Sunday 8 January 2012: Eastern three-lined skink (Acritoscincus duperrey)
Found this little fellow wandering out in the open on some tiles at the local garden centre. Since it had no nearby hiding places, I decided to gently pick it up to put it in the bushes where it could hide, and while I had it in my hand I managed to snap this photo.
These guys are really common around where I live in Melbourne. Usually found in leaf litter, in garden beds and under pots or lose tiles.
Skinks have that wonderful defence mechanism where they can lose their tail and grow it back. This one was still intact when I left it, and I have actually never personally seen a skink lose its tail, but it is a fascinating evolutionary adaptation. Some species of salamander are even able to lose legs and grow them back.
It's amazing the life one can find, just in a little suburban garden.