Friday, May 11, 2018

Leaping Lizards- Check Out These Scuffling Skinks!

What an unusual sight to see in my backyard a couple weekends ago! Be sure to watch the video below! I stepped out on the back porch and heard sounds in the pine straw. I first thought it was a squirrel, then got a little closer and saw a long thin body with a reddish head and thought it was a snake.

But then I saw two critters rapidly going round and round in a circle under some holly shrubs.  I recognized these creepy lizards with their devilish red heads.  I always thought they were called skanks, but upon further review they are really skinks- also a nasty sounding name.  I see these lizards regularly near my house.

Specifically, this was a pair of male Broadheaded Skinks. First I figured it was a spring mating ritual, but deduced these were not love bites being given to each other. The two males were really going at it, and bite marks and scratches were left on their bodies after I broke them up, but not before taking several photographs and shooting video as I got closer and closer.  They were so intense in their fight that they didn't notice me as I stood a few feet away. 

The video I captured is pretty amazing. I will continue to look for the best people and places to share this. I already posted my video on YouTube, which you see here. 

These lizards have always given me the creeps. Along with the orange/red face, they can also grow blue tails that are, from what I've read, a defense mechanism. A predator will be drawn by the blue color and will attack it only to find it breaks off. Pretty smark Skinks!

This was also an interesting experience in that to put together this video I used Adobe Premiere Pro Clip, an app for iPads and iPhones. I'm very familiar with the PC/Mac version but was new to Clip. I liked it in that I could lay on my sofa and edit a video on my iPad instead of doing it up in the office on my PC. 

This was my second highly unusual animal encounter in 2018. In March at Fort Johnson on the Charleston Harbor I photographed a dolphin in the water that turned out to be marked with the number 864 on its dorsal fin.  This lead to a Post and Courier article by Bo Petersen linked here. I will soon post separately about that neat encounter.  I thought maybe I had already done so. But it has been a very busy school year and I didn't get to it yet. 

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