Photo of the Week – May 25, 2012

This little prairie skink was a little too slow getting under cover as I walked past him in the prairie yesterday.  As a result, he suffered the indignity of being transported back to our field headquarters where he was placed in a cardboard box for a short period while I photographed him.  (I let him go again as soon as I got a couple good shots.) 

From the looks of things, it wasn’t the first time he’d been a little slow.  He was missing his tail – a sign that he’d run into trouble recently.  (Skinks can abandon their tail to avoid predation, and then grow another one.  A nifty little trick!)

A prairie skink. The Nature Conservancy’s Platte River Prairies, Nebraska.

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From this angle you can really see the orange coloring of the jaw. Male skinks get this coloration during the breeding season. You can also see the external ear – one of the characteristics that helps distinguish lizards from snakes (legs, of course, are another pretty good clue, though not all lizards have them.)

3 thoughts on “Photo of the Week – May 25, 2012

  1. Ernest Ochsner May 25, 2012 / 9:52 am

    So you’re telling us the guys wear the lipstick in the skink world. Cute little fella isn’t he.

  2. Martha May 26, 2012 / 9:41 pm

    I never want to be a snake handler, but I’m fascinated by them. Thanks for the up close introduction to your skink friend.

  3. Annette September 22, 2015 / 10:36 pm

    He’s so cute! I remember trying to catch them growing up near Ravenna NE. poor things drop their tails at the drop of a hat.
    Ya know…. I don’t think I ever did catch one.
    I remember their wiggling tails. :'(

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