Prehensile-Tailed Skink


The Brandywine Zoo has two Prehensile-Tailed Skinks. Our female, Dr. Spaceman was born at the Detroit Zoo, then transferred to the Birmingham Zoo in 2010. She came to the Brandywine Zoo on April 30, 2015. Dr. Spaceman has a deformed spine, making it look like her back is “swayed.” She came to the zoo with this deformity. Our male, Susan Junior AKA ‘SJ’ (named after his mother, Susan) was born and acquired from the Birmingham Zoo.


Though exportation is now illegal, prehensile-tailed skinks are poached for the international pet market, which has put severe pressure on some populations. Destruction of their habitat through lumber and agriculture and depletion by the pet trade have greatly reduced this animal’s chances for survival.

Fun Facts

This is the only skink that is completely herbivorous.

Not only are Prehensile-tailed skinks ovoviviparous (live-bearing) reptiles, but they also exhibit viviparous matrotrophy, where embryos receive nutrients transferred from the mother.

They are very territorial and live in a group called a circulus, and are one of the few species of reptiles to function as a social family unit, and adult females will “adopt” orphaned young skinks.

Called monkey tailed skinks because they use their long, agile tails to help move in the tree canopy–like monkeys.