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McCann's skink

Common name: McCann's skink

Scientific name: Oligosoma maccani

Conservation status: Not threatened

Found: South Island only, east of the main divide. Found widely from Canterbury to Southland. 

Did you know: It can be confused with the southern grass skink, but one way to distinguish it is to check the soles of its feet - McCann's skinks have cream soles, whereas the grass skink has black or brown. Good luck, they're quick.

McCann's skink, Otago (2) copy.jpg

McCanns skink. Carey Knox


The McCann’s skink is a very common inhabitant of the South Island’s eastern drylands. It particularly likes open and rocky country, where it uses the rock outcrops for sun basking and finds retreat beneath them. 


It grows up to 73 mm SVL and can be hard to distinguish from other local skinks because its colour patterning is highly variable. Its back is light brown or grey brown, with longitudinal stripes and/or chequered patterning, either smooth or notched. Down its sides it has a broad dark brown band, bordered by a thinner pale band. 


The McCann’s skink gives birth to 2-6 young in the summer months. It eats invertebrates such as spiders, centipedes, worms, molluscs and insects, as well as small berries and other smaller lizards. 

McCann's skink, Otago copy.jpg

McCanns skink. Carey Knox

SVL mccanns

SVL: Snout to vent length. A measurement of size taken from the tip of an animal's nose to the opening of the cloaca (the combined excretory and genital opening) at the base of the tail. It is the common length measurement used for lizards. 


Hitchmough, R. et al. (2015). Conservation Status of New Zealand Reptiles 2015. New Zealand Threat Classification Series 17. Department of Conservation. Wellington, NZ.


van Winkel et al. (2018). Reptiles and amphibians of New Zealand: A field guide. New Zealand: Auckland University Press. 

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