Friday, November 21, 2008

Has anyone seen one of these lately?

Broadhead Skink
aka "Scorpion"

At one time, the woods of Itawamba County were filled with reptiles such as this Broadhead Skink. In a 1905 article written by Itawamba native W. L. Clayton, the reptile was referred to as a "scorpion" and described by Clayton as being as big as eighteen inches long with a "blood red head." Clayton also noted that they could make a sound like the "barking of a small dog" and could "jump out of a tree like a squirrel." When Clayton was a little boy, around 1840-1845, the reptiles were common, but in 1905 he lamented that they were extinct.

It is believed that Clayton was referring to a Broadhead Skink. A University of Georgia website indicates that these skinks are sometimes called scorpions and mistakenly thought to have venomous sting. Broadhead skinks are not extinct although perhaps the skinks that Clayton saw were of a different, larger variety that are now extinct.

How would you like one of these to drop out of tree on you?

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