Four-legged snake a skink: WSC

The Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) in Laos reported yesterday that the reptile resembling a four-legged snake found in Vientiane on Monday is a species of skink known scientifically as a Lygosoma haroldyoungi or Riopa haroldyoungi .

Vientiane Times yesterday reported on the discovery of a strange reptile, which looks like a cross between a snake and a lizard, in Sangsay village, Pakngum district, Vientiane.

An official from the WCS, Ms Somphouthone, said that the presence of this species was first recorded in Laos in 2008. The latest find has yet to be studied closely, but she hopes this will occur soon.

WCS reported that Harold Young's supple skink is a rare little-known skink found mainly in Thailand.

In 2008, researchers listed 14 Thai localities of the species and considered its presence plausible also in Myanmar, Cambodia and Laos. That same year a museum specimen definitively confirmed the occurrence of this species within the borders of Laos.

Ms Somphouthone ex-plained that skinks are not ordinarily dangerous or poisonous animals. “Most skinks eat insects, and this is the case here.”

According to a Thai agricultural officer, Chawee-wan, who commented on a Vientiane Times reporter's Facebook page, a similar discovery made headline news in the neighbouring country last year, before it too was found to be a supple skink.

The WCS will further investigate the presence of the species in Laos in the near future.

B y Souknilundon Southivongnorath
(Latest Update July 20, 20 11 )

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