Skink

Another skink playing hide and go seek with me. ¬†ūüėČ

This one is younger than the one from May 4th.

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Hide and Go Skink?

This skink was somewhat reluctant to be photographed. ¬†But I stalked it and got a few photos. ¬†ūüôā

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Peeking out behind a little statue on the windowsill to see if I am still watching:

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Umm… if I can see you sticking out both ends, perhaps the water hose is not the best hiding spot?

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Ok the board, is a little bit better. ¬†But I still see you peeking out to see if I’m still there.

ūüėČ

 

September 17th, 2009 – Learned something new today

Today I learned something new about the Five-lined Skink ( Eumeces fasciatus).  Of course I knew that they can drop their tails as a means of escaping predators or things they perceive as threats, and that the tail grows back.  But I was not aware that the tail keeps moving long after they drop it.  I think it safe to assume that the reason for this has to be because it would work even better as a means of escape, if it continued to move as if it were the actual skink himself.  I found this really interesting.

But I’ll back up for a moment and tell you how I learned this. ¬†Today my husband was on his way outside and he yells, “Debbie there’s a skink in the house.” ¬†I came into the kitchen and said, “Where?” ¬†He said, “I opened the door and it fell on me and jumped off of me onto the floor. ¬†Then it ran under the table.” ¬†I said, “Oh great.”

Skinks are very fast, and I hated the thought of loosing one in our house. ¬†Where he might die a slow death of dehydration. ¬†ūüė¶ ¬† I looked under the table and spotted him right away. ¬†A very young one, running about looking for a place to hide. ¬†I managed to get under my table in time to catch him in my hands. ¬†I feared what going under there would do to my spine, but surprisingly enough crawling under my table hurt less than most of the things that I attempt during the day.

As soon as I caught him, I cupped him in both of my hands. ¬†I never pulled on him or anything like that. ¬†Just scooped him up carefully but quickly. ¬†But apparently I scared him enough to make him feel the need to drop his tail while inside my hands. ¬†I felt the Pop as it popped off inside of my hands. ¬†I said to my husband, “Oh no, he’s dropped his tail.” ¬†I felt a ton of thrashing about, and I assumed it was the little skink. ¬†In hindsight I now realize it was the tail. ¬† I cracked my hand open and his tail fell out onto the floor. ¬†I took the little skink outside and he sat there in my hand looking at me for a few moments. ¬†Then he took off up my arm as fast as he could run. ¬†I put my hand in front of him to block him from making it to my shirt, and he leapt off into the grass.

I had only two teeny tiny drops of blood on my hand. ¬†So clearly there isn’t much blood loss when they do this.

My husband came out with the tail and said, “You’ve got to see this.” ¬† He laid the tail on our outside table and it was thrashing about like you wouldn’t believe. ¬†Eventually it stopped (this was probably at least 5 to 10 minutes after popping off). ¬†And he touched it, and it started flopping again. ¬†We realized that it would lay perfectly still until you touched it, then it would move. ¬†It was really something to see. ¬†My husband went and grabbed the camera and we took some photos of it.

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After a bit (probably at least 10 – 15 minutes after the tail had dropped off) we got the idea to take a video of it. ¬†And he touched it to provoke the reaction again and we taped it. ¬†If you’ve ever seen someone kill a snake, I would say this is much like the muscle reactions that you see after a snake is killed. ¬†It doesn’t so much surprise me that it does this, as much as it surprises me that it does it for so LONG. ¬†And that it stops for several minutes or more, and then if you touch it again, it provokes the same reaction. ¬†What an interesting defense mechanism indeed !

I wish I could have stayed and timed it, to see how long it would do it before loosing whatever energy allows this to happen.  But I was in too much pain and had to go back inside to sit down.  All I can say is that it continued to do this after we took the video.  And we watched it do this for at least 20 minutes after the skink popped it off his body.  I think that is really impressive.  And certainly enough to help fool a lot of predators I would think.

Now for a first ever on this blog…. ¬†Video!

I have thought about adding video on several other occasions but never did. ¬†But I thought this was worth adding. ¬†It was just too tempting to pass up. ¬†So….. Here ya go. ¬†I hope you enjoy watching. Notice not only how it moves, but also how it moves enough to even completely turn itself over. ¬†Let me know what you think and if you would like to see more videos in the future.

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September 15th, 2009 – Sniffer strikes again

I mentioned in the previous blog Sniffer’s desire to kill anything that she can. ¬†I never said she was terribly effective. ¬† Just that she would, if she could. ¬† ūüėČ

Today she struck again. ¬†I can honestly say without hesitation that she is the only dog that I have ever had or seen that could catch skinks. ¬†Skinks are very quick, and generally don’t seem to spark the interest of dogs. ¬†But Sniffer is no ordinary dog. ¬†She takes things like skinks extremely seriously. ¬†We have rescued more skinks from her than I care to count. ¬†To date, I only know if her actually killing one skink and that was last year. ¬†Usually if we’ve turned our back on her and we hear her “ferocious killer” bark we immediately put a stop to whatever is going on, or about to go on.

Today she caught the tail end of a skink as it got almost out of her reach. ¬†It left it’s tail with her, and went on about it’s way.

If you aren’t aware of this already, this is a defensive act on the part of the Five-lined Skink¬†(¬†Eumeces fasciatus). ¬†They drop their tails and get away. ¬†The tail grows back.

Here’s the tail:

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I found the skink approx. 10 feet away, scurrying into hiding:

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I went back inside and about an hour later we spotted it back closer to the door again. ¬†It quickly ran and hid on the windowsill area. ¬†You can see it’s head peeking out at me in the photo below:

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When I clicked the camera it took off running further away.  The poor thing really seemed stressed and extra skittish after the encounter with Sniffer.  And who could blame it.

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It looked rather bizarre running so quickly, without it’s tail.

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It came back out just a bit, then I clicked the camera again and it decided it had enough of me and took off at lightening speed for the roof of the house.

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August 21st, 2009 – skink

I am finally getting around to adding the photos from this day. ¬†This little fella got into our basement. ¬†Apparently he’s already lost his blue tail somewhere. ¬†But no worries, it will grow back!

Sorry about the location ūüėČ but he was scurrying about too much to photograph him anywhere else, but inside this plastic cup. ¬†I am just glad that we were able to catch him and get him back outside where he belongs. ¬†He seemed rather dehydrated and sluggish. ¬†Hard to tell how long he’d been in our basement without water.

See the brilliant blue color in his tail that is growing back from whatever event caused him to pop it off? ¬†And if you look really closely you can see the signs of dehydration in his little “toes”. ¬† Good thing we found him when we did.

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August 3rd, 2009 – Skink

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On my way inside today from checking on my venus flytraps, I happened to notice this fairly young Five-lined Skink ( Eumeces fasciatus) on the side of the brick.

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Skinks are creatures that startle fairly easily, and therefore can be difficult to photograph. But I have found that younger ones seem to be a tad slower to react, giving you more time to take their picture. ¬†ūüôā ¬† As this one demonstrated.

He only moved about halfway down the window sill.

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Then he decided that perhaps I was too much of a worry to ignore and wanted to leave. ¬†Problem was, he wasn’t sure where to go. ¬†Unlike adults who almost always seem to know the perfect escape route and are lightening fast in doing so, he wandered around a bit. ¬†And seemed to get frustrated by his efforts. ¬†First he headed off away from me toward the opposite edge of the window. ¬†He was contemplating going out into the bush on a limb that touches the brick, but that didn’t work out well at all. ¬†As we have a family of wrens living in that bush, and one flew out and startled him as soon as he was about to make his leap. ¬†He decided that was not a good idea, after the one wren flushed out and the other was waiting inside of the bush.

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So he looked around, and decided that UP was the way to go:

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He thought he had the perfect escape:

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Time for his close up:

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As he got to the top of the window, things didn’t really work out the way he had planned. ¬† At the top of the window is a small wasp nest. ¬†Two of the wasps came flying out at him, buzzing him. ¬†And he stopped suddenly like “Woah!”

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I began to feel sorry for him. ¬†Nothing was really working out properly for him. ¬†LOL! ¬†ūüôā
You could tell by his reaction that provoking the wasps was not something he intended or desired to do.

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After this shot, he turned and ran back down РFAST.  Apparently when it came between a person, a family of wrens, or a wasp nest, he decided that the wasp nest was most important to avoid.

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Finally he settled on a far corner of the window, but not too close to the edge as to provoke the wrens again:

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He looked so relaxed after a bit, that I decided to leave him be and not stress him anymore:

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