Eastern Water Skink, leave leaf litter, mulch, fallen branches and rocks around your garden. This will attract insects for them to eat and provide places for them to shelter and sun themselves on.
In winter, Eastern Water Skinks brumate. This means they spend most of their time resting to conserve their energy. These skinks are so skilled at staying still that during winter they'll only leave their shelters to search for food a few times.
The Eastern Water Skink is a true waterbaby, as its name suggests. It basks on rocks and logs near streams, ponds, rocky creek beds, rivers, wetlands and coastlines. Like snakes, these skinks are naturals at being in the water.
These skinks live all the way from Cooktown in northern Queensland to south-east New South Wales, and inland to South Australia through the Murray-Darling basin.
The Eastern Water Skink can be tricky to spot, even though it is a large skink and can grow up to 30 cm long. Its coppery olive and golden brown body is flecked with black, making this slinky skink a master of camouflage. It will often blend right in with the sun splattered rock it's lavishly basking on, and scamper away and hide as soon as you get close.
Eastern Water Skinks are mainly meat eaters, and will quietly sit and wait for their moving menu of the day. They eat aquatic insects like water beetles, as well as spiders, snails, smaller lizards, and cockroaches, so they're great buddies to have around your garden. They also love to eat freshwater shrimp, tadpoles, and even small fish.
If there any native fruits or berries lying around, these skinks will add some salad to the mix. Ask at your local nursery or call your local council to find out which local native plants produce fruits and berries, and plant some in your garden.
Eastern Water Skinks can also be on the menu for kookaburras, bigger lizards, cats and snakes. If you have a cat, try to keep them inside if you know Eastern Water Skinks are padding about. Alternatively, you can install a cat run so your cat can enjoy the great outdoors without harming any skinks.
DID YOU KNOW?The sun is like breakfast to an Eastern Water Skink - it's the most important meal of the day. As reptiles, Eastern Water Skinks don't generate their own body heat, but instead they are solar-powered. They rely on morning sunshine to power them up after sleeping at night in a cool, dark place. After warming to 25 degrees, Eastern Water Skinks transform from slinky to speedy.
TIPAvoid using pesticides in your garden. If Eastern Water Skinks eat a poisoned insect, they could become quite sick.