Discover Maryland's Herps

Field Guide to Maryland's Lizards (Order Squamata)

Sub-order Lacertilia, Family Scincidae

Northern Coal Skink
Plestiodon a. anthracinus

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


4 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.

  • Habitats

    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

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    and Reptile Atlas Project

    "A Joint Project of the Natural History Society of Maryland, Inc. and the Maryland Department of Natural Resources"

    For monthly newsletters of the Maryland Amphibian & Reptile Atlas Project click on Recent Newsletters and scroll down to the MARA Newsletters.

    The Maryland Herpetology Field Guide is a cooperative effort of the MD Natural Heritage Program and the MD Biological Stream Survey within the Department of Natural Resources and their partners. We wish to thank all who contributed field records, text, and photographs, as well as support throughout its development.