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These are pretty large skinks for the US, males have large broad heads that swell and turn a bright orange-red in the mating season. Females are dark and light striped and look very similar to 5-lined skinks. The juveniles are also very similar and hard to ID without counting scales. They do bite, and it does hurt, but doesnt break the skin lol. They're pretty fast and great climbers.
Missouri Ozarks, forest. They're really loud when they're rustling in the leaf litter.
For some reason the photo software for this site insists on having him hanging upside-down on the tree lol. He's really climbing up it vertically.