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Family: Scincidae

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The lizards resembling Skinks first appear in the fossil record about 140 millions of years, during the early Cretaceous , mainly in the form of mandibles that look very much like Skinks. The definitive fossils of skink show up later, during the Miocene period.
Sand fish
Sandfish (Scincus scincus) by Wilfried Berns, CC BY-SA 2.0 OF, via Wikimedia Commons


The skinks (Scincidae) they are the largest family of lizards, with more than 1.500 species, understands the escincos, skins, corners or skinks. Most of the skinks They are characterized by a round, cylindrical body that blends smoothly into the neck and small, smooth scales.. Most species live on the ground and have comparatively short legs. But, there are also arboreal representatives, as well as subterranean species that completely lack legs. Among the species that are frequently offered, and that live mainly on the ground, are the Sand fish (Scincus scincus), the African five-lined skink (Trachylepis) and the fire skink (Lepidothyris fernandi). These species are not usually subject to species protection legislation. Buying wild-caught species should always be avoided in favor of captive-bred species.

Sex differences

Difficult or impossible to recognize depending on the species, for example, the Sand fish (Scincus scincus). In some species, sexually mature males have a more splendid coloration.


The skinks they are mostly nocturnal; even diurnal species tend to live very hidden. Many species can stand alone, in pairs or in small harems (a male with 2 – 4 females). Males are usually incompatible with each other. If aggressions occur during socialization, animals must be separated immediately and, as experience has shown, permanently.

Suitable accommodation

The minimum dimensions of a terrarium for the skinks of the terrestrial species mentioned are given as a function of head-torso length (tailless) of the animals, being the proportion 6 x 4 x 3 times that length (length x widht x hight) for 2 animals. Like this, a terrarium for up to two Sand fish should have at least the dimensions of 80 x 50 x 40 cm.. For each additional animal, the floor area should be increased by 15 %.

like cold blooded animals, the skinks need a temperature gradient in the terrarium that allows them to reach their optimal body temperature. Ideally, mimic natural conditions with sunny areas and cooler shaded areas in the terrarium. As such, is installed on one side of the terrarium a powerful heat radiator with UV components, that guarantees strong localized heating at 35 – 40 °C. Other areas can be heated to 24 °C. The other zones may have a temperature of 24 to 28 °C. At night, the temperature of the terrarium should drop slightly for most species. The basic temperature can be generated through room temperature or with thermal mats. Heating mats should always be installed outside the terrarium and heat a maximum of one third of the floor surface; the desired temperature can be adjusted with the help of a thermal controller.

The humidity should be around the 60%, the fire skink needs higher humidity ( to 80%). This can be achieved by spraying the terrarium with warm water or using a sprinkler system.. Precise thermometers and hygrometers are needed to measure temperature and humidity.

The duration of the illumination should be 10 to 14 hours. How light sources emit less and less UV radiation over time (see manufacturer's instructions), must be replaced regularly. The lighting should be placed out of the reach of skinks (note: normal glass is impervious to UV-B rays) o the animals must be protected from burns by a closed metal mesh basket.

Except for the Sand fish (Scincus scincus), the land of terrarium or the coco substrate, which should always be kept slightly moist, are suitable as a substrate. It is also important to provide many shelters and hiding places in the form of cork tubes., chunks of bark, stones and roots. Natural planting creates additional retreat possibilities and ensures uniform and increasing humidity. To much skinks that live on the bottom also like to climb. As such, you have to cover 2, preferably 3, sides of the terrarium with cork or similar. The vertical climbing zones and the horizontal resting zones, like roots, remained, etc., have proven useful as additional furniture. A shallow water bowl is also part of the basic equipment.

The Sand fish (Scincus scincus) is purely ground dweller and can be well kept in a terrarium with sandy bottom and sink-proof stone structures. For excavating species, the height of the substrate must be at least equal to the length of the head, for example, at least 15 cm for him Sand fish.


In the wild, the mentioned species feed mainly on small invertebrates. The suitable animal food is live insects (crickets, domestic crickets, Little grasshoppers, cockroaches, etc.), which are sprinkled with a mineral preparation to avoid deficiency symptoms. Mealworms or wax moths can only feed you sparingly due to their high fat content, since the Sand fish (Scincus scincus), in particular, you tend to overeat mealworms.

Fresh water must be available at all times. Young animals should be fed daily; for adult specimens, are enough 2 or 3 feedings per week. Many animals also like to eat soft, ripe fruit or fruit pulp., which can be well enriched with vitamins and minerals. Here we must insist on strict hygiene, since these feed spoil quickly.


Although most species of Skinks They are oviparous and lay eggs in clutches., around the 45% of the species of Skinks they are viviparous in one sense or another. Many species are ovoviviparous, the babies (skinklets) develop lecithotrophically in eggs that hatch within the mother's reproductive tract and emerge as live hatchlings.

in some genres, However, as Tiliqua and Corucia , the young that develop in the reproductive tract obtain their nourishment from a mammal-like placenta attached to the female, unmistakable examples of “matrotrofia vivípara”. It also, a recently described example in the species Trachylepis ivensi is the most extreme to date: a purely reptilian placenta directly comparable in structure and function to a eutherian placenta.
Clearly, this viviparum has repeatedly developed independently in the evolutionary history of the Scincidae and the different examples are not ancestral to each other. In particular, placental development of any degree in lizards is phylogenetically analogous, instead of counterpart, to functionally similar processes in mammals.


Food scraps, molts and droppings should be removed daily. The water bowls should also be cleaned daily and filled with fresh water.

Animal health must be monitored daily. The most common health problems in skinks are skin mites, emaciation, tail injuries, fecal changes and softening of the bones. In case of anomalies, a reptile vet should be consulted. It is recommended to perform fecal examinations once a year to detect endoparasites.

The intestinal flora of skinks usually includes salmonella, that are harmless to animals, but they can cause disease in humans. Hygiene measures (wash your hands well, etc.) can prevent infection.

Acclimatization and handling

In the first days in his new home, animals need adequate rest to get used to their new environment. Reptiles are animals of pure observation and should NOT be petted.

Animals should only be captured when necessary. The easiest way to do this with young animals is with a pitcher or landing net.. Larger animals can be held with the bare hand behind the head. Basically, lizards should never be held or fixed by the tail.

Special features

Some skinks they can drop their tail in case of danger; therefore, you must be extremely careful when picking them up and never grabbing them by the tail.

Species that live on the ground tend to move - like snakes- with undulating movements.

Other representatives of the skinks, as the Shiny skink from Indonesia to (Mabuya macularia) or the East Indian brown mabuya (Mabuya [Eutropis] multifaceted). Their breeding conditions differ in part significantly from the species described.

List of “skinks”

1 African five-lined skink

African five-lined skink

Nice small lizard of the family of the escindidos. As you can see, full of the stripes that give it its name.

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2 Bronze grass skink

Bronze grass skink

Beautiful skink from Indonesia with a robust appearance and with colors that make it look metallic. Maintenance is exactly the same as

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3 Common blue-tongued skink

Common blue-tongued skink

Its coloration ranges from gray to brown with perpendicular dark bands. reaches 60 cm in length and its is a species

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4 East Indian brown mabuya

East Indian brown mabuya

Another species of this genus so docile and friendly from Southeast Asia. They are just as easy to maintain as the others. It suits

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5 Indonesian blue-tongued skink

Indonesian blue-tongued skink

awesome lizards. This species is one of the best to keep as it is one of the calmest and most manageable. very easy animals,

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6 Peters's banded skink

Very rare and very little seen niger skink. It is an animal of terrestrial customs and dry areas, desert

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7 Pink-tongued skink

Pink-tongued skink

The Pink-tongued skink it is a forest animal so in the terrarium we will put some humidity. very easy maintenance.

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8 Red-eyed crocodile skink

Red-eyed crocodile skink

Precious and very rare Indonesian lizard that nowadays is very difficult to find. It likes humid places so

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9 Schneider's skink

Schneider's skink

The great skink North Africa and one of the most beautiful we can find, since the orange colors that

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