Coal Skink

Plestiodon anthracinus (State Status: S3; vulnerable)


The Southern Coal Skink is a small toothy skink found in various disjunct ranges in the Midwest and southeastern US. They are slightly smaller than other toothy skinks. Coal Skinks have a wide, dark bar on the side of the body, and four light lines that extend onto the tail (Powell et al., 2016). They are brown with an unmarked head; males’ heads may be reddish in the breeding season. This species specializes in sloped, rocky hillsides and moist forest floors (Powell et al., 2016). In Mississippi, their range includes De Soto National Forest, as well as a small range near Oxford and part of the extreme northeast area of the state. This skink is considered uncommon, and has very few observations in the southern parts of its range on online databases such as iNaturalist. 

Identifying Traits

  • Smaller, brown body with thick dark bar on each side larger than two scales’ width
  • Four light lines extending onto tail
  • No pattern on head

Subspecies Present:

Southern Coal Skink (Plestiodon anthracinus pluvialis)


Sloped moist and/or rocky forest floors



Generally secretive and fossorial, rarely encountered


Small invertebrates