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Species in this family of lizards, the skinks , all have small smooth round scales, each covering a little bony plate in their skin. This gives them a kind of flexible armor for protection. They usually have thick bodies, short legs, and strong necks, which they use to burrow in dead leaves and loose soil. Some have adapted so much to burrowing that they have lost their legs and developed longer, slimmer bodies like snakes. There is a lot of variation in size and shape in this family. The smallest species are mature at only 5 centimeters, while the largest can be over 30 cm in body length. There are about 1100 species known, and the family is found all over the world.

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. "Scincidae" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed November 29, 2023 at

BioKIDS is sponsored in part by the Interagency Education Research Initiative. It is a partnership of the University of Michigan School of Education, University of Michigan Museum of Zoology, and the Detroit Public Schools. This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant DRL-0628151.
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