Field Guide to Maryland's Lizards (Order Squamata)

Northern Coal Skink

Family: Skink (Scincidae)

Common Name:

​Northern Coal Skink

Scientific Name:

Plestiodon anthracinus anthracinus​

Northern Coal Skink Adult photo by Charlie Stine
Photo of Adult Northern Coal Skink courtesy of Charlie Stine

4 ½ inches – 7 inches

  • This animal has four light colored stripes on its back that reach to the tail plus wide side stripes.

  • There is no striping on the head as is seen in five-lined skinks and broad-headed skinks.

  • Males may have orange to red coloration on the sides of the head.


Usually found in moist wooded areas, near springs or creeks. May take cover in rocky outcrops or under debris or even shallow water.

How to Find:

May find females guarding eggs in leaf debris during late spring or summer. May be found foraging for insects during daylight hours.

Northern Coal Skink Habitat photo by Rebecca Chalmers
Photo of Habitat for Northern Coal Skink courtesy of Rebecca Chalmers

Distribution in Maryland:

This animal has only been found in Garrett and western Allegany Counties; there are no recent records of this animal. It is state-listed as Endangered. If you observe a northern coal skink in Garrett or Allegany Counties, please contact the MD DNR Wildlife and Heritage Service.

Maryland Distribution Map for Northern Coal Skink