Wednesday, September 3, 2008


Today, I drained the water in our wood-fired redwood hot tub and found a nice surprise.

Five-lined Skink (Eumeces fasciatus) was easy to identify because this one is a juvenile. In this stage, they have bright blue tails and the five lines are quite prominent. Actually, the blue seemed brighter to me than this photo indicates. As the skink ages, the lines are less conspicuous and the tail turns a dull gray.

I caught the skink with a minnow net (after much frustration trying to catch with my hands) and transferred him to our waterfall. After posing for a minute, he or she quickly disappeared into the rocks, a more preferred habitat for this lizard than the water. Then, I got out my field guide and quickly learned that I shouldn't have tried to catch him with my hands since they bite. And, the tail will break off easily.

This skink is terrestial, preferring moist habitats like piles of rocks or damp wood piles. This might explain why he was in the hot tub--it is moist and was only about half full at the time. There were lots of mosquito larvae and other aquatic insects--maybe he was feasting on them.


  1. He sure is pretty! Glad he didn't bite you :)

    That golden pheasant I posted today was taken at the Mill Mountain Zoo in Roanoke.

  2. I've never seen any around us, though I see them often just several miles from here.
    I wonder what it is about our habitat that discourages rocky areas, maybe.
    Our property is primarily woods and fields.

  3. Kerri--maybe because he was young, he didn't try to bite me.

    I will try to get to the zoo to see that--thanks for sharing.

  4. Nina--the guide says they like areas that are damp--rock piles, rotting wood, damp woods and anywhere they can find insects. We have lots of snags and fallen logs so maybe that's why we have them.

  5. It's so coincidental that today, I saw at then entrance to the building on campus, someone stomped on a five-line skink. I could not have been an accident although I hope it was...

    I find them hiding under pond rocks and scurrying in and out of the grasses near them. They're beautiful.

    Thanks for the info, too! I didn't know they bite.


  6. Mary--too bad about the dead skink. Maybe the young ones aren't afraid of people so don't know to get out of the way.

    Maybe this one didn't bite me because he was young too.

  7. Thank you for stopping by my blog and leading me back here. I enjoyed your photos on this blog, and also left a comment on your Obama blog. I'll be back.

  8. birdlady--thanks for visiting both my blogs today! Joan