Broad-headed Skink

The Broad-headed Skink, Eumeces laticeps, is, along with the Great Plains Skink, the largest skink in the family Eumeces. Although these skinks occur in urban areas, their main habitat is humid forest areas with abundant leaf litter. They particularly like Oak forest. They are found in the southeastern states of the United States, from the East Coast to Kansas and eastern Texas and from Ohio to the Gulf Coast.

This species grows to a total length of 6 to 13 inches. It has a wide jaw and a triangular looking head. Adult males are brown to olive brown in color and have bright orange heads during the mating season in spring. Females have five light stripes running down the back and the tail. The young are dark brown or black and also striped with blue tails.

The Broad-headed Skink forages on the ground, but can easily climb trees for shelter or sleep or even for searching for food. Females are generally larger than the males, and the larger the female, the more eggs she will lay. Males will try to mate with the largest female they can find. The clutch is between 8 and 22 eggs, which the female protects until they hatch in June or July. Hatchlings are about 2.5 to 3 inches long.

Note: these skinks are often falsely called “scorpions” and believed to be poisonous. This is a myth; Broad-headed Skinks are not venomous, and although they can bite and deliver a painful pinch, they are not dangerous to humans.