Broad-headed skink (Plestiodon laticeps).—John H. GerardThe National Audubon Society Collection/Photo Researchers
Any of about 1,275 species (family Scincidae) of lizards found throughout the tropics and in temperate regions of North America. Skinks have a cylindrical body, a conical head, and a long, tapering tail. Some species are 26 in. (66 cm) long, but most are under 8 in. (20 cm). Some have small or no limbs and sunken eardrums. Most are ground-dwellers or burrowers; some are arboreal and others semiaquatic. Skinks eat insects and other small invertebrates; large species are herbivorous. Some species lay eggs; others bear live young.