There are just two lizards, including one skink in Michigan. The skink endemic to Michigan is the common five-lined skink (Plestiodon fasciatus), so called because of the five stripes on its upper body.
Skinks are lizards of the family Scincidae. These lizards are characterized by their long slender bodies, tiny limbs, and a lack of pronounced necks. With most skinks, the needs cannot be distinguished from the body. This is true of the skinks endemic to Michigan.
Within Michigan, skinks can be found from the lower peninsula to southern Ontario and within the upper peninsula.
If you find a skink in your backyard or garden, there is no need to be alarmed. These lizards are quite beneficial especially to gardens as they are excellent insect pest controllers.
Table of Contents
Skinks in Michigan
1. Common Five-lined Skink
- Family: Scincidae
- Binomial Nomenclature: Plestiodon fasciatus
- Adult Size: 5 to 8.5 inches (12.7 to 21.6 cm)
- Adult Snout-To-Vent Length: 3 inches (7.6 cm)
- Population Trend: Stable
- Conservation Statuses: S3 (Vulnerable), Least Concern on IUCN Red List
P. fasciatus is a medium-sized lizard that reaches an adult length of — to –. This is the entire length. The snout-to-vent length of adult specimens is about 3 inches.
The hatchlings and juveniles are black with yellow and white stripes and bright blue tails. The coloration of the juveniles fades as they age.
The black background becomes more gray, olive, or brown upon maturity. The species have five stripes which give the species its common name.
The five-lined skink is elongated and slender with no pronounced neck. Males have more wedge-shaped heads.
The heads of the males are wider. Males also spot a reddish coloration on the jaws and snout which is more intensive during the breeding season.
P. fasciatus is endemic to North America from southern Ontario, the lower peninsula of Michigan, and part of Michigan’s upper peninsula to eastern New York. The range extends from New York to Florida.
P. fasciatus is endemic to wooded and partially wooded areas with basking sites and ground cover. These reptiles are usually found under loose barks, rocky outcrops, logs, stumps, brush or wood piles, and even abandoned buildings.
While the species can climb trees, they usually don’t except in Texas where the species is arboreal. While the environment they inhabit is moist, it isn’t wet.
In Michigan, the five-lined skink is active from April to October. The species isn’t active when temperatures are low. During the cold months, the species hibernates.
P. fasciatus is an invertivore and mostly feeds on snails, spiders, and insects. They may also eat small lizards.
The lifespan of. fasciatus is up to 6 years.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are there skinks in Michigan?
There are skinks in Michigan.
The skink endemic to this state is the common five-lined skink. This is the only known skink endemic to the area.
Where can I find skinks in Michigan?
Within Michigan, skinks are endemic to the lower peninsula to southern Ontario, and the upper peninsula. Outside of Michigan, skinks are most common in the eastern United States although they can also be found across North America.
Is it good to have skinks in your yard?
Skinks can be beneficial to have in your backyard as they are great at controlling pests.
They feed on prey on mice, cockroaches, slugs, snails, crickets, grasshoppers, and moths. They can do this because they are excellent hunters.
If you have a garden in your yards then you may want to have some skinks there. You can attract these lizards by providing ground covers such as loose rocks and wood.
Are skinks poisonous?
Skinks aren’t venomous nor are they poisonous. However, just like other reptiles, they may carry salmonella.
Most reptiles carry salmonella. Salmonella is a bacteria and when exposed to humans through the mouth can cause salmonella infection.
To ensure that salmonella does not transmit from skinks to humans, avoid touching skinks. If you do touch one, wash your hands thoroughly afterward.
Skinks can also contaminate foodstuffs and as such should be kept out of the kitchen or wherever food is cooked or stored.
Are there any lizards that live in Michigan?
There are two species of lizards endemic to Michigan and these are the five-lined skink and the six-lined racerunner. The six-lined racerunner (Cnemidophorus sexlineatus) is a threatened species.
The racerunner is endemic to Tuscola County in eastern Michigan. The skink is endemic to the lower peninsula to southern Ontario and the upper peninsula.
The six-lined race runner grows to a length of 6 to 10.5 inches and is black, brown, olive, or gray with six light-colored stripes which give it its common name.
Are there blue-tailed skinks in Michigan?
The five-lined skink which is the only skink endemic to the state also has blue tails as hatchlings and juveniles. The blue color on the tail fades as the species age. As such, adults do not have blue tails.
Are there five-lined skinks in Michigan?
The skink endemic to this state is the common five-lined skink. These skinks are endemic to the lower peninsula to southern Ontario and the upper peninsula.
What kind of lizards live in Michigan?
There are two species of lizards endemic to Michigan and these are the five-lined skink and the six-lined racerunner. The six-lined racerunner (Cnemidophorus sexlineatus) is a threatened species. The racerunner is endemic to Tuscola County in eastern Michigan. The skink is endemic to the lower peninsula to southern Ontario and the upper peninsula.
The common five-lined skink is the only skink in Michigan. The common five-lined skink and the six-lined racerunner are the only lizards in the entire state of Michigan. The common five-lined skink has five stripes on its back and sides. These stripes give the species its common name.
P. fasciatus is slender with no pronounced neck. It is usually found on the ground and under ground covers such as logs and rocks.
The skink is quite beneficial to backyard gardens as it feeds on harmful pests. As such if you do notice the skink in your garden, there is no need for alarm.