Western skinks are covered in smooth, dark scales. These scales make them look glossy, and their slim bodies also add to their sleek appearance. Their bodies are striped with tan, cream, and brown colors. Age determines the blue on each skink’s tail; younger Western Skinks have bright blue tails and older Western Skinks have more faded, grayish blue tails. They are small to medium-sized lizards; they can grow to be about eight inches in length, including their tails. During their breeding season (May or June), male Western skinks may have an orange color on their chins and the sides of their heads.
Habitat: Western skinks can be found in several different habitats and live throughout Idaho, with the exception of Idaho’s southwestern corner and the eastern border of the state. They will live in grassy areas, rocky slopes, desert shrub, canyon rims, and pinion-juniper forests. If you visit BLM lands, you will have to scan the ground very carefully for one of these reptiles; they are very secretive and not easily seen. They often seek shelter beneath old boards or other debris.
Food: These glossy reptiles love to eat insects (crickets, beetles, grasshoppers, flies, etc.), spiders, and earthworms.
Fun Facts: Scientists have observed that female Western skinks will stay with their eggs and protect them against a predator (which is not very common with lizards). They will also work on repairing any damage to their nests and will keep the eggs warm by basking in the sun, then returning to the nest with body warmth for the eggs.