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May 22, 2013 / Rae Spencer

Broad-headed Skink

Skink May 22

I first saw this little skink while I was mowing today. I stopped long enough to take a picture, then continued on with the mower. Slowly, because I didn’t want to hit my pretty blue-tailed visitor if it decided to hide in the grass.

Later, I spotted the skink again as it basked on our driveway. I took several more photos, then lost track of my subject when it squeezed itself into a seam under the house’s siding. A few minutes passed before it scrambled across our porch and into the iris bed, carrying something in its mouth. I couldn’t tell what it had caught, but I was able to follow with my lens and snap a few photos as it ate.

Skink May 22

Skink May 22

Skink May 22

After gulping down its meal, the skink paused in a patch of sunlight before moving deeper into the irises.

Skink May 22

When I was young, Mother called these lizards “blue-tailed skinks.” I can’t remember exactly when we discovered that our blue-tailed lizards were actually juvenile skinks of three distinct species, and that their bright tails would fade as they matured, but I remember being shocked that Mother had been wrong about something. (Which means it must have been before the worst of my teenage arrogance set in, when I would have been shocked to discover that Mother had ever been right about anything.)

In trying to identify today’s photos, I decided this was a Broad-headed Skink based on the following close-ups, which show five scales on the upper lip between nostril and eye. (Click on the thumbnail at the bottom of this page on the Virginia Herpetological Society website for further explanation, and please comment if you can correct or confirm my identification!)

Skink May 22

Skink May 22

If there had been four scales on the upper lip margin, the skink could have been either a Common Five-lined Skink or a Southeastern Five-lined Skink

8 Comments

  1. NancyKay / May 22 2013 9:20 PM

    Skink? lizard? Looks like a snake with legs to me. HA! But your photos are amazing. Just ask him to step out of the porta-John, please.

    • Rae Spencer / May 23 2013 11:16 AM

      🙂 He didn’t mean to frighten you!

  2. Kami Tilby / May 23 2013 2:22 AM

    Wow! What great photos! I had no idea there was such a thing as this beauty! Nice!

  3. jeanryan1 / May 23 2013 6:23 AM

    What an excellent creature. And what great photos.

    • Rae Spencer / May 23 2013 11:07 AM

      Thank you! I hope the skink decides to stay in our yard, because I really enjoyed watching it!

  4. Sharon Poch / May 23 2013 10:31 AM

    I can neither confirm nor deny the species of said skink but have always found skinks, lizards,geckos, and the like fascinating, whereas I run screaming hysterically when I see the tiniest of snakes . . .

  5. Random Acts of Writing / May 24 2013 8:16 AM

    We should all be so lucky to wander around with tails of stunning blue!

  6. bardessdmdenton / May 25 2013 8:14 PM

    Wow, what beautiful animated photos of a magnificient creature! Thanks for sharing, Rae. XO

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