Skinks are lizards in the family Scincidae. A spectacle, this large male broad-headed skink, Eumeces (or Plestiodon?) laticepts, was photographed by Brad Rimbey, Homosassa, Florida, near the Chassahowitzka National Wildlife Refuge. It's 3-4 times the length of a common screen-door skink. This male seemed to be fighting with another male over a female (as reported by others) just before the picture was taken.
I saw my first and only one in 1947 in Lynchburg, Virginia. Their range is from southern Pennsylvania to Florida and westward to Central Texas. Their olive skin and orange head suggest that energy conservation is not a dominant evolutionary strategy of the species but is one more like that of the multi-colored gaudy tropical birds high in treeswhere this skink is most commonly found.
It’s a woodland species and usually lives in tree-holes suggesting older forests as most suitable for it. It’s also found in rotting forest debris where it eats insects and similar creatures and even small mice or bird eggs. The female lays 8 to 22 eggs and defends the nest. The bite is said to be painful but not poisonous even though the skink has been called a scorpion (which it is not.) It’s tail, which as in other skinks easily breaks off and re-grows, is likely to have toxic properties to mammals, thus the source of its local name.