Coal Skink

The Coal Skink, Eumeces anthracinus, is a North American lizard lives in humid portions of wooded hillsides with abundant leaf litter or loose stones. Their habitat may also include areas around springs and rocky bluffs overlooking creek valleys. They will dive into shallow water and hide under rocks and other debris when disturbed.

The coal skink grows 5 to 7 inches long with a snout length of not more than 2.75 inches long. It has a dark lateral stripe that is 4 scales wide. There is a light stripe on the edges of the 3rd and 4th scale rows. The sides of the head of the male are reddish during spring breeding. Young skinks have a blue tail. The skinks in the northern part of their range are striped like the adult. Those in the south are usually blacker with faint traces of striping. Females lay a clutch of 8 or 9 eggs which hatch after four to five weeks.

The Northern Coal Skink (blue) occurs in western New York and central Pennsylvania and in parts of the Appalachians. The Southern Coal Skink (orange) can be found on the eastern gulf coast from Florida to Louisiana as well as the west of Mississippi for eastern Kansas and Missouri to eastern Texas and northern Louisiana. There are scattered interbred occurrences of both species in Alabama and Georgia.

The Northern species was discovered in 1850, and the Southern species later in 1880.