Monday, October 24, 2011

Skinks of the Northern Territory by Paul Horner.

Skinks of the Northern Territory by Paul Horner.  Paperback published by Northern Territory Museum of Arts & Sciences 1992.

This is another interesting title especially for those with an interest in Skinks (…all of us?).  It’s a lovely handbook written in the Northern Territory (that's the place, not a language), published in the Northern Territory and it’s about Skinks in the Northern Territory.  Being aware that Australia’s north is a relatively dry place with quite a bit of desert, I can only begin to imagine that it’s the perfect environment for these small lizards… although of course I may be wrong.  A quick flick through the book and… no I’m not wrong, there are heaps of these little guys of various patterns and colourings.  I would never have thought that there were that many Skinks but I guess that’s why this book exists… that is, to clarify to Skink novices like myself just how many varied types there are.

When I was a young boy (yes, it’s another flashback) I remember catching skinks in the wilds of Melbourne’s outer suburbs… which is about as far away as you can get from the Northern Territory here on mainland Australia.  All you needed was an ice-cream container, some grass (to put in the container… they might eat it), a quick hand and there you go, instant pet.  Of course as you were catching them their tails often fell off and to this day I can still remember the way they would wriggle around… the tails that is, not the skink… I don’t remember the skinks looking very happy about this.  Sometimes we were able to find eggs… I don’t know that I can remember how we did this, but we did.  Ah yes… how cruel we were.  These days this sort of activity bothers me and for the record, I have no intention of catching any Skinks in the near future… my Skink catching days are long gone.  I say let them live.

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