Prairie skink Facts

Prairie skink Facts
Prairie skink is a type of lizard that belongs to the skink family. There are two subspecies of prairie skink that can be found from Canada to Mexico. Prairie skink inhabits prairies and open grasslands. It can survive in both dry and moist areas as long as they are covered with loose, gravely sand or soft, loamy sand. Overgrazing, wild fires and urban development are the major threats for the survival of prairie skinks in the wild. Despite these factors, population of prairie skinks is still large and stable.
Interesting Prairie skink Facts:
Prairie skink can reach 5 to 9 inches in length. Females are larger than males.
Prairie skin has olive brown or grey body covered with alternately arranged pale and black stripes that stretch from the head to tail. Bottom parts of the body are creamy or light yellow colored. Body is covered with smooth, shiny scales.
Prairie skink has blunt nose, short neck and legs, slender body and long tail that is bright blue colored in juveniles.
Prairie skink is active from the middle of the morning to the middle of the afternoon (diurnal animal).
Prairie skink eats spiders, crickets, grasshoppers, snails and small lizards. Adults sometimes eat immature members of their own species (phenomenon called cannibalism).
Prairie skink basks in the sun during the day to increase body temperature and gain energy required for everyday activities. It retreats into the burrows or hides under the sand during the night.
Prairie skink is able to detach the tail from the rest of the body when it needs to escape from the predators. New, shorter tail develops soon afterwards.
Main predators of prairie skinks are kestrels, crows, raccoons, skunks, snakes and large toads.
Prairie skink hibernates 7 months per year (from September to April) in the underground burrows. It obtains all the energy it needs from the fat reserves stored in the body.
Mating season of prairie skinks takes place from May to June.
Jaws and throats of males become brightly orange or red colored during the breeding season. Male's tail is curved during the courtship. He gently bites female's torso before copulation.
Female digs shallow nest in the loose, moist soil and lays 4 to 18 eggs, usually 40 days after copulation. Clutch size depends on the female size: larger females produce more eggs.
Incubation period lasts 30 days. Female guards the nest and change the position of the eggs when needed (when temperature and humidity change) to ensure proper development of all eggs. She leaves the nest after hatching.
Prairie skinks need to fend for themselves from the moment of birth. They grow slowly and reach sexual maturity at the age of 2 years.
Prairie skink can survive up to 7 years in the wild.

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