Copper, Ornate and Whitaker's skinks

Copper, Ornate and Whitaker's skinks
Reptiles this care guide covers

Copper skinks (Oligosoma aeneum) and Ornate skinks (Oligosoma ornatum) are species which still occur on the mainland, whereas Whitaker's skinks (Oligosoma whitakeri) are now one of New Zealand's rarest lizards and entirely restricted to pest-free islands.

All species have proven relatively challenging to maintain in captivity and are less available than the small diurnal skinks (which can be found in a separate care guide). The key with these species is providing them with a complex habitat replicating the natural conditions they experience in the wild, and particularly the provision of humid areas along with thermally stable refuge sites.

Copper skinks and Ornate skinks can be held on second level permits (Insurance population species). The captive population of Whitaker's skinks are the remnants of a population at Pukerua Bay which has gone locally extinct. These individuals are all involved in a DOC captive breeding programme, and may only be held on the highest level permit (conservation / breeding programme species) by invitation from the captive management coordinator.


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