Skinks

Diet: Blue-tongued skinks are omnivorous while Prehensile-tailed skinks (Corucias) are strictly herbivorous. For the skinks that need animal protein, gut-loaded crickets, mice, or protein rich cat food can be offered daily to every other day (frequency is determined by size and age). As skinks mature they gradually become more herbivorous. Salad including dark leafy greens, such as collards, kale, dandelion greens can be offered a few times a week.

Betacarotine rich vegetables like squashes, sweet potatoes and other mixed vegetables can also be fed for a balanced diet. The Corucias should only be offered vegetarian based diet. Tortoise or Iguana Pellets can be added to ensure a more complete diet. Calcium supplements and multivitamins (including Vitamin A) should also be offered a few times a week if the lizard is not eating pellets. Make sure to research the specific dietary requirements for your species.

Water: A bowl of water in the cage is important to maintain an adequate level of humidity between 50-60%. A humidity box and frequent misting can be added to further increase the humidity. Be sure not to over saturate the environment as this can lead to mold and fungus formation.

Soaks: Soaking daily is important for maintaining hydration and promoting healthy shedding.

Housing: Cage: A 30-gallon fish tank with a secure, fine, mesh screen top is a good cage to start with for most young lizards. For adults, a 55 gallon tank is the minimum required size enclosure. Although most species are mainly ground dwelling, skinks do like to climb and adding branches can add enrichment to the environment. Prehensile tail skinks, for example, are an arboreal species and therefore require a vertically oriented cage.

Lighting: A basking area with an incandescent bulb should be offered on one side of the cage. The temperature beneath the basking area, where the skink will actually sit, should reach 90-100 degrees F. The rest of the enclosure should maintain an ambient temperature around 75-80 degrees F. The temperature should drop to upper 60’s-75 degrees F at night. There will be variation depending on the particular species of skink that you may own. In several species of skinks it is important to offer UVB lighting. 5.0% should be adequate, but in order to maintain this strength the bulb should be 12-18 inches from the animal. NOTE: Be sure there is NO glass or plastic between this bulb and your skink. The plastic or glass filters out UVB. For this same reason placing your enclosure next to the window will not provide necessary/adequate UVB. Lights should be on 12 hours a day, and UVB fluorescent bulbs should be replaced every 6 months (even if they still work). Right now there are several incandescent bulbs that provide heat and UVB such as, T-Rex Active UVB Heat bulbs and Zoomed’s halogen UVB bulb (these require less frequent changing, check packaging for specifications). Natural sunlight is the best source of UV light but a reptile should never be left outside unsupervised

Substrate: Carefresh/other paper based bedding, newspaper or indoor-outdoor carpet