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Living with Skinks

Aride Island, Seychelles had the world’s highest density of skinks (a type of lizard) with over one per square metre, they were everywhere.

I found this hard to believe before we arrived, but once living the dream, there was no doubt. We shared our home with many wildlife species, but aside from the ants, the skinks were the most common! The island was a home to two main species: Seychelles skink, which was the smaller, cheekier of the two,

and there was the Wright’s skink, which was almost twice the size at 290mm long, and bulkier. They both liked the warmth of the sun and predominately came out during the day.

So, what was it like living with skinks? It was entertaining, they scuttled around the floor in every room, and in doing so regularly got under foot, resulting in a few tail-less ones. They lived in our luggage, which was good as they kept all the other beasties out. We shared the shower with them, and they took up residence in all the open cupboards and used our books and fishing gear as a playground. As for the dinner table, they were athletic and would use any means to reach food. They tried anything edible and were particularly partial to Khong Guan’s butter creams but struggled with grated carrot! They drank Seychelles tea and cuddled up to the teapot, from which they enjoyed the warmth, lying on the lid where we would burn our hands.

For more illustrated tropical tales look out for 'Island to Island' now available for pre-order from Waterstones, Amazon, Foyles and the publisher Cranthorpe Millner.

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