Skink in a Basket

Moving a basket of seashells yesterday morning, I was startled when a five-lined skink scurried out and disappeared beneath the deck.  Its bright blue tail indicated that it was a juvenile, likely scouring the basket for insects.

Like other lizards, skinks may be observed basking on rocks, decks or bridges but are more often seen when they are startled by hikers or gardeners and race away for cover.  After all, much of their time is spent stalking prey (insects, earthworms and other invertebrates) amidst dense vegetation, their skin color (blue tail excepted) blending with the foliage.  On the other hand, opportunism may draw them to houses or outbuildings where various prey species (e.g. moths and beetles) often congregate.

Those of us who hope to observe such reclusive creatures must know their preferred habitat but must also count on a bit of luck.  Our encounter is often fleeting and identification may be difficult....unless, of course, it has a bright blue tail!