Friday, 9 March 2012

Skink vs leech

In Melbourne, the only reptiles I encountered in my pocket handkerchief-sized inner urban garden were marbled geckos. The situation is a bit different here with carpet pythons, green tree snakes, small-eyed snakes, Boyd's forest dragons, spotted tree monitors and any number of skinks. Leaf-tailed geckos too, I expect, but I haven't seen them yet. (I've been at this location for three years and have done field work in the tropics for long time, but I still find that modest list quite exciting. I have a fairly low enthusiasm threshold when it comes to fauna. You can tell I'm a zoologist.)

On warm days, the skinks often wander over to the water dish that the birds use as a bath. Lots of insects visit the dish, so I imagine it does double duty as a basking spot and a buffet.

This fellow was unperturbed as I took a few photos. Only when I downloaded them did I see the leech that was hitching a ride and/or looking for a suitable spot for its own meal.

The skink stayed where it was until a whipbird turned up. It obviously didn't want to be an item on someone else's buffet table.


sarala said...

Love the photos. Except for the leech part. Makes for a great natural history story though. Have a great weekend.

Denis Wilson said...

I was hoping the Skink would eat the leech. But Leeches are so tough, it would probably survive such an attempt.

Snail said...

Thanks, sarala!

Denis, 'Skink vs leech' might have been an overstatement! The idea of a leech surviving being swallowed...urk!

Eric said...

Love the post & photos. Are reptiles affected by leeches?

Snail said...

Eric, I know that aquatic leeches certainly like feeding on crocodiles and tortoises. I'd imagine that terrestrial blood-suckers would be more than happy to feed on a lizard or snake. And you know about those horrible leeches (Philaemon) that get under the skin of frogs. (Which aren't reptiles, of course, but I wanted to mention them.)