Skinks As Pets – Everything You Need To Know Before Bringing One Home

Keeping skinks as pets is usually a enjoyable and rewarding pastime.

There are a number of forms of pet skink, every with their very own temperament and care wants.

So choosing the proper kind is vital to getting probably the most enjoyment out of them.

Skinks as pets

Skinks aren’t a single species.

In truth, they’re a complete household of lizard sorts, comprising properly over a thousand separate species.

Most of those reside completely within the wild. But a small quantity are additionally bred in captivity and saved as pets.

Types of skinks saved as pets embrace:

  • Berber skinks, often known as Schneider skinks
  • Blue tongue skinks
  • Blue tailed skinks
  • Fire skinks
  • Cunningham skinks
  • Common backyard skinks
  • Monkey tail skinks
  • Red eyed crocodile skinks

Let’s look extra intently at a number of the hottest varieties.

The blue tongue skink as a pet

Blue tongued skinks (pictured beneath) are probably the most extensively owned pet skinks.

They are native to Australia and New Guinea, the place they’re affectionately identified merely as ‘blueys’.

Their tongue isn’t just a bit bit blue in the correct mild both – it’s a very vibrant blue, which developed as a defensive show to beat back predators.

It’s so putting and strange that it’s hardly shocking these lizards are common and wanted reptile pets.

Happily, they’re additionally the best to tame and deal with of all of the skink species.

Their docile nature means they’re typically really helpful as an excellent first pet for budding new herpetologists.

FUN FACT: Several species of sinks have blue tongues, however probably the most extensively accessible as a pet is the jap blue tongued skink, often known as the frequent blue tongued skink.

Cunningham skinks as pets

Another Australian native, Cunningham skinks attain about the identical dimension as blue tongued skinks (15 to twenty inches lengthy).

But while blueys have clean scales throughout, Cunninghams are identified for his or her spiny tails.

Besides their ‘wild type’ coloring, which varies from reddish brown to again, some breeders additionally specialise in persevering with traces of eye-catching albino Cunninghams, that are pale cream.

Cunningham skinks are extra skittish than blue tongue skinks, and fewer appropriate for dealing with. But they make up for it by being extra lively and enjoyable to look at of their vivarium!

Common backyard skinks as pets

Common backyard skinks are one of many smallest skinks saved as pets, reaching simply 3 to six inches lengthy.

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Once once more they’re native to Australia, however they’ve additionally been noticed within the wild within the U.S., Africa, and Europe – probably on account of undesirable pets being launched into the wild.

Even although wild frequent backyard skinks will very often enable themselves to be picked up, many areas have rules in opposition to trapping them within the wild.

So search for a breeder who rears them in captivity. It’s one of the simplest ways to keep away from bringing house a pet with undesirable parasites too!

Caring for skinks as pets

Skinks, like a number of reptile pets, are comparatively low upkeep when you get established.

But if you happen to’re new to retaining them, you’ll must spend money on a good bit of specialist equipment to get began.

And since every skink species wants fairly particular situations of their vivarium, it’s greatest to go to a specialist reptile pet retailer, or ask your breeder for a listing of kit prematurely.

They may also let you know learn how to arrange your skink’s habitat, and keep it at optimum situations.

Let’s have a look at some extra particulars of caring for skinks as pets.


Most skinks are opportunistic predators, which means they eat what they will, on the level they arrive throughout it. Their principal prey are bugs, though bigger skinks may additionally hunt small rodents.

They high up their weight-reduction plan with plant matter.

Blue tongued skinks are considered one of these omnivore varieties. They want a weight-reduction plan which is 50% leafy greens, 25% fruit, and 25% reside insect prey.

Blue tailed skinks eat largely bugs, and monkey tailed skinks are completely vegetarian.

Whichever species you select, you’ll must mud their meals with powdered calcium to maintain them wholesome.


The house, temperature and humidity your pet skink wants inside their vivarium rely upon which species you select.

Some like to climb, while others want a moisture retentive substrate to fulfill their humidity wants.

Skinks digest and poop meals fairly shortly by reptile requirements, and they’re infamous culprits for soiling their water bowl.

So their habitat must be spot cleaned to take away droppings and refresh their water day by day.

You must also take away any uneaten meals on the similar time and exchange it with recent.

How ceaselessly the vivarium wants fully emptying and disinfecting relies upon once more on species.

Are skinks as pets wholesome?

Common well being issues of skinks embrace:

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This is the medical time period for issue shedding, and it’s normally a results of being housed in a too-dry habitat.

Retained pores and skin may cause the tissue beneath to die off, in order that toes, limbs or the tail need to be amputated.

Monitoring humidity of their habitat and giving heat water baths throughout pores and skin shedding will help forestall it.

Gastrointestinal parasites

These are notably an issue for pet skinks caught within the wild.

So, be sure to purchase a pet skink which has been bred in captivity.

Injuries from different skinks

Skinks are solitary animals and greatest saved alone.

Mixed intercourse pairs can reside collectively peacefully in a big sufficient enclosure, however males are prone to combat.

They notably are likely to chew every others’ heads and ft, which can lead to demise or amputation.


Too a lot meals, or an unbalanced weight-reduction plan may cause weight problems.


Also often called mouth rot, is a bacterial an infection of the tissues contained in the mouth.

It mostly units in when the lizard is beneath stress, so one of the simplest ways to keep away from it it by ensuring their habitat and weight-reduction plan are all properly matched to their wants.

In order to present your skink the perfect likelihood of recovering from any of those situations, it’s smart to seek out out the place your nearest veterinary clinic with a reptile specialist is earlier than you carry your new pet house.

What skinks make the perfect pets?

With so many forms of pet skinks accessible, it may well really feel troublesome to select the correct one.

And with a mean lifespan of 20 years, getting it improper will not be a mistake you’ll be free of in a rush!

Talk to different skink house owners, breeders, and specialist reptile pet shops about what you may supply a skink, and what you’re hoping to get in return.

For instance, if having the ability to deal with your skink is necessary to you, then a placid, sluggish transferring selection just like the frequent blue tongued skink may go well with you greatest.

But if you’d like a skink which is enjoyable to watch however you’re not bothered about dealing with them, then you definately may select a Cunnnigham skink.

Another consideration is weight-reduction plan. Some skinks are extremely insectivorous – there’s no avoiding that they want common meals of reside prey.

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If this doesn’t enchantment to you, think about varieties which don’t thoughts small parts of moist cat meals as a substitute, and even the fully vegetarian monkey tailed skink.

Finally, some skinks want bigger and extra advanced habitats than others.

For instance blue tongued and monkey tailed skinks are each comparatively massive species and wish more room. And the crimson-eyed crocodile skink wants excessive humidity, and has low tolerance for being allowed to dry out.

Do skinks wish to be dealt with?

As you’ve most likely gathered… all of it will depend on species!

Blue tongued skinks are extensively considered being the best to deal with.

This is as a result of they’re sluggish transferring, and simply gained over with edible treats!

At the opposite finish of the spectrum, blue tailed skinks are well-known for combating tooth and nail in opposition to being dealt with.

Will a skink chew you?

All skinks will chew in the event that they really feel threatened. Some skinks are faster to really feel threatened than others, and chew at any time when they’re dealt with.

To get a skink used to being dealt with, allow them to get used to you with out reaching for them for a number of days after they arrive.

Even if a skink does chew you, their tooth are rounded and never very sharp. So the possibilities of them hurting you might be slim.

Are skinks good pets?

Skinks are enjoyable and strange pets, and good dialog starters, in the correct properties.

All forms of skink want fastidiously constructed and maintained habitats.

But as soon as settled in, they’re sometimes low upkeep. And a number of the extra lively sorts are entertaining to look at.

Don’t overlook, they will reside as much as 20 years, so assume exhausting earlier than you decide to skinks as pets, since you’ll be in it for the lengthy haul!

Do you have already got a pet skink?

Tell us about them within the feedback field down beneath!


Doneley et al. Reptile Medicine and Surgery in Clinical Practice. John Wiley & Sons Ltd. 2018.

Manicom & Schwarzkopf. Diet and prey choice of sympatric tropical skinks. Austral Ecology. 2010.

Shea. Diet of two species of bluetongue skink. Australian Zoologist. 2006.

Stahl. Pet lizard situations and syndromes. Seminars in Avian and Exotic Pet Medicine. 2003.

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