"Wildlife (2): Skinks, Geckos, Tuatara and more" Somes Island Favorite Tip by Kakapo2
Somes Island General: 10 reviews and 14 photos
Favorite thing: As I was on Matiu/Somes Island on a beautiful sunny day the skinks and geckos of the island took sunbaths on the walking tracks, so I could spot and photograph quite some of them. Most were Spotted Skinks.
It is rather hard to distinguish all the skink species. I showed my photos to the DoC ranger and she tried to identify them. She had thought I would have seen a lot of Common Skinks but as said, I had seen more Spotted Skinks. Just depends on the reptiles mood of the day.
The biggest problem with photographing them is not that they run away if you move around. It is the fact that they come out in really bright sunshine, when the sun heats up the soil on the tracks. The sun then reflects on their skin and turns part of it in silvery reflecting mirrors, so it is hard to get the correct settings, and the contrasts can be very difficult to cope with.
Seven other species of reptiles found in New Zealand only can also be found on the island. Those are: Common Skink, Copper Skink, Ornate Skink, Common Gecko, Forest Gecko, Wellington Green Gecko and Brothers Islands Tuatara. The latter, of course, belongs to an ancient order of reptiles, the last relatives of the dinosaurs. (More info about tuatara, for example, on my Wellington page, Karori Wildlife Sanctuary.)
You might also spot some of the 500 species of invertebrates on the island, including several species of weta. The Cook Strait giant weta and Wellington tree weta were reintroduced to the island in the late 1990’s. Those weta are really huge for such creatures found in NZ, the giants can be as large as your hand.
Finally, if you are lucky you can also find Little Blue Penguins. However, I did not see any on my visit which, of course, was outside the usual penguin viewing times at dusk and dawn, and probably not at the right spots.
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