AppearanceA medium-sized skink (50 - 60 mm) with a rounded snout and a window in each lower lid. Colouration is variable; the back may be blackish, olive, pale brown or red-brown, with or without black spots. There's always a distinct, white lateral stripe down the backbone and on the upper flanks. The belly is bluish-white.
A poorly-defined race, M.v. nyikae, is sometimes recognized from the Nyika Plateau in Malawi.
DistributionSouth Eastern Cape, through Eastern Africa to Sudan and Somalia, west to Namibia, Angola and Congo.
ReproductionThe variable skink is generally viviparous but there are place where they lay eggs - 6 - 12 which hatch after a 60 day incubation period. The growth is fast and young reach maturity in only 8 months.
FoodGrasshoppers, caterpillars and termites, spiders and, in exceptional cases, other lizards.
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