Six-lined Racerunner

Wisconsin status: restricted in range and declining

Check out the picture of the racerunner. What do you notice? Racerunners and whiptail lizards have strong hind legs and long thin tails. Wisconsin's one species of racerunner, the six-lined racerunner, has a slender body and a long tail. Six stripes run from the head to the tail and are usually colored pale yellow to greenish yellow. The racerunner body has very fine scales that aren't shiny, unlike the scales of the skinks. The tail is covered with rough scales that are either gray or brown. The males have gray or grayish-blue bellies.

Racerunners need loose, sandy soils for burrowing and live in dry prairies and on south-exposed bluff prairies. They build burrows to hide from predators and to help them regulate their body temperature.

Six-lined Racerunner Habitat Range
Six-lined Racerunner Habitat Range

With a name like racerunner, you'd have to be fast. And, as their name suggests, racerunners are very fast. They have been clocked going nearly 18 miles per hour. Racerunners rely on their speed and keen sense of smell to locate and capture insects, their primary food.