Floridata Article

Southeastern Five-lined Skink (Eumeces inexpectatus)

Eumeces inexpectatus

There are 3 species of similar-looking skinks in the southeast. The southeastern five-lined skink is the only one normally found in scrub. It can be differentiated from the eastern five-lined skink (E. fasciatus) and the larger broad-headed skink (E. laticeps) in having all the scales on the underside of the tail about the same size instead of a central row of wider scales. Five-lined skinks have blue tails as juveniles and many people believe they are poisonous, some even calling them "scorpions." Of course they are not poisonous and there is no evidence that cats are poisoned by eating them. Five-lined skinks spend most of their time on the ground, under leaf litter and rotting logs where they forage on any small invertebrates, spiders, insects, etc., they can find. They often take up residence on patios and porches where they find an abundance of prey. Skinks are themselves eaten by snakes, birds-of-prey and mammals such as raccoons, skunks, possums, foxes and house cats. Females lay 8-12 eggs under a log in spring and guard them until they hatch. Then the babies, with their bright blue tails, are on their own.


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