Skip to content

Rainbow skinks

Rainbow skinks

Updated 12 January 2018 3:29pm

Rainbow skink
Lampropholis delicata
Photo: Crown copyright DOC

Why are rainbow skinks a problem?

The natural distribution rate of rainbow skinks in unknown, but the greatest incursion threat to the Wellington region is an accidental introduction by humans. Rainbow skinks present a potential biodiversity threat to the region. Given the number of indigenous lizards present in the region, the rainbow skink presents a threat through both direct and indirect competition. Rainbow skinks are known to be generalist feeders and can live in a broad range of habitats, with the potential to out-compete indigenous species. As there are a number of pest-free islands in the Wellington region, the rainbow skink would pose a new threat to the biodiversity of these sanctuaries. Any vertebrate poison for rainbow skinks would also target native species, making control difficult.

Description and background

Small brown lizard, with a dark band running down each side of the body, sometimes bordered by lighter colours. Plain, light coloured undersides. Adults grow up to 5.5cm in length. Indigenous to Australia, the rainbow skink was introduced accidentally into Auckland in the 1960s. It is now well established in Northland, Auckland and the Waikato. The rainbow skink is not currently known to be present in the lower North Island, but given the vegetation and climate of the region, a successful incursion is likely.

What can I do?

Any suspected sighting of rainbow skinks should be reported to MAF BNZ or Greater Wellington. If a domestic cat brings in a live or dead skink which is suspected to be a rainbow skink, keep the animal in a jar for identification.

Additional information can be found at –

DOC's rainbow skinks information