On this mild, sunny, Sunday in central Missouri, five-lined skinks were especially numerous and active on our back deck and along our rock wall. No doubt hunting for insects and spiders in the many crevices, these reptiles included adults and juveniles alike; the latter, adorned with bright blue tails, have inspired their common title of "blue-tailed skinks."
Inclined to bask in the sun like many other reptiles, these wary skinks quickly respond to any nearby movement, escaping between the rocks or beneath the deck. After all, they are potential prey for snakes and shrews that share their favored domain; less common threats include opportunistic predators such as opossums.
While lacking the intelligence of humans, many species of wildlife are more keenly aware of their environment due to highly developed sense organs. Furthermore, they are neither distracted by rumination nor encumbered by mysticism. When it comes to the Sabbath and Holidays, they cannot afford to take the day off; their very survival depends on being active and attentive.