Skinks are lizards who belong to the family Scincidae. They have the ability to regenerate their tails when they are attacked by a predator. Their skulls are covered with bony scales. A few species like the five-lined skinks have five light-colored stripes that run along their body from their snout to their tails. They are moderately-sized lizards with short legs. They are more distinguishable because of their stripes. Skinks can be found in a wide range of habitats ranging from grasslands, trees, and mountains except for boreal and polar regions. Many species of skinks live in trees, while some live in burrows. Skinks may be removed from household areas by removing their food sources which mainly include all forms of insects and bugs. The fewer the number of bugs in an area, the fewer will be the number of lizards. Another way of removing skinks may be by maintaining proper hygiene at home and keeping the lawn tidy and clean by removing any excess vegetation or weeds. Some of their natural predators include raccoons, snakes, and foxes.
If you are fascinated by skinks, then you may want to read the following quick facts about them. You will also find cool blue-tongued skink facts, broadhead skink facts, blue-tailed skink facts. If you want to learn more about different animals, you can read up on the common garden skink and the blue-tongued skink.
Skinks are lizards that can be found in the regions of Southeast Asia.
Skinks belong to the reptilia class of animals.
There are more than 1500 species of skinks in the world which makes it the largest family of lizards. Although the exact number of skinks present in this world is still unknown, most species of skinks are commonly found and enjoys the status of Least Concern by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) like the red-eyed crocodile skink, little brown skink, and five-lined skink with five light-colored stripes that run down their body, while some like the Solomon Islands skinks which are larger in size are Endangered.
Skinks are diverse throughout most parts of the world, especially in the regions of Southeast Asia and North America and the deserts of Australia.
Skinks are cosmopolitan, that is they can be found in a range of habitats across the world. The most typical habitat grounds for them include deserts, mountains, grasslands, and trees. The choosing of habitat is done on the basis of availability of vegetation, type of land, and soil, and the type of predator around.
Skinks are solitary animals who tend to live the majority of their life alone, except during the breeding season, when males and females come together to mate and build their nest where females lay their eggs.
Depending on the type of species, the average lifespan of a skink ranges from five to 20 years.
The breeding season of this species is generally the months of May and June. The birth process is also quite different. Most of the females of these species are oviparous by nature, that is they give birth by laying eggs, while 45% of this species is viviparous which is the opposite of laying eggs, and instead, there is a development of an embryo inside the body of the parent. Many of the females of these species are also ovoviviparous, which is a bridge between oviparous and viviparous. Females choose their nesting areas where they lay their eggs in protected environments like garages or ground-level buildings. An average skink can lay up to 250 white eggs at a time in its nest.
The conservation status for both the five-lined skink and little brown skink is of Least Concern according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature or IUCN Red List. However, the population of Solomon Islands skinks which are larger in size is threatened because of extensive logging and consumption of food by the local people. They are listed as Appendix II animals by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).
Skinks are lizards with legs that are relatively proportionate to their body size. Although most of them have small legs, several species do not possess any limbs at all. Their skulls are covered with bony scales. Most of these species have long tails and they have the ability to shed its tail off when grabbed by predators. The lost tail takes about three to four months to regenerate to its original form. The size too differs from species to species. Some can be very small, for example, Scincella lateralis, while some are moderately large like the five-lined skink with five stripes running down their body, from where they derive their name. The largest species are the Solomon Islands skinks.
Skinks are not at all cute. Some species might have bright-colored tails, however, just like lizards, they are not cute. Their skulls are covered with bony scales.
Skinks communicate with each other through a unique process of releasing chemicals called pheromones. The chemicals can be released through the glands on their legs or through their excrement. The other skink in turn smells the chemical to decode the message being sent by the skink. They also use their tongues to track down their prey.
The size of skinks differs from species to species. Some species like the Scincella Lateralis are small-shaped skinks that can grow up to a length of 3.0-5.7 in (7.5 - 14.5 cm). Some are moderately large-sized skinks like the five-lined skink can grow up to a length of 4.9 - 8.5 in (12.5 - 21.5 cm ). One of the largest existing species of skinks is Solomon Islands skinks, with a body length of 28 in (72 cm).
Skinks can move very quickly. They have many natural predators like snakes and foxes, and their ability to flee quickly helps them survive in the wild. On flat terrain, a skink can move at speeds of up to 65mph.
The weight of skinks differs from species to species. The weight of a common Solomon Islands skink is 1.87 lb (850 g).
There is no specific name for male and female skinks. Male skinks are called males and female skinks are called females.
Baby skinks are called skinklets.
Skinks are carnivorous and specifically insectivorous by nature. They mainly feed upon insects like caterpillars, grasshoppers, flies, crickets, and beetles. Other species of skinks are also known to feed upon small lizards and small rodents, earthworms, centipedes, and snails. The species of skinks that can be kept as home as pets are omnivorous and their diet includes 60% vegetables and 40% meat.
No, skinks are not poisonous or do not release any chemicals that are toxic to human beings.
Yes, some species of skinks can be good pets. The blue-tongued skink is one of the most widely found skinks that is kept as a pet in houses in Australia. They do not require very high maintenance. They can be a good companion for kids. A regular supply of calcium or vitamin D in their food is required to prevent any form of metabolic bone disease. The blue tongue skin costs around $150-$250 USD and feeds on insects.
Kidadl Advisory: All pets should only be bought from a reputable source. It is recommended that as a potential pet owner you carry out your own research prior to deciding on your pet of choice. Being a pet owner is very rewarding but it also involves commitment, time and money. Ensure that your pet choice complies with the legislation in your state and/or country. You must never take animals from the wild or disturb their habitat. Please check that the pet you are considering buying is not an endangered species, or listed on the CITES list, and has not been taken from the wild for the pet trade.
Skinks have the ability to camouflage with their habitats like trees or mountains. It can easily blend in with its environment and hide away from its predator when it remains motionless.
Skinks have the capability to survive for a period of time without eating on their prey, that is skinks may not have to eat every day. Most species of skinks are active during the day when they hunt their prey.
Females and males are extremely protective about their nest where their eggs are kept and will stand in front of the territory to guard their nest where the females lay their eggs against other skinks.
Skinks are cold-blooded reptiles and they enjoy basking on the rocks during the day.
A few species of skinks have blood that is green in color. This is a result of the accumulation of biliverdin, which is a green bile pigment.
The blue tongue skink has shorter limbs and that makes it slower than other species of this lizard.
The most common species of skinks are the little brown skink (Scincella lateralis), the five-lined skink (Plestiodon fasciatus), and the Solomon Islands skink (Corucia zebrata). The little brown skinks are also known as ground skinks belong to the genus Scincella and the family of Scincidae and can be found throughout the eastern half of the United States and Northern Mexico. They are the smallest known reptiles of North America and have elongated coppery brown bodies with small legs. The five-lined skink belongs to the genus Plestiodon of skinks and their size varies from small to medium. They can be found in the regions of the Eastern US and Canada. They are also called the blue-tailed skink for juveniles and red-headed skinks for adults. Their bluish color gradually fades away to light blue with age. The juvenile five-lined skinks have a body color of dark brown or black and have five yellow to white stripes across their body. Their tails are bright blue in color. The Solomon Islands skink is one of the largest known existing species of skinks and is herbivorous by nature. Unlike other species of skink, they tend to function within groups. They belong to the genus Corucia and the family of Scincidae. They can be found in the islands of the southwest Pacific ocean.
Skink bites are extremely rare. Males do not bite at the first chance of danger and instead adopt other measures like hissing or fleeing. However, some species are more aggressive than others. For example, the Tanimbr island blue-tongued skink is more aggressive than the rest and should not be kept as a pet, especially around children. Males are usually more aggressive than females. It is recommended not to keep two males together.
You can even occupy yourself at home by drawing one of our western skink coloring pages.