Ground Skink
Scincella lateralis

Ground skink has smooth scales, short limbs, a small transparent membrane on the lower eyelid, and no supranasal scales. This is a distinctive species not easily confused with other skink due to its polished characteristics.

A ground skink is small and slender, copper to chocolate brown in color, with a darker brown dorsolateral stripe on each side. Its belly is white. One distinct difference between lizards and snakes is that most lizards have eyelids (a snake's eye is covered by a clear scale and can never close). Although a lizard's eyelids, like human eyelids, are usually opaque, the lower lids of ground skins and a frew others have a transparent "window," permitting the animal to see while its eyes are closed.

This is especially advantageous for creatures that live undergrond or in other places where loose particles of soil or debris could injure their eyes.

Its preferred habitat is under forest leaf litter and garden mulch.

Mating takes place in the spring and eggs are laid in late June to July. Clutch size is normally 1-5 eggs and hatching takes place in August or September. Hatchlings average about 1/2 inch long. Prey includes insects, spiders, and earthworms. The main predators are snakes and small birds.


Photo courtesy Steve Barton

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