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This site was created by students in the herpetology class at Towson University.  Site last updated: 05/21/07.

Acknowledgements: Herb Harris - Range Maps;  Mark Tegges - Photography; Dan Lapascha & Gigi Forester - TU Herpetology Logo

Broad-headed skink

(Plestiodon laticeps)


This relatively large skink ranges in length from 6.5 to 13 inches.  Adults are olive-brown, and if a dorsal pattern is present, five light stripes will extend the length of the body.  As the name implies, the head of E. laticeps is wide, and older males will have a reddish-orange coloration of their heads.  There are 5 upper labial scales, 30-32 scale rows at mid-body, and females tend to be larger than males.  Juveniles usually have a blue tail. 


The broad-headed skink is largely arboreal but can often be found in leaf litter and decaying logs.  Preferred habitat includes open woodlands and hardwood forests.   It is a diurnal predator, feeding on insects, spiders, and other small invertebrates. 


Mating occurs in May, and females will lay a clutch of 5 to 20 eggs in June or July.  Females will brood her eggs by wrapping her body around the nest, which is often found in sawdust piles, under rotting wood or rocks, or in leaf litter.  Hatchlings will emerge in September and range in length from 2 to 5 inches. 


Distribution in Maryland

            Range map adapted from Harris, 1975.