Description: This species of skink is known from most Lower Peninsula counties and has also been reported in the mid-section of the Upper Peninsula. They can be locally abundant in good habitat, but many Michigan residents go years without encountering one. They are named for the five cream or yellow-toned stripes running from their nose down through the tail. Another interesting characteristic is the bluish color in the tails of juveniles. Female adults often retain some of this blue throughout their life. Tails on mature males will turn a gray color.
Habitat & Habits: Skinks are most likely to be encountered in wooded or partially wooded habitat. One important component is basking areas where the lizards can sit to increase their body temperatures. Favorite basking areas include stumps, logs, rocks, or outcroppings. Moist habitat areas are preferred. Because they are cold-blooded, skinks are most active from May to about October. During this period, they will hunt many types of invertebrates including crickets, grasshoppers, spiders, centipedes, and beetle larvae.
Reproduction: Female five-lined skinks lay clutches of several eggs in moist soil or rotten logs during the summer and attend the eggs until they hatch about 60 days later.
Six Lined Race Runner
Description: 6 - 9.5 in (15 - 24 cm). Although the six-lined racerunner is the only lizard in our area with six light yellow or white stripes down its back, the racerunner's ground-dwelling habits and impressive speed are often sufficient to identify this species from a distance.
Habits and Habitat: The six-lined racerunner is a common lizard throughout Georgia and South Carolina, but is absent from some areas in the mountains. This species is most common in hot, open areas such as fields, woodland edges, and sand dunes and is almost always found on the ground. Racerunners are fond of heat and are active even on the hottest of summer days. They are alert and active, darting between clumps of vegetation to grab insects. During cool weather, night, or when confronted by a predator, racerunners often take refuge in burrows.
Reproduction: Female racerunners lay 1 - 5 eggs in a shallow nest in the summer. Young resemble adults and lack the bright blue tails of the skinks.