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Monday, July 26, 2010

Skinks Alive!

  It's amazing what you can come across in nature, and in most cases, the best things are found by accident.

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This female lizard with her eggs was discovered by my parents under an old board on their property. We gently raised the board to take a peak.

I'm not a 100% sure of the identification of this lizard, but I am sure that it's either the common five-lined skink (Plestiodon fasciatus) or the Southeastern five-lined skink (Eumeces inexpectatus). It's difficult to discriminate between these two species on the basis of physical appearance.

Regardless of the id, skink are very common in our region. They are often seen close to ground level around house foundations or spotted scooting across the deck or sidewalk. I even had one in my house a few years ago. Needless to say, the Misses wasn't happy.

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Even after they hatch the female stays close to her young. Look closely and you can see her half buried in the dirt below.

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Juveniles are similar to adults but have a bright blue tail, which serves to attract predators' attention away from the body. The tail breaks off when the skink is attacked, and it continues to wriggle for some time to distract the predator further.

Skinks feed mainly on invertebrates, including beetles, grasshoppers, wood roaches, caterpillars, spiders, and centipedes.

I've seen skinks probably a thousand times in my life but watching the female protect her eggs is a first for me. It kind of puts a whole new prospective on how I view these lizards now. Even some of the smallest creatures we often take for granted serve an important role in nature.

Be sure to check out  Camera Critters website over at http://camera-critters.blogspot.com/ for more photos of fabulous critters.

13 comments:

Connie Kogler said...

That is the coolest thing.

Jeane said...

That is so cool. I don't think I've ever seen a skink in real life, much less its eggs! I love the bright blue of the young ones' tails.

April Lorier said...

How exciting to see the eggs! I, too, have seen thousands of lizards, but never the eggs or the nest.

You said, "The tail breaks off when the skink is attacked, and it continues to wriggle for some time to distract the predator further."

I can vouch for your statement. I have seen so many lizard tails wiggling, which always freaked out my Mom who was raised in Chicago! Ha!

Les said...

I really enjoy seeing these creatures, how lucky you got to see them at this stage. BTW, Hoffler Creek Preserve in Portsmouth is having a snake talk on 8/28 at 1pm. I thought your little ranger might be interested.

Beth said...

Wonderful pics of the skink and her eggs/babies :) loved seeing and reading about them~

Alan said...

Thanks Connie & Jeane. Yes, the blue tail does give them a unique look.

Hey April, seeing the lizard nest with eggs was a first for me.

Les, thanks for the info. I'm definitely going to look into that. Sounds like something she would enjoy.

Beth; thank you! Glad you enjoyed it.

Michael said...

Seems like a lot of eggs for such a small beast. Nice pic.

Misty Dawn said...

This is a truly outstanding post! So informative and interesting! I really enjoyed this post and thank you for sharing this experience with us on Camera-Critters!

Nikki-ann said...

A very interesting post. You learn something new every day! :)

HOOTIN' ANNI said...

Your posts for Saturday never cease to enthrall me! As this one...wow is all I can say!! Simply amazing.

LETTER TO GOD [written by a DoG] You'll need to scroll down a bit beyond my 3-D movie rant.

Have one super weekend!!

LivingSoAbundantly said...

That's great that you were able to capture that!!! =)

Kitty said...

Those little ones are amazing! Awesome colours.

JM said...

Great find! The juveniles are amazing!