Photographed by Bette Jackson
If you are have difficulty playing the audio click here
Hi, I'm Dr. Jerry Jackson, out with the wild things. In the category of creature whose name stimulates the question, “It's a what?!', or that might end up as a creature in a science fiction movie is a skink. A skink is a kind of lizard that has very tiny, very shiny scales, and tiny legs. Skinks are fast-moving and fast-living, eating lots of insects and other invertebrates. The sand skink is an unusual inhabitant of the scrub habitats of Florida's Lake Wales Ridge. This creature has tiny, little-used front legs. Its body is torpedo-shaped as if designed for efficient swimming; it is. It swims through the sands of Florida's scrub. Getting to be about five inches long, the sand skink tucks its front legs into grooves and swims through the sand in search of food. Among its adaptations as a sand-swimmer are transparent eyelids that serve as dive goggles, a lack of external ear openings, a lower jaw protected by an over-hanging upper jaw, and a ridge down each side that works like a keel on a catamaran. Like so many other unique creatures of the Florida scrub, it's threatened by loss of its unique habitat.
'With the Wild Things' is produced at the Whitaker Center in the College of Arts and Sciences at Florida Gulf Coast University. For 'The Wild Things', I'm Dr. Jerry Jackson.