Skinks are small lizards that can often be found in yards, gardens and even homes throughout the U.S. While they are typically harmless, many homeowners find them to be a nuisance due to their tendency to seek refuge in dark, cool places like basements and garages.
This guide will teach you how to get rid of skinks, and keep them away.
What Are Skinks?
Skinks are small, lizard-like reptiles with a unique body shape. They have short legs, a long tail, and a flat head that tapers to a point near the nose. Typically range from two to twelve inches in length and come in multiple colors and patterns.
They not only look like snakes, but they have a lot of capabilities that other creatures don’t. For example, the five-lined skink can drop its tail as a defense mechanism known as caudal autotomy.
Skinks are nimble crawling reptiles. Their wide bodies and short legs let them move quickly by side-stepping, which also makes it harder for predators to spot them and gives skinks an edge when trying to escape. Some species even have toe pads that can cling to surfaces.
Did you know that there are over 1,500 different species of skink? These small carnivorous lizards come in a wide range of colors and sizes, and can be found all around the world. Skinks vary greatly in size, from just a few centimeters to more than 24 inches long. Some skinks are rather drab-looking, while others boast bright and vibrant colors.
Some skinks prefer living high in the trees while others are subterranean burrowers. No matter where they live, all skinks have a long slender body with short legs that allow them to move quickly.
Skinks are lizards that come in different colors and patterns. Given this wide array, they have garnered many names including but not limited to ground skink, blue-tailed skink, five-lined skink, and ground lizard.
These are the most common names people call them:
- Alligator lizards
- Blue-tailed skink
- Blue belly skink
- Blue tongued lizard
- Blue tongued skink
- Schneider’s skink
- Red-eyed crocodile skink
- Monkey tailed skink
- Fire skink
- Red-sided skinks
- Ocellated skinks
- Common garden skink
- Penny lizard
- Pale flecked garden sunskink
What do skinks look like?
Skinks are small, legless reptiles of the family Scincidae. Depending on the species, can have very small legs and even reduced digits (or toes) on each foot. Though typically five toes per foot is the standard for skinks, there are some species that may have less than five.
Skinks exist in many forms and sizes, from those that burrow to others that stay on the land. The great majority of skink types are carnivorous, eating largely insect larvae and other invertebrates.
Skink life cycle
Skinks have a basic lifestyle similar to that of any other lizard.
Skinks will breed throughout the year, but usually in the summer to autumn when temperatures pick up.
Mating for females of this species is typically a brief affair, with males and females interacting only briefly before or after copulation. Mating generally occurs in the early morning, when the environmental conditions are most favorable, with eggs being laid soon afterwards. Females typically deposit 2-6 eggs at a time during each egg-laying session.
Skink eggs are typically white in color, round and hard to the touch. Depending on the species, they can take anywhere from 75 days to hatch – as is the case with blue-tailed skinks – or even longer up to 150 days. Eggs must be kept warm and moist in order for them to hatch.
Where do skinks live?
There are many places skinks can call home because they’re adaptable creatures. If an area has enough moisture and tiny animals to hunt, it’s good potential real estate for a skink. While some species live in dry desert regions.
Trees and shrubs provide them with plenty of food, moisture, and protection from the elements. They climb trees easily, but also burrow underground or even live among rocks for shelter.
While some species inhabit humid areas, others live in harsher desert climates. The mole skink or sand skink is one such species that is very common in Florida. These skinks are well-equipped to live in the sand.
Some even surround themselves with rocks or near aquatic environments like ponds and streams.
Other common nesting sites that skinks hide are:
- Crawl spaces
- Under man-made buildings
- Storage units
Skinks will nest together in pairs.
Tiny carnivorous lizards can be found everywhere. Skinks like hot climates and frequently stay hidden during daylight hours in shady areas like wood heaps or rocks. Their diet mainly consists of bugs, spiders, and other small animals without a backbone.
Can survive in many different environments, from deserts to rainforests. They come in a variety of colours and markings, making them quite attractive and interesting to observe.
Unlike them, skinks often make their own homes by digging underground burrows or tunnels.
Where Will You Find Them?
Are a group of many lizard species that differ in appearance based on their geographic location. For example, the eastern fence lizard is found east of the Mississippi River and has black stripes running vertically down its back and sides.
Because skinks are so adaptable, they can survive in different environments – whether it be hot or cold, wet or dry. For example, the Great Basin Skink is excellent at burrowing and will often hide underground to escape extreme heat or lack of water.
Skinks will consume a vast array of insects and arthropods, but they are also known to take advantage of smaller reptiles, eggs, or carrion if the chance appears. In addition to that, have very keen eyesight and use their lengthy tongue as means to detect potential prey.
Are very versatile animals that have shown to adapt well in varying environments. In addition, they’ve also developed certain safety skills to help them stay alive.
When are skinks active?
Skinks are diurnal lizard, meaning they are most active during the daylight hours. When the sun is out, will be seen sunning themselves on flat rocks or other warm surfaces. By doing this, they can use thermoregulation to absorb heat and use it later when the sun goes down.
There are some skinks that are nocturnal and active at night, but that’s the minority.
What are skinks good for?
Skinks eat a bunch of different insects, including ants, beetles and caterpillars. This helps keep the plants healthy and reduces the amount of harmful chemicals people would need to spray. Also, usually don’t hurt humans or plants and they won’t create any messes.
Homeowners use these creatures because don’t want to or can’t use chemical pesticides to keep pests away. This is because of their ability to eat most common garden pests, resulting in healthier plants and gardens.
Are beneficial to the environment in more ways than just being a natural petty dirty tricks. They are also important for keeping the soil hydrated by helping to break down organic matter which helps with moisture retention.
Are They Dangerous?
Skinks often appear in residential yards throughout the United States. While they are harmless to humans, they may cause some initial worry due to their snake-like looks and brightly colored species. Are skinks dangerous?
For the most part, skinks won’t pose any danger to you or your family.
In fact, are quite harmless, though they may unintentionally cause some trouble. These often find their way into gardens and yards, sometimes digging up plants or creating burrows. Despite these minor disruptions, skinks can also provide a number of benefits for your garden or yard.
Their diet consists mainly of insects.
Not only are skinks a beneficial addition to any yard, but they’re also lovely creatures. Come in many colors, from dull grey and brown to vibrant yellow and red. These hues not only allow to camouflage themselves, but they can also be used for communication among skinks.
Though they are small, skinks can eat a sizeable amount of food- sometimes up to 40% of their body weight in one day. Their diet mainly consists of insects such as beetles, flies, and crickets but may also include spiders, earthworms, snails, and slugs.
They play an important role in the ecosystem, helping to control the population of harmful insects. Not only do these small provide a source of food for other animals, such as birds and amphibians, but they also eat harmful bugs like mosquitoes and ticks that can spread dangerous diseases to humans.
Quick Tip: Washing your hands after touching a skink is a must!
If you’re looking for a low-maintenance pet, skinks might be the right fit for you. These creatures are fascinating and only require food (insects, spiders, snails, etc.) and shelter (a terrarium).
Even though they don’t pose a danger, it’s necessary to know how to get rid of them if needed.
However, like all animals, if these skinks feel threatened or provoked, they will bite in defense.
Skinks might look dangerous with their pointy teeth and scaly skin, but they’re not. They don’t have any venom in their bite, so even if one were to sink its teeth into you, it wouldn’t cause any real harm or pain.
What do skinks eat?
They have also developed a varied diet, making them one of the most successful species of lizards on Earth. Skinks typically feast upon insects such as crickets, flies, caterpillars, worms, beetles, spiders, moths and more.
Are some of the most resilient lizards, able to withstand a variety of temperatures and terrains. They typically take refuge in materials like debris, logs or crevices to evade predators and harsh conditions.
What does skink poop look like?
Skink poop is one of the most easily identifiable forms of animal waste and a telltale sign that you may have a skink problem on your property. The poop is typically composed of a solid particle with a white acidic portion, giving it a unique two-toned appearance.
Skink waste is interesting because it consists of two colors. The solid part is white and alkaline, while the other end is brown and acidic. You can find all over depending on what kind of skink was there.
The presence of skink feces on your property is a definite sign that you have skinks present.
Signs They’re In Your House
When it comes to signs that you have skinks near your house, there are several things to look out for. Physical sightings are the most obvious, so if you notice skinks inside or around your home, then obviously they’re there.
The best way to tell if there are skinks living in or near your home is to look for their droppings. Droppings has a very distinct look, unlike any other kind of reptile droppings.
One of the most common signs of skinks living near your home is the presence of nests. Skinks are known to build their nests in areas such as water-damaged beams or voids behind walls, which are often found in human-made structures.
Skink nests come in many shapes and sizes, from small holes in the ground to large mounds of dirt. They can also be found in dead logs, hollowed-out stumps, and even under rocks.
Why do I have so many lizards around my house?
In fact, they are often more common in areas where humans have altered the environment than they are in undisturbed habitats. One of the main reasons why skinks congregate is because these are attracted to certain environmental conditions.
How to get rid of them
Skinks can damage plants, dig up flower beds and leave a slimy mess behind — not to mention their unsightly appearance. Fortunately, there are several effective methods you can use to get rid of skinks and keep them away.
How to get rid of skink lizards naturally
Controlling and managing skink infestations in your yard can be a tricky problem.
Although it takes some time and effort, you can relatively easily get rid of skinks by removing their food sources.
Set up glue traps
The use of glue traps to catch skinks has been gaining popularity in the recent years. Set up properly, traps are an effective way to trap skinks that have wandered into your home or garden.
Are an effective way of capturing skinks, as they provide a means of capture that is both humane and versatile. They’re also known as sticky traps, glue boards, or glue boxes – all terms referring to an adhesive-lined board or container designed to trap small animals like skinks, mice, and other pests.
Are relatively simple to set up and use, and can be placed in strategic locations to help capture skinks. These locations may include corners, between the surfaces of two joints, under door gaps, throughout your basement, within your garage, storage areas or any other area where you suspect lizard activity.
These traps can be used in virtually any scenario – indoors or outdoors – making them perfect for anyone looking to get rid of a pesky skink problem.
You’ll want to place them in strategic locations:
- Between the surfaces where two joints meet
- Under door gaps
- Throughout your basement
- In the outside yard
- Within your garage
- Storage areas
- Or any other area that you suspect lizard activity
They provide a quick and painless death. You can set glue traps in many places where skinks might go, such as doorways, basements, garages, storage areas, and any other suspected lizard activity area.
Once the skink has been successfully trapped, you’ll need to relocate them elsewhere. This is necessary because if you simply release the skink in your home or yard, it may find its way back and become a pest again.
Remove hiding places
Skinks are small reptiles which can often be found hiding in cracks and crevices around your home and garden. Their small size makes it easy for them to slip into tight spaces and feel safe, such as between patio furniture or within objects outside.
They prefer to forage for food in dark, moist areas and will often use their sharp claws to dig burrows into the soil. They mainly feed on insects, larvae, and small invertebrates. Additionally, they may consume bits of fruit or vegetables if they can find them.
While they may be attracted to the dark, comfortable temperatures, and plentiful hiding spots of a home, the most common entry points are door gaps, damaged weatherstripping, vents, grates, or torn window screening.
Use bird feathers
Using feathers to create a natural barrier around your home and yard is an effective way to keep skinks away. Bird feathers are an inexpensive deterrent, as they can be bought in bulk online for relatively low prices.
Depending on the skink species, they may or may not have a response to the feather. You have to see and play around with them to get it right.
Get rid of the bugs
If you want to keep the skink population in your yard under control, then it is important to manage the pests in your garden. There are a few different ways to do this. First, you can take an active role in pest control by handpicking and controlling any bugs that you find on a regular basis.
How to keep skinks away from your house
Keeping your yard free of pests is key to keeping skinks away from your home. If you have a garden, it attracts them in the first place and they may find their way into your home after that. To prevent this, you can start by practising natural pest control methods.
One of the most effective ways to naturally repel skinks from your yard is to create an unfriendly environment for them. This means keeping the area around your home tidy and free of debris, such as leaves, twigs, and other organic matter that they may be attracted to.
What Kills Skinks Instantly?
When it comes to getting rid of skinks, you might feel so overwhelmed with frustration that you want to kill them outright. Skinks aren’t harmful to humans, for the most part, and they serve a valuable role in the ecosystem by eating lots of bugs – something that might be frustrating when it comes to keeping them out of your home, but is beneficial in the garden. Skinks are important creatures to have around – and while you probably don’t want them inside, it’s not a good idea to try to kill them.
Instead of opting for the cruel and ineffective solution of killing skinks, homeowners should be proactive in preventing them from entering in the first place. Keeping the exterior of your property bug-free is one of the best ways to do this since skinks feed on a variety of insects.
In addition to keeping the exterior of your home free from debris and other organic matter, you can also install door sweeps or weatherstripping on all entryways to prevent skinks from entering. This is a more surefire way to prevent them from getting inside since it creates an impenetrable barrier between the outside and inside of your home.
Preventing Them From Coming Back
Keeping skinks away from your house requires vigilance and effort. Preventing them from coming back is often the most difficult part of the process. Skinks are persistent, and will often return to places they consider comfortable or where there is food available.
The best way to prevent skinks from invading your home is through diligent maintenance of your property. Regular inspections can help you catch any potential problems early on, while keeping it as clean and tidy as possible will reduce the chances of skinks returning.
In addition to the standard preventive measures outlined above, there are several other steps you can take to ensure skinks don’t find their way onto your property. Ensure that all vegetation is trimmed away from any windows or doors, as skinks are attracted to leafy areas and dense shrubbery.
How to catch a skink
Catching a skink is a relatively easy task if you know how to do it properly. The most common way to capture the lizard is by using a snare, which is a long rod with a small rope on one end. To use it, you need to loop the rope around the neck of the skink and pull.
Using a snare to catch a skink is one of the simplest, most effective methods for doing so. To use it effectively, you must first understand a bit about the anatomy of a skink. Skinks have short necks and large heads, making it difficult to fit your hands around them if you try to grab them directly.
Signs of a skink infestation
Skink infestations can be difficult to identify, as these lizards are typically very small and may not always be noticeable to the human eye. Signs of a skink infestation include visible sightings of adult skinks or juveniles, which can range in size from 1.5-7 inches.
Be alert and on the lookout for any of these:
- Lizard droppings in your yard, basement, garage, deck, patio, or home
- Shed skin (looks like white transparent fabric)
- Dead bugs
- Eggshells lodged in crevices
- Sound of shuffling when lights are turned on or things are moved
- Visible skinks
It’s not hard to tell when there’s a lizard problem on your property.
But it’s hard to tell what kind of lizard it is.
For example, telling an anole infestation vs. a skink infestation is difficult since they both have similar lifestyles and habitats so to the untrained person it’s hard to tell.
Did you get rid of the skinks?
So you’ve decided to get rid of the skinks on your property? That’s great! Getting rid of skinks can be a challenging task. There are several steps that need to be taken in order to successfully manage, control, and ultimately eliminate them from your property.
Skinks can be a nuisance to have around your home, but they can also be beneficial in some ways. For instance, skinks eat a variety of insects and spiders that could otherwise damage gardens and crops.
Thanks for reading.
In conclusion, getting rid of skinks doesn’t have to be a difficult or time-consuming process. All it takes is some knowledge and commitment on the part of the homeowner. To help ensure success in eliminating skink infestations, homeowners can take proactive steps like sealing off windows and doors, keeping gutters clean.
In order to get rid of skinks, you must find out how they’re getting inside your home in the first place. Some potential entry points could be windows, door frames, gaps in siding, or other openings around the house.