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Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Species Spotlight #10: Five-lined Skink

Around these parts, we’ve got this lizard. Sometimes you’ll walk outside and it’s basking on your porch, or perhaps it’s scurrying away into the underbrush as you walk up your driveway. Whatever the case, these things are everywhere, without a doubt the most common reptile I run into. When I was growing up, I called ‘em Blue-tailed Skinks, for obvious reasons. It wasn’t until years later I learned their true nature.

In fact, they’re called Five-lined Skinks. The blue tail only shows up in juveniles, and for some reason, perhaps lack of experience in evading predators, this is the form I always seem to find. It’s actually quite uncommon that I’ll run across an adult of this species, though once or twice I’ve run into a big red-headed male. No, it’s the juveniles I always find, and it’s their blue tails I’ll remember them by.

Would it be as cool if the tail wasn't blue? Not in the slightest, so thank God it is!

James and I found this particular individual along a creek that runs through Duke Forest. Skinks like this seem very skittish to me, and this guy definitely stuck around longer than the average individual, allowing James just enough time to snap the picture. While we’ve never gotten that perfect shot, this picture is more than enough reminder of the awesome little lizard that we can find almost any day of the year even in the middle of urban North Carolina.

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