formerly Eumeces skiltonianus
Western Skink / Scinque de l'Ouest
The Western Skink is a long and slender lizard. It has a wide brown stripe down its back
bordered by a cream stripe on each side. The tail of adults is grayish, while juveniles
tails. Adult males have orange on the sides of the head during the breeding season.
Western Skinks can grow to over 20 cm in length, counting the tail which is longer than the
The only other lizard native to British Columbia is the
Northern Alligator Lizard which is olive brown or gray with a few or many small dark
spots. The tail is the same colour as the body and the Alligator Lizard has dark
longitudinal stripes on the belly. The european Common
Wall Lizard has been introduced, but is currently confined to Victoria.
The Western Skink is limited to extreme southcentral BC, particularly the southern Okanagan
Valley. It is found across much of the western US, as far south as California and northern
The preferred habitat is grassland or open woodlands. It is often found in rocky areas near
streams, but can be found a substantial distance from water. It spends most of its time
under rocks or logs or inside rotten logs.
Mating occurs in the spring and the females will lay up to 10 eggs, although only 3-4 are
more common in the north. The eggs are laid in burrows or under rocks. The female remains
with her eggs, brooding them until they hatch in mid- to late-summer.
The Western Skink is active during the day although it is rarely seen. A carnivore, it
hunts prey (a variety of insects) in the leaf litter. If attacked, the lizard's tail will
break off at a fracture plane. The twitching tail distracts the potential preadator while
the skink escapes. A new tail is eventually re-grown.
In Canada, the Western Skink is limited to a small area in southern British Columbia
undergoing extensive development. Habitat loss and habitat fragmentation as a result of
expanding agriculture and urbanization pose a significant threat to this lizard. It has
been designated Special Concern by