While other skinks have blue tails, the term "blue-tailed skink" usually refers to a juvenile form of the five-lined skink, which is an insectivore and eats spiders, roaches, crickets, grasshoppers, beetle larvae, caterpillars, earthworms, snails, slugs, millipedes, crickets, termites, flies, ants and beetles. It also eats slightly larger vertebrae prey, including smaller lizards, baby mice and frogs.
Five-lined skinks are diurnal, which means that they are active during the day and hunt during the day. They often climb up dead trees in search of abundant insects.
Five-lined skinks prefer to live in rocky areas with patchy tree and shrub cover. These areas are often found on the edges of deciduous forests. Because of its varied diet, this skink has a wide range, which stretches from southern Michigan and New York to northern Florida and west to Wisconsin.
Five-lined skinks are also known as blue-tailed skinks, because as hatchlings, they have bright blue tails with white or yellow stripes. As the skinks age, their stripes get darker and darker until they fade to grey, although females are more likely to retain blue tails than males are. Five-lined skinks are also characterized by their five yellow or cream stripes that run from their snouts to their tails.