Nature conservation

Threatened species

Alpine She-oak Skink - profile

Indicative distribution

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The areas shown in pink and/purple are the sub-regions where the species or community is known or predicted to occur. They may not occur thoughout the sub-region but may be restricted to certain areas. ( click here to see geographic restrictions). The information presented in this map is only indicative and may contain errors and omissions.
Scientific name: Cyclodomorphus praealtus
Conservation status in NSW: Endangered
Commonwealth status: Endangered
Gazetted date: 02 Dec 2011
Profile last updated: 30 Mar 2020


The Alpine She-oak Skink  is a slender medium-sized lizard reaching a maximum length of around 350 mm, with a snout to vent length up to 130 mm. Above, it is olive-green to reddish-brown and has smooth, overlapping scales with dark lateral edges that create a series of thin, longitudinal dark lines. Scales may have black and grey flecks. The tail is tapered and is relatively short compared to similar species from coastal areas. The Alpine She-oak Skink has four distinct but short limbs, each with five fingers or toes, with the third and fourth toes sub-equal, or the third toe slightly longer than the fourth. The species can be distinguished from other She-oak Skinks in Australia (Cyclodomorphus casuarinae and C. michaeli) by its distribution and on the basis that C. praealtus has fewer than 60 subcaudal scales on the underside of any original tails.


The Alpine She-oak Skink is endemic to NSW and Victoria, where it is restricted to sub-alpine and alpine grasslands. In NSW, the Alpine She-oak Skink has only been observed within Kosciuszko National Park between Smiggin Holes and Kiandra. In Victoria, the species is found in the north east of the state, extending as far south as Lankey Plain on the Dargo High Plains.

Habitat and ecology

  • The Alpine She-oak Skink has specific habitat requirements, preferring tree-less or very lightly treed areas that contain tussock grasses, low heath or a combination of both. Within this habitat the species shelters beneath litter, rocks, logs and other ground debris, and has been observed basking on grass tussocks. In NSW, Alpine She-oak Skinks have been observed in alpine to sub-alpine grasslands in flat to gently sloping areas.
  • Little is known about the breeding biology of the species as it is difficult to detect, spending much of its time sheltering within tussock clumps. The species gives birth to live young and a study of preserved museum specimens found several females, which had been collected during summer, pregnant with between two and nine embryos, suggesting a summer breeding period
  • The diet of the Alpine She-Oak Skink is largely carnivorous, mostly consisting of small invertebrates, such as molluscs and insects. The species has also been recorded to occasionally feed on small lizards and snakes and potentially consumes a limited amount of plant material.
  • Adults appear to have relatively small home ranges, and remain in the same general area for long periods of time. The largest distance recorded between sightings of the same individual is roughly 45 metres. As a result of its narrow altitudinal range and specific habitat requirements, the Alpine She-oak Skink is considered to have a limited capacity for dispersal.

Regional distribution and habitat

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Recovery strategies

Activities to assist this species

Information sources

IBRA Bioregion IBRA Subregion Known or predicted Geographic restrictions region
Australian AlpsSnowy Mountains Known None