The great desert skink lives in large, complex burrow systems, up to ten metres in diameter and over a metre in depth, and often with several entrances. It is an unusually social species (9), and the burrows may be occupied by family groups of up to about ten, sometimes for several years in a row. The great desert skink may also take over, adapt and enlarge the burrow of another species, and occupied burrows can be easily identified by large, communal latrines on the surface, where the group regularly defecate (2) (3) (4) (6) (7). The great desert skink feeds on a wide variety of small prey, particularly termites, as well as cockroaches, beetles, spiders, ants, and occasionally small lizards. Flowers, leaves and fruits may also be taken (3) (4) (6) (7). Most foraging takes place in the early evening or at night during the hotter months, and the species may hibernate within special chambers inside the burrow during the cooler months (4) (6).
The female great desert skink gives birth to between one and seven live young between December and February (3) (7). The young skinks have a snout-vent length of around seven to eight centimetres at birth (3) (9), and remain in the burrow with the adults until the second or third year (3) (4) (6). The great desert skink is quite long-lived, and may potentially reach over 20 years in captivity (3).