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Great Basin Skink (Plestiodon skiltonianus utahensis)
Western Skink (Plestiodon skiltonianus)
Lizards Around Las Vegas, Wildlife Around Las Vegas
Western Skink (Eumeces skiltonianus)

General Description: Small, thin, glossy lizards with light and dark stripes down the back and sides. Dark stripe extends onto the tail. Tail blue or gray. This subspecies occurs north of Las Vegas in the Great Basin Desert, not in the Mojave Desert.

Taxonomy: Skink Family (Scincidae). Formerly Eumeces skiltonianus.

Great Basin Skink (Plestiodon skiltonianus utahensis)

Technical Description: Skinks have a slim, cylindrical body with smooth, shiny, round scales, and relatively short legs. Body size 2 to 3 inches; total length to 8 inches, giving the impression of a long, thin body and tail. Dorsum striped: broad, light brown stripe down middle of the back; dark and light stripes down the sides. Stripes start ahead of the eye, and dark stripe extends onto the tail. Venter whitish or gray. Stripes fade with age, but always present. Scales round and smooth. Legs small. During breeding season, orange to pinkish margin of lower jaw and ventral side of tail. Juveniles: Stripes are brighter (more contrasting); a bright cobalt blue tail.

Diet: Feeds primarily on insects (crickets, beetles, grasshoppers, flies), spiders, and earthworms. Forage actively through leaf litter and dense vegetation; occasionally dig in loose soil.

Great Basin Skink (Plestiodon skiltonianus utahensis)

Habitat: Occur in a variety of habitats including Pinion-Juniper Woodlands, grassy areas, Mojave Desert Scrub, and talus slopes; often in rocky, brushy areas along streams.

Range: The species occurs from south-central British Columbia to southern Baja California, and east to western Montana, Idaho, eastern Utah, north-central Arizona, and southern Nevada. This subspecies occurs from southern Idaho south to southern Nevada and northern Arizona, generally occurring in the Great Basin Desert, but not the Mojave Desert.

Great Basin Skink (Plestiodon skiltonianus utahensis)

Breeding: Lay 2-6 eggs in mid-summer, hatch in late summer. Female may stay with the eggs, protecting them from predators.

Similar Species: In young Gilbert Skinks, the dorsal stripe is black; tail may be red or blue.

Comments: This small, delicate species has smooth scales that make it difficult to handle, and it looses its tail easily.

Great Basin Skink (Plestiodon skiltonianus utahensis) Great Basin Skink (Plestiodon skiltonianus utahensis)
Great Basin Skink (Plestiodon skiltonianus utahensis) Great Basin Skink (Plestiodon skiltonianus utahensis)
Great Basin Skink (Plestiodon skiltonianus utahensis) more to come ...

Note: All distances, elevations, and other facts are approximate.
copyright; Last updated 121115

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