When Lizards Skink

_MG_3215Yes, that is spelled correctly. Skinks look a lot like lizards, in fact they are lizards. But in their own group, which is very large. There are more than 1,500 species of skink worldwide, but we in America get only about thirty-three. Here in Dallas, we get at least two, quite possibly more. But skinks are both hard to identify and hard to catch. And you have to do one to do the other. So, this post is about what are probably common five-lined skinks, but it could be about broad-headed skinks. Here is how you tell the two apart:

Broadhead skink usually has: (a) 30-32 rows of scales at midbody; (b) five labials anterior to the subocular; and (c) no enlarged postlabials. [from A Field Guide to Reptiles and Amphibians: eastern and central North America, p. 263.]

There, did that help. Right. That’s why I am not sure. But a good clue, I think, is that the young five-lined skinks have blue tails, like this:


Since I took that picture in the same yard as the first picture, I think these are five-lined skinks. But isn’t that head marking something? And that tail is neon blue. Amazing what God creates.

They also appear to be quite good climbers, as this one demonstrates:


If you’d like to know more about skinks (and you should), here are some good links to start from:

Wikipedia article on five-lined skink

Herps of Texas on Five-lined skink (a great site)

DFW Urban Wildlife on broadhead skink (another great site for the Dallas area)


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