Threats: Habitat loss and predation by cats and foxes
Will they visit?: Fence skinks will visit home gardens
Natural Distribution: Common and widespread throughout the South West and Perth region
Fence Skink – (C) Canning River Eco Education Centre
Fence Skink, Cryptoblepharus buchananii. (C) Sian Mawson
Fence Skink – (CC)Ry Beaver. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 Australia License (Atlas of Living Australia)
Fence skink, Toodyay, WA, (C)G Steytler
Habitat at a Glance
See Habitat Guide for more detail
Shelter: Fallen logs, thick leaf litter, large rocks, and rockeries
Diet: Fruit, foliage, flowers, invertebrates, snails, and small animals
Water: A shallow water dish or pond
ReWild Benefit: Seed dispersal and pest control
Habitat Guide - Shelter
Fence skinks are adaptable to home gardens planted with shrubs, ground covers and a good layer of leaf litter or mulch. They enjoy basking and frequently bask on large rocks, rockeries or logs within the garden. Plenty of hiding areas will help Fence skinks escape and shelter from dogs and cats.
Below is a habitat box template for lizards. Ideally, install the box on the wall or along the fence line. Fence skinks will occasionally live in family groups and share shelters. Before you build:
Nest-boxes are a long-term commitment and need maintenance and repair over time.
Chipboard is okay, but degrade after a year of use.
Hardier and untreated timber (i.e. Jarrah) will last longer and are less prone to attack by fungi, bacteria, and microorganisms.
Keep away from treated timber as this can emit fumes toxic to wildlife and their young.
Avoid using metal wire inside a box. A wooden ladder on the inside of the nest-box is much more suitable or grooved timber will work well.
Maintenance is critical to ensure wildlife remain safe.
Alternatives to a habitat box include large terracotta pipes or up turned pots partially buried under the ground and under shrubs. These mimic hollow logs or crevices under large rocks and provide excellent shelter.
Habitat Guide - Food and Water
Providing natural sources of food
Fence skinks eat small insects. A garden with a good layer of mulch and clumping grasses can provide foraging habitat.
They can be accustomed to people and can become surprisingly tame within the garden. We strongly avoid proactively feeding them man made food as this can alter normal behaviour and could impact their health.
Providing sources of water
Fence skinks will drink from shallow dishes of water and are known to visit frog ponds to drink and bathe. They are at risk of falling into frog ponds and drowning. Partly submerge a large rock with a gradual incline at the edge of a pond. This will provide any king skinks an easy escape if they fall in.
Fence skinks control pests while moving around the landscape. They also control pests and have a fondness for young roaches and bushflies. If you see them in your garden, you can record your sighting on Atlas of Living Australia!