A skink is a type of lizard. In fact, the five-lined skink is the only lizard native to Ontario! It is smooth and skinny with relatively short arms. The five-lined skink can grow up to 21cm long. They have very bright and beautiful colouring, especially the young skinks which are glossy black with five cream coloured lines and a bright blue or blue-grey tail. Adult males and older females fade to a bronze colour but they still keep their cream coloured stripes. Adult male skinks also have a red jaw. Their name comes from the five lines down their backs.
Five-lined skinks live in forest openings with lots of leaves, rocks, logs, or bushes covering the ground. They like large rocks with lots of cracks because they have lots of openings for them to seek shelter while still allowing them to bask in the sunlight. Skinks are cold-blooded, like all reptiles, which means they need the sun to help them stay warm. In the winter, five-lined skinks hibernate under rocks, in tree stumps, or in rotting wood. Five-lined skinks eat insects, spiders, worms, and snails.
Did You Know?
Like many lizards, skinks can lose their tail when they feel threatened by a predator to distract them. If they’re healthy, they can grow their tail back!
Unfortunately, the five-lined skink is a species at risk in Ontario. This means it is at risk of disappearing from the wild. One of the reasons the skink is at risk is because of habitat loss, as they loose the natural places they need for survival. Other threats they face are road mortality as they are not easily seen by drivers, as well as the illegal pet trade.
The five-lined skink is truly one of a kind here in Ontario. We need to do all that we can to protect this species so future generations can admire them too!
To learn more about the five-lined skink, and to see some videos in the wild watch this cool video: