Western Skink

Only the juvenile western skink has the distinctive bright blue tail.

The western skink (Plestiodon skiltonianus) is blue listed (at risk) in British Columbia. The tail is the most striking feature of this lizard: it is a bright cobalt blue in young skinks and 1.5 to 2.0 times the body length. The tail remains blue but fades with age.


Biodiversity Interactive Map - Western Skink


The range extends from south-central British Columbia to north-western Baja California, from the Pacific coast to western Montana, Idaho, eastern Utah, and north-central Arizona.

Inhabits open warm habitats in the southwest Kootenay region


Inhabits dry open upland forests and grasslands. Western skinks need abundant plant cover, as well as rocks, logs, stumps, and bark for foraging and cover, sunny openings for basking, and south- facing slopes and rocks for nesting and hibernacula.


  • Mate in early spring
  • Lay an average of 2-6 eggs in July or August
  • Females guard eggs until they hatch

Listing and Date

Listing Date
B.C. List Blue
COSEWIC Special Concern May 2002

Threats to Species

The main threat is from loss of habitat via urban and agricultural development, forest ingrowth due to fire suppression, and possibly from recreational development.

Select Reports

Full Report Listing (most recent on top):

For more information on this species, visit The Species at Risk Public Registry  and/or The BC Species and Ecosystem Explorer where you should enter "western skink" in the species Name field.



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Western Skink

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