Connecticut State Reptile
Five-lined Skink (common name)
Eumeces fasciatus(scientific name)
Skinks are lizards that usually have smooth, flattened scales that overlap. The five-lined skink is one of the most common lizards in the eastern United States and one of the five species of lizards in Canada. In some areas, though, such as southwestern New England, the five-lined skink is rare and populations are localized. As skinks go, these are considered small to medium specimens.
ALSO KNOWN AS
Blue-tailed skink, scorpions (juveniles), and red-headed skink (adults)
Early in life, the five-lined skink is black or very dark brown or gray with five yellow to white stripes running along its body and a distinctive blue tail. As the skink ages, its stripes and tail fade. Adult males can be green-brown all over except for their heads, where they are red or orange around their cheeks and nose during breeding season. Females usually keep a striped pattern and a little blue shading around their tails. Their scales are shiny and smooth.
About 6 years
Rocky areas near deciduous forests with some moisture and a few trees or bushes, old logs, and leaf litter for cover.
Range: Southern Ontario, Michigan’s southern peninsula, and eastern New York State, westward to Minnesota, Missouri and eastern Kansas and Oklahoma and south to Florida and Texas.
Conservation Status: The status of this skink is not evaluated nationwide, but it’s considered threatened within Connecticut. Populations are increasingly small and disconnected from each other, making them susceptible to natural disasters such as forest fires.
Five-lined skinks usually hide under rocks or other cover, but sometimes come out to bask in the sun on rocks or logs. They prefer to stay on the ground, but can climb trees to find food. These reptiles mate in spring. Males develop an orange or reddish wash on their faces in mating season. Roughly six weeks after mating, females dig nests in leaf litter or soft earth under logs, rocks, or stumps, where they lay at least four and up to 20 eggs.
Females leave their nests uncovered, stay nearby until their eggs hatch, and often consume any unhatched eggs. Incubation time depends on the air temperature and can take 24 to 55 days. Young skinks are able to fend for themselves soon after hatching, so the mother leaves the hatchlings after one or two days. Skinks are mature at two to three years of age. Five-lined skinks hibernate in burrows below the frost line, sometimes alone and sometimes with other skinks. They usually stay underground from October until the middle of March.
Top land speed: Unknown. However, skinks are able to move quickly and rely on speed to evade predators.
Ants, beetles, crickets, flies, grasshoppers, grubs, snails, and spiders.
Breeding interval: Annual
Hatching period: August–September
Average nest size: 9–12 eggs
Size at birth: 2 in (5.1 cm)
Click to enlarge an image
Raw Data Source: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Author: World Trade Press