Double Vision

Conjoined Skinks

04/26/2010

A pair of conjoined skinks has been discovered in Perth, Australia.  Or is it one skink with two torsos and heads?  I'm not entirely sure what the proper terminology should be.  Either way, the species is Teliqua rugosa, otherwise known as a shingleback or bobtail.   These are fairly common lizards throughout eastern and southern Australia and often show up in people's backyards.

This odd specimen(s) was wild-born but is now living in a wildlife park.  Life expectancy for such strange individuals is generally not very long, and it seems that in this case, the larger of the two heads has shown aggressive behavior towards its smaller twin, which doesn't bode well for a long life.

Interestingly, note the difference in the eyes on the two heads. The head on the right in the photo below has recessed eyes common in this species, while the other has slightly bulbous eyes that are not a typical.

Skink Conjoined

Photo: Paul Kane/Getty Images via BBC News via Evilry.com


David Mizejewski is a naturalist with the National Wildlife Federation. His goal is to inspire others to appreciate the wonders of nature. Meet David >
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