Field Guide to Maryland's Lizards (Order Squamata)

Coal Skink (Plestiodon anthracinus)

Photo of Coal Skink by Bill Hubick
Photo of Coal Skink by Bill Hubick

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.

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


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. This skink is state listed as Endangered in Maryland. If found, please report sightings to the Maryland Wildlife and Heritage Service.

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.

Maryland Distribution Map for Northern Coal Skink 

For More Information: