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Five-lined skink (Plestiodon fasciatus)

Five-lined Skink  photo by John MacGregor

Five-lined Skink photo by John MacGregor

 

The following text from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plestiodon_fasciatus. Young five-lined skinks are dark brown to black with five distinctive white to yellowish stripes running along the body and a bright blue tail. The blue color fades to light blue with age, and the stripes also may slowly disappear. The dark brown color fades, too, and older individuals are often uniformly brownish.

Five-lined skinks are ground-dwelling animals. They prefer moist, partially wooded habitat that provides ample cover or inside walls of buildings as well as sites to bask in the sun. They can also be found in broken, rocky areas at the northern edge of their habitat.

Fertilization in five-lined skinks is internal, with eggs laid by the female between the middle of May and July, at least one month after mating.

Females lay fifteen to eighteen eggs in a small cavity cleared beneath a rotting log, stump, board, loose bark, a rock, or an abandoned rodent burrow. Females prefer secluded nest sites in large, moderately decayed logs. Soil moisture is also an important factor in nest selection.

In evasion of various predators including snakes, crows, hawks, shrews, moles, opossums, skunks, raccoons, and domestic cats, skinks may disconnect their entire tail or a small segment. Skinks run to shelter to escape their distracted predators as the disconnected tail continues to twitch. Skinks may also utilize biting as a defensive strategy.