What is a Skink? Meet the Skink (from A Dinosaur Made Me Sneeze)

I'm sure you've noticed the adorable many-lined skink that appears on almost every page of A Dinosaur Made Sneeze!

But what is a skink? What skink is in the book? And is that lizard in your yard a skink? I have all these answers (and a few more) below!

 A skink is a small or medium sized lizard. They actually appear in the fossil record as far back as the early Cretaceous -- millions of years before T. Rex! 

They live on every continent on Earth except Antarctica. While several are found throughout Europe, none live in Great Britain!

Skinks lived with the dinosaurs and even survived the extraordinary K-T mass extinction that killed T. Rex. 

Now, they still live in many parts of the western United States (the same areas that T. Rex once roamed)!  

The skink in A Dinosaur Made Me Sneeze is a many-lined skink. It's very similar to other skinks that live in North America. Young many-lined skinks have a bright blue tail. Many skinks can "drop" the tail (and usually regrow it) if they want to startle a predator. 

Many people have heard of blue-tongued skinks because they are larger skinks, originally from Australia, that are often raised for pets. They actually do have a blue tongue that you might see if you startle them or they hiss at you. Blue-tongued skinks are in the same family as many-lined skinks, but they are each in a different genus.

Blue-tongued Skink (image source)

There are actually more than 1500 different species of skinks! Most of them are pretty stable populations, but about 30 of them are endangered species. The otago skink, for example, is a rare, endangered skink that only lives in New Zealand.

Many people live in areas where they might see a skink in their backyard! Virginia has five skink species, including the common five-lined skink (which also has a blue tail until they're adults). Colorado (the area where A Dinosaur Made Me Sneeze takes place) currently has three species of skinks, Europe has ten, and Australia (where the blue-tongued skink lives wild) actually has hundreds!

Skinks in your backyard or garden are usually a good thing since their diets are usually carnivorous! They love insects, slugs, and spiders! But they're not usually picky--they will also eat smaller lizards and some plants! 

Most skinks like to crawl on the ground under leaves or some other kind of shelter. People who keep blue-tongued skinks as pets usually put little caves or large rocks in their habitat so they can feel comfortable.

Adult Many-Lined Skink--only juveniles have blue tails! (image source)

In A Dinosaur Made Me Sneeze our skink might have a slightly unnatural obsession with a little bit of dust but, just like skink populations in real life, our crazy skink survives incredible geologic and climate change with creativity and determination!

I hope you love him! Let me know if you have any questions!

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Happy Educating!
💖 Carla

PS. Have you seen my picture book A Dinosaur Made Me Sneeze? It's all about the rock cycle! Learn more by clicking HERE and place your pre-order HERE!

Learn more about A Dinosaur Made Me Sneeze HERE

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