Skink - how to keep a lizard at home?

It is hard to imagine that a skink or an ordinary lizard can become a wonderful pet. But those lucky ones who have it in their home claim that this small foot-and-mouth disease has the character of an affectionate cat, quickly gets used to its owners, does not show aggression and even recognizes them by sight.

Skink lizard – varieties

Skinks are the most common group of lizards, they inhabit all continents, there are 1500 varieties. Features of their appearance:

  • the head of most reptiles is pointed, smoothly turning into a flattened body, which ends with a thinning tail. It can fall off in case of danger;
  • the sizes are different – tiny 6 cm Far Eastern lizards have gigantic 70 cm chain-tailed relatives;
  • a distinctive feature of the skinks is the scales overlapping each other, lying on the bone plates, some species have sharp spikes;
  • symmetrical shields cover the head;
  • large eyes have separate movable eyelids;
  • the family includes both legless and four-legged individuals with three- and five-fingered limbs.

Skinks lead a terrestrial lifestyle, dig holes, climb trees, some like to swim. Different individuals, for example, the blue-tongued, crocodile, ordinary skink, are quite suitable for keeping in the house, like terrariumists and a tenacious lizard that can hang upside down. They are quickly tamed, thanks to obedience they are considered exemplary pets.

blue-tongued skink

The Australian blue-tongued skink is a large lizard that grows up to 50 cm in captivity. Its body color is light or dark brown with a pattern of orange, black or yellowish stripes. The species stands out among others with the color of the tongue – from bright blue to purple, the mouth itself is red. In nature, a combination of bright colors, when a reptile opens its mouth and hisses, scares away predators.

If you need an obedient exotic in the house, a blue-tongued skink will do. When asked how long these reptiles live, breeders give an answer – 15-20 years. Many call them the smartest among relatives – they can recognize sounds, recognize people. Blue-tongued lizards love petting like cats – they like to be stroked on the head. It is interesting to hold them in your hands, you can take them out on people. At night, blue-tongues sleep and do not disturb the owners. It is better to keep one individual, or a pair, because two males fight among themselves.

blue-tongued skink

Crocodile skink

The body size of a mature crocodile skink with a tail is 20 cm. Its head in relation to the body is large, triangular, which makes it look like a dinosaur. There are 4 rows of pointed plates along the back and tail, the skin is covered with needle-like growths. An adult is characterized by a brown color, a cream color of the abdomen, bright orange circles around the eyes inherent only in crocodilians. In nature, this lizard lives near water bodies, loves to swim, and hunts at night.

When keeping crocodile skinks in captivity in a terrarium, it is imperative to equip a pond for them. At home, the red-eyed crocodile does not tolerate the cold, he is shy and spends most of his time in shelters, does not like to be disturbed. If the reptile is frightened, it pretends to be dead and does not move even in the hands of a person. Under stress, the crocodile makes sharp hissing sounds.

crocodile skink

fire skink

The exotic fire skink has a variety of black, white, silver, bright red scales scattered throughout the body, depending on the mood, their color fades or becomes brighter. This is a large lizard, reaching a length of 37 cm, likes to burrow and hide under the roots. The reptile is flexible and nimble, dodgy, but spends most of the time buried in the substrate.

If a fiery skink lives at home, it is kept in a spacious terrarium with snags and branches, and a pond is additionally equipped. Individuals are friendly, calmly endure when they are picked up. These are nocturnal inhabitants, during the day they sit in a shelter, and at night they go hunting, they love to dig in the ground. They can be kept in groups, the main thing is that everyone has enough shelters.

fire skink

Chain-tailed skink

This giant skink reaches a length of 70 cm, half of which falls on the tail. The main color ranges from olive to dark green with black spots on the underside of the paws. Abdomen – from light emerald to cream with a gray mesh pattern. The eyes are small, round, bright yellow. The chain-tailed skink is the only one in the world that uses its tail to hang upside down. This is a tree lizard, leads a twilight lifestyle, lives on tall trees.

The chain-tailed reptile is a peaceful pet, it is quickly tamed and becomes very obedient. When it is kept, a vertical terrarium with a mesh cover and a large number of plants is required. It is better to use artificial trees, otherwise the living ones will be quickly spoiled. Pets have the ability to form groups of a male and 1-2 females, they are viviparous, each bring one cub.

prehensile-tailed skink

pink-tongued skink

The reptile reaches 45 cm in length, half of which is the tail, which is used by the lizard as an additional point of support. The adult has a carnation-colored tongue, the body color is a gray tone with transverse black stripes, the abdomen is a light pink solid color. Gerrard’s skink leads a semi-arboreal lifestyle, active at night, moving like a snake, additionally using its forelimbs. At home, pink-tongued lizards are good-natured and calm creatures, they do not show aggression, they have no fear, they calmly let themselves be picked up.

pink-tongued skink

Smaragd skink

Beautiful member of the family 25 cm long. In the emerald species, the elongated body is covered with smooth emerald green scales on the back and bluish on the abdomen. A yellow edging is visible along the edges of the shields, and there are black stripes on top of the body. The emerald skink leads an arboreal lifestyle, hides in the crown in case of danger, and rarely descends to the ground.

In captivity, individuals are housed in pairs. The emerald skink at home is kept in a vertical type terrarium over a meter high. It is non-aggressive, can easily get along with other medium-sized species of reptiles, easily gets used to the owner, having seen the food, runs up to the door, trying to snatch the pieces from the tweezers. The reptile is voracious and overfeeding is not recommended.

emerald skink

Far Eastern skink

This is a small lizard, the size of its body is 6-18 cm, a monochromatic shiny body has a gray-brown color with characteristic fish-like scales. Wide chestnut and narrow light stripes run along the sides of the body; in males, at the time of breeding, the throat acquires a coral hue. The Far Eastern skink adorns the home terrarium infrequently, since individuals are listed in the Red Book of Russia, they are rare, they live on the Kuril Island of Kunashir. They are diurnal, preferring to dig holes near warm streams.

far eastern skink

snake skink

An unusual snake-like lizard lives in Asia, it is a very rare reptile, the length of which reaches 50 cm. Outwardly, this skink looks like a snake with legs, it has an amazing shape – the conical head is pointed towards the nose, the body is cylindrical, everything is covered with scales, the limbs are barely distinguishable on long body. The animal’s vision is also unique – the lower eyelid has a transparent window, thanks to which the lizard sees with its eyes closed. The skink leads a terrestrial lifestyle, prefers rocky places, it is nimble, runs a lot, while moving, its body wriggles like a snake.

snake skink

three-toed skink

A small three-toed skink has a length of 18 cm, similar to a snake. Its back is chocolate, the abdomen is bright yellow, the elongated head smoothly passes into the body, ending in the tail. A distinctive feature is barely noticeable paws with three fingers. They are nocturnal, feeding on insects. The common skink, when kept in captivity or in nature, reproduces by eggs, and the three-toed skink in excellent habitats produces offspring in different ways. Scientists consider this a manifestation of evolution in action. In north Wales, three-toed viviparous, and in the coastal zone they lay eggs.

three-toed scin

Skink – content

Exotic skink at home is kept in a terrarium. This unpretentious creature feels good under optimal heating conditions and high humidity. The dwelling is equipped so that the lamps are placed at one end, the lizards move between hot and cool areas and regulate their body temperature in this way. Daytime mode is maintained in the range of +25-29°С (in the heating zone +32°С). For moisture, water is sprayed daily over vegetation and soil.

Care of the terrarium consists in the daily replacement of the liquid in the bath, the renewal of the soil once a week. Lizards are fed every other day, they are given foods rich in vitamins:

  • insects: cockroaches, locusts, flour worm, zophobas;
  • grated vegetables and fruits: carrots, cabbage, apples, pears, bananas, tomatoes, cucumbers;
  • greens: dandelion foliage, tradescantia, lettuce, carrot tops, turnips;
  • food once a week sprinkled with calcium.

Skink terrarium

The skink settles in a home terrarium, its size is selected depending on the type of reptile:

  • horizontal size 70x40x30 cm for a blue-tongued, fiery or 50x50x50 cm for a small crocodile;
  • horizontal terrarium

  • vertical 120x60x120 for emerald and tenacious.
  • vertical terrarium

The terrarium is covered with a mesh cover, filled with lush artificial vegetation and pots that act as shelters. Inside, it is necessary to fix horizontally or vertically thick branches, massive stones, if necessary (depending on the type of reptile), put a bathing container in which the lizard can fit completely. Wood chips, coconut substrate, fallen leaves are suitable for soil. Be sure to attach an ultraviolet lamp in the terrarium, which, when irradiated, produces vitamin D3 in skinks.