I See A Skink!

June 8, 2009

I mentioned back in an earlier post, “Come Out, Come Out, Wherever You Are!” that we have Southeastern Five Lined Skinks hiding in the crevices of the retaining walls of the rose bed.  They’re other places as well – that just happens to be where I most often see them.

Now I may not be right about what kind of skinks they are.  These are interesting little critters and the young Southeastern Five Lined Skink and immature Broadhead Skinks look pretty much the same.  It seems small skinks are “best identified by close examination of the scales: broadhead skinks have an enlarged row of scales under the tail and five labial (along the upper lip between the nose and eye) scales.”

Well, to check that out, first you’ve got to catch one, and these little devils are FAST. 

As it happens, this weekend on the way out to do evening chores, we happened to spot one that had skittered up onto the back porch and was trying to figure out how to get away again.

Southeastern Five Lined Skink

Now I might have caught this one to check out the scales, but they have another interesting little quirk – they drop their tail and run.  Yeah, seriously.  If you catch one, it will let its’ tail break off so it can get away.

I figure that’s a lot of work for the poor little skink to grow a new tail, so I didn’t bother trying to catch it so I could look at the scale patterns, especially as I wouldn’t guarantee I’d know anymore than I did before I looked. 

As for it getting back off the porch, that’s not quite as simple as it seems, since there is wire mesh under the decking so he couldn’t just slip between the cracks of the boards there.

However, the porch is far from being entry or exit free if you’re skink size!  For that matter, there’s a huge dog door there that Toby goes in and out, so there’s 82 pounds of critter getting on and off the porch without any trouble.

One way or another, the little guy had figured out a way to get off the porch by the time we got back from doing chores as he was no where to be seen.  His brief moment of modeling was over with just a couple of pictures, and now he’s back in obscurity hiding somewhere.

Fame is fleeting (and so are skinks).

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