northern coal skink

(Plestiodon anthracinus anthracinus)


This is a medium-sized skink that grows to a maximum snout-vent length of 2.8 inches (70 mm) and a maximum total length of 7 inches (178 mm). The scales are smooth, glossy, and overlapping. This skink has 4 lines running down its back, but it differs from other skinks in that the lines run onto the tail. Both sexes are similar in size and color patterns, but the sides of the males head during mating season turns reddish or orangish. Juveniles have the same color and pattern as adults, except the young have a blue tail. Mating is in May and 8-9 eggs are laid in late June and guarded by the female to hatching in 4 to 5 weeks. Eggs may be laid as early as late April, and they have a clutch size range of 4-11 eggs.


This is a rarely encountered mountain lizard, known from isolated locations in the Ridge and Valley and Blue Ridge provinces. It has been found on limestone outcroppings, under ledges and sandstone slabs, under rocks on slopes in cutover areas of hardwoods or mixed hardwoods, and on wooded hillsides.


This lizard preys on insects and other small invertebrates, such as spiders.