Broad-headed Skink
Eumeces laticeps
 
Contrary to some popular belief, the Broad-headed skink poses no threat to humans and are quite beneficial at controlling pests. They are ravenous feeders preying on insects, spiders and even small lizards and mammals. Female skinks lay from 8 to 12 eggs in the early spring in a rotten log or stump. They guard the eggs for a couple of months until the 2 1/2 - 3 1/2 inch long hatchlings emerge. Baby "Broadheads" have a bold striped pattern and a bright blue tail which gradually fades as they get bigger. Adult females retain some of the striped pattern but males turn a solid olive to tan color with a red or orange head. The bright red coloration signifies the breeding season where males fight savagely with rivals to defend their territory. The same jaws which easily subdue large insects and other invertebrates aid in the fierce combat. In the southeastern U.S. we have three very similar skink species. As juveniles the broadhead, the five-lined and the southeastern five-lined all look very similar making identification difficult.
 


 


Photo courtesy John White

 

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