Recently a rare discovery took place in Yala National Park. Being attentive, Sajith, our Camp Manager was able to identify the „Haly’s Tree Skink“ (Dasia haliana), an endemic Sri Lankan lizard of the family Scincidae. Though it is not considered as endangered only few people are lucky to spot this skink.
As the name says the Haly’s tree skink lives mainly on trees, more precise in tree holes; therefore encounters are seldom and notable. This only arboreal Sri Lankan skink is about eight centimeters long.
Despite its home territory and its small size the Haly’s Tree Skink is still easily recognizable, being from a yellowish to olive green colour with five or six broad black horizontal stripes on its body and six to ten on its tail. Its underside is plain yellow.
The Haly’s Tree Skink prefers dry zones and feeds on caterpillars and other insects including their larvae. Copulation takes place annually in late January; in average two eggs are produced in early March.
The beauty of the hidden living Dasia haliana is undeniable and did not remain undetected: In March 1979 the Central Bank of Sri Lanka published a special ‘Fauna and Flora’ series of Rupee bills with the Haly’s Tree skink embellishing the Sri Lankan Two-Rupee-bill.