Is the ocellated skink a poisonous reptile?

Is the ocellated skink a poisonous reptile?

In Crete, there is a myth that the ocellated skink is a dangerous reptile with a poisonous bite that can even kill a human being!

In many villages, and not only, we hear from elderly people stories of people who have lost their lives to this lizard, beliefs that do not correspond to reality.

The οcellated σkink causes the “terror” of many who, when they see it, either walk away quickly or kill it for their own protection.

However, the truth reveals a completely different picture, as it is a completely harmless lizard that cannot cause the slightest harm to humans.

A few words about Ocellated Skink

This species of lizard is known by the scientific name Chalcides ocellatus (Forskål, 1775) and belongs to the family Scincidae.

The characteristic of this lizard is the 4 small atrophied legs, so that it moves in an undulating manner, like a snake.

It has a length of up to 20 cm, small head, cylindrical body, scales in beautiful shades of grey, black and brown with numerous spots.

It lives in remote areas with low vegetation or rocks up to 1500m altitude and hides under rocks, in crevices or buries itself skilfully in sand or soft soil.

It feeds mainly on invertebrates but also on plant foods.

In our country it is found in Central Greece and the Northeastern Peloponnese, but also on several islands (Evia, Karpathos, Kea, Crete, Kos, Rhodes and Chios). It is also found in Italy (Sicily, Sardinia), Malta, North Africa, the UAE, Pakistan, but also in India and Sri Lanka.

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See also: Chalcides ocellatus – photo by Benny Trapp

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