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Long-tailed Skinks Eat Their Own Eggs

Not surprisingly, no long-tailed skink would agree to be photographed for this article, so here's a relation, the blue-tongued skink.

NagyDodo/iStock/Thinkstock

We have no shortage of stories about infanticide in nature. Most of us who have been in a fourth-grade classroom know that hamsters are one of the most well-known creatures to devour their young, along with mice and other rodents. (And that's probably a fear response, or a survival technique to cull the herd for a stronger, smaller brood [source: National Geographic].)

But long-tailed skinks that inhabit the island of Lanyu (just off the coast of Taiwan) exhibit a few parenting traits that aren't just surprising to humans, but out-of-the-norm for reptiles in general. First off, the females don't just lay their eggs and bolt, like many lizards. Instead, they stick around to protect the nest of eggs.

Super nice, right? Well, not so fast. Because these skink moms have another unusual parenting trait not commonly seen in lizards. If they feel they're threatened by predators, the skinks immediately gobble up their own eggs [source: Taipei Times]. While this would strike most of us as terribly cold-blooded -- even for an ectothermic lizard -- it's actually a pretty reasonable way for Mom to consume more calories in an effort to create a future successful reproduction.

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