Have you ever heard of a skink? Or maybe you saw a lizard in Kansas that can fit in your hand with a really long tail and wondered what it is.
The Great Plains skink and blue-tailed skinks are the most popular kinds that you’ll find in Kansas – and here’s more about them.
What is a skink?
A skink is a type of lizard. The skinks we see in our yard here in Kansas are usually pretty small. They lose their tail as a defense mechanism and also bite in defense. They are not poisonous though and have very teeny teeth, so when they bite it is scarier than it is painful or harmful.
Skinks are lizards with round bellies, short stubby legs and very long tails. There are different sizes of skinks. Most around my neck of the woods are the size of Lizzie’s in the picture above. I think we have Great Plains skinks or Northern Prairie Skinks. Some skinks have bright blue tails, others have bright blue tongues!
Here are all the different types of skinks that live in Kansas: (source)
- Family Scincidae – Skinks
- Coal Skink – Eumeces anthracinus
- Five-lined Skink – Eumeces fasciatus
- Broadhead Skink – Eumeces laticeps
- Great Plains Skink – Eumeces obsoletus
- Southern Prairie Skink – Eumeces obtusirostris
- Northern Prairie Skink – Eumeces septentrionalis
- Ground Skink – Scincella lateralis
This is also called a five-lined skink. It has the same body shape and size as the Great Plains skink, but has a remarkable blue tail and straight lines on its body.
It lives all over the United States – from New York to Oklahoma!
Great Plains Skink
The Great Plains skink has what appears to be “dots” on its body instead of straight lines. It also a rounder body and doesn’t have the blue tail like the other one.
Just like the name implies, it’s mostly found in “plains” states like Wyoming, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma, and Texas.
Have you ever seen a skink?