Skip to main content
  1. Species/

Plestiodon anthracinus

Common Name: Northern Coal Skink
Plestiodon anthracinus
Plestiodon anthracinus

Scientific Classification

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Reptilia
Order: Squamata
Family: Scincidae
Genus: Plestiodon
Species: Plestiodon anthracinus

Conservation Status

Identifying Features

Northern coal skinks have brown bodies with black lining the side, and four light stripes down the back and the tail. They can grow up to 5-7 inches in length and are covered in streamlined, smooth scales. As hatchlings, they have a brightly blue-colored tail.

Habitat & Range

Northern coal skinks can be found in damp woods and stream edges in parts of western New York, central Pennsylvania, and isolated places in the Appalachians.


Northern coal skinks are infrequently encountered and can be very difficult to find. When threatened, they will dive in shallow water and hide beneath rocks or aquatic plants. Coal skinks prey on a wide variety of insects and spiders.

Life Cycle

Northern coal skinks mate during the spring or in early summer. Females lay a clutch of around 8 or 9 eggs that hatch after several weeks. Young hatchlings can be differentiated due to their bright blue tail.

Featured image by L.P.


Crotalus horridus
Timber Rattlesnake
Diadophis punctatus edwardsii
Northern Ringneck Snake
Elaphe obsoleta
Black Rat Snake