Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Blue-Tailed Skink

 This is a rare reptile for me. In my 30 years here at Pinehaven, I had seen just one. That is, until earlier this month. One day I was mowing out by the road. We have a large rock at the corner of the driveway. As I trimmed around the rock, a Blue-Tailed Skink ran in front of the mower.

 He was fast. It's almost as though he was running with the sky following him. The tail is really that blue.

 In actuality, even though this creature is commonly called a Blue-Tailed Skink, it is not. The true blue-tail lives on Australia's Christmas Island. This is the American Five-Lined Skink ... not so nearly as memorable a name. Only the juvenile stage is commonly labeled Blue-Tail.

 Even more specifically, this is a Plestiodon fasciatus. Read more about this reptile here.

 My earliest view of this creature was many years ago when I was again mowing but near the railroad ties that used to line our driveway (they have since mostly rotted away). I could not believe the blue tail when he rain into the wood.

 So now I've seen one a third time. Yesterday I had finished mowing and was just coming out of the garage. A Blue-Tail was sunning at the edge of our back porch, luxuriating in the warm sun. I approached cautiously - and this time I happened to have my smartphone with me. I took pictures as I got nearer and nearer.

 He certainly was watching me as I approached but he made no move to run. I got closer and closer.

 Clearly reptilian, the animal is cold-blooded and was enjoying the late summer sun. Recent rainy days have left us with chilly nights, into the mid-50's. I suppose the sun was a special treat.

 It is the tail that is most interesting to me. While the body is shades of khaki and olive, lined with muted yellows, the tail becomes suddenly blue. It seems wholly out of place.
 Others tell me these are quite common in Farmersville. Some, conversely, tell me they've never seen one. I feel lucky to have now seen three in my thirty years here. And this time, I was even more fortunate, to be able to take pictures.

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