Nature’s Gems – Major Skink (Egernia frerei)

Major skink
Major skink

I am often asked what is one of the best things is about working in the environmental field. 

For me, it is the encounters that I have had with wildlife along my career journey. 

After working in the environmental field for nearly 20 years, I am still surprised at some of the encounters that I have. 

Cafe Metz

Over recent times, I have been working in an office-based job and I regularly share my workspace with a couple of cheeky Major Skinks. 

This species is brown in colour with darker sides that have pale spots. Their body length is close to about 30 centimetres long in larger specimens with robust bodies. 

Usually, this species shelters in hollow logs and rock crevices, but in this instance that have set up residence in a building. 

During the day, they are regularly seen moving around certain parts of the building and one of their favourite pathways is under my desk!

The distribution of Major Skinks spans from coastal central New South Wales to the tip of Cape York. 

Its preferred habitats include rainforest fringes, woodlands and scrublands. 

As mentioned, they will also take up residence in buildings free from family pets such as dogs and cats. 

A similar species to the Major Skink in South-east Queensland is the Land Mullet. 

The two features that set these skinks apart is that the Land Mullet is a much larger skink in size and is glossy black in colour rather than brown. 

Although, Major Skinks that are large in size still have to be on the lookout for predators such as snakes. 

On one  memorable occasion, I observed a Red-bellied Black Snake actively hunting a Major Skink in broad daylight. 

The Major Skink put up a valiant fight but finally succumbed to the snake. 

The one thing that amazes me about this species is how they can adapt to living in close existence with people if not harassed. 

Usually, we only see them in the warmer months and I have to say that I miss them rummaging under my desk in the winter! 

The best place to see these Skinks is Springbrook, Binna Burra and Mount Tamborine. 

If you live in these areas you will possibly have one living close by.

If you do get to share the space of this species, I hope you enjoy it as much as my colleagues and I do.

I would like to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. 

Enjoy your time with loved ones and stay safe through the festive season.