Crooked Run Valley
broadhead skink (Eumeces laticeps)
CHARACTERISTICS: This large skink reaches maximum snout-
vent lengths of 5.6 in. (143 mm) and maximum total lengths of 12.8
in. (324 mm). Like other skinks, its scales are smooth, shiny, and
overlapping. There are 5 white to cream lines on a background rang-
ing from all brown to black, sometimes with two light stripes along
the sides, for a total of 7 stripes. Some individuals lack the stripes and
are solid brown. The head is dark with reddish-orange stripes in the
juvenile, duller reddish-orange or no stripes in the adult. The tail will
break off at the tip if the skink is captured or threatened by a predator.
The original tail has 5 light stripes on a gray-brown surface, and a
regenerated tail is brownish or grayish. This skink lays 6-15 eggs in
June or July, which hatch in September. Females lay only one clutch
a year in a decaying log. The female encircles the nest with her body.
DISTRIBUTION: This species has a broad distribution in the coastal
plain and piedmont regions. Isolated populations have been found north
of the New River watershed in the ridge and valley region. This skink is
often on trunks or branches of trees in open forests, most commonly in
mature pines and mixed hardwoods (mostly live and turkey oak and lob-
lolly and Virginia pine).
FOODS: This skink feeds primarily on invertebrates, such as insects,
snails, and amphipods, but will also eat lizards, including the young of
their own species.