I saw a western skink (Eumeces skiltonianus) out front today! There are only 40 documented sightings of this species in western Montana; none in the last five years. Here, it is a 'Species of Concern'.
Species of Concern are native taxa that are at-risk due to declining population trends, threats to their habitats, restricted distribution, and/or other factors. Designation as a Montana Species of Concern or Potential Species of Concern is based on the Montana Status Rank, and is not a statutory or regulatory classification. Rather, these designations provide information that helps resource managers make proactive decisions regarding species conservation and data collection priorities.We're located in the Rocky Mountain lower montane, foothill, and valley grassland ecological system. The specific location was the gravel bed in front of the house (south-facing), between the house and the herb garden/ perennial flower and shrub bed.
What it tells me is that we have fantastic wildlife habitat on our little piece of Montana!