Ask TWL: The Little Brown Skink

The featured photo above was submitted by a TWL reader who said “Is this a typical salamander?” The short answer: nope. In fact, it’s not a salamander at all. It’s a skink!

By Sklmsta [CC0], from Wikimedia Commons

Meet the Little Brown Skink

Order: Squamata, Family: Scincidae, Species: Scincella lateralis

The Little Brown Skink is one of the smallest reptiles in North America with a tip to tail maximum length of around five and a half inches.

Skinks are often overlooked, even unknown, (even as I write this, spell-check doesn’t even recognize “Skink” as a word) but there are over 1,500 species of them on the planet. That makes them the most diverse family of lizards. It is understandable how a skink and a salamander could be confused for one another. Both have smooth, shiny bodies which seem to merge into the head without a pronounced neck. Both have small limbs in comparison to the length of their bodies. And many species of both have long slender tails which they can shed as a distracting defense.

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Mid-Season Premier Earth Day 2018

Been wondering when to expect the next episode of The Wild Life? Well, wonder no more. The mid-season premier, and first guest podcast for TUI Wildlife in Bryan, Texas, is coming this Earth Day—April 22, 2018. Here’s a preview of what to expect for the rest of the seasons episodes and topics:

S1E5- Frogs: It’s Not Easy Being Green

S1E6- The Twilight Zone

S1E7- The Air We Breathe

S1E8- Leave it to Beavers

S1E9- Metamorphosis

In the meantime, check out the first four episodes of the season on our SoundCloud and be sure to subscribe to, and review, us in Apple Podcast.



#SundayFishSketch: Butterflyfish

This #SundayFishSketch comes from Ichthyologist, Rene Martin. Visit her shop on InPrint to see more of her artwork or to order prints!

Butterflyfish area group of around 120 species in the Family Chaetodontidae. The one in this weeks #SundayFishSketch is the Copperband butterflyfish.

Butterfly fish can be found in reefs around the world in the tropical and subtropical regions of the Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian oceans. Butterfly fish are probably most recognizable for their disk-like body shape, pointed snout, and the striking patterns and coloration seen across most species in stark contrast with the blue ocean background. Many are striped with bold bands or circles around their eyes. Many have spots on the back of their top fin resembling the eyes of a much larger fish—much like what is seen in many butterflies or moths. Despite the vividness of their appearance, their bodies are equipped with perfect camouflage for life on the reef, though their appearance doubles as a communication method with other fish—similar to birds.

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Ask TWL: The Crested Caracara

This photo was submitted by a TWL reader who said “It landed on the road right in front of me and then was flying around and gliding in the wind. What is it? Is it like a vulture?”


Meet the Northern Crested Caracara

Order: Falconiformes, Family: Falconidae, Species: Caracara cheriway

The Northern Crested Caracara is a medium-sized raptor, smaller than a goose, but bigger than other birds in the Falcon family like the Peregrine Falcon.

The envy of the Bald Eagle, the Crested Caracara is, well, crested—which is sort of a way of describing a bird faux-hawk (pun-intended). However in the case of the Caracara it looks more like a slicked-back greaser hairdo or a business in the front, party in the back bird mullet.

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The Socks We Wear


When hiking, it is completely acceptable to be a little bit extra when it comes to attire and clothing because you are literally on your feet the entire day, and you want to be at least mildly comfortable. I am in no way claiming that all hiking is comfortable because if you believe that, you are in for some bad news. As hikers, we like to do what we can to be more comfortable, and we need to protect the most important hiking tool we have, our feet!

My favorite pair of socks for hiking.

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