broad-headed skink

Plestiodon laticeps

The broad-headed skink '''' is species of lizard, endemic to North America.
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Appearance

Together with the Great Plains skink it is the largest of the "''Plestiodon'' skinks", growing to a total length of 15 centimetres to nearly 43 centimetres .


The broad-headed skink gets its name from the wide jaws, giving the head a triangular appearance. Adult males are brown or 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, similar to the Five-lined Skink. Juveniles are dark brown or black and also striped and have blue tails.
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Behavior

Broad-headed skinks are the most arboreal of the North American ''Plestiodon''. They forage on the ground, but also easily and often climb trees for shelter, to sleep, or to search for food.

Habitat

Although they do occur in urban areas, their preferred habitat is humid forest areas with abundant leaf litter, especially oak forests.

Reproduction

Females typically are larger than males. The larger the female, the more eggs she will lay. Males thus often try to mate with the largest female they can find, and they sometimes engage in severe fights with other males over access to a female. The female lays between 8 and 22 eggs, which she guards and protects until they hatch in June or July. The hatchlings have a total length of 6 centimetres to 8 centimetres .

Defense

These skinks are sometimes wrongly thought to be venomous. Broad-headed skinks are nonvenomous.

References:

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Status: Least concern
EX EW CR EN VU NT LC
Taxonomy
KingdomAnimalia
DivisionChordata
ClassReptilia
OrderSquamata
FamilyScincidae
GenusPlestiodon
SpeciesP. laticeps