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Skink Lizard

Facts About Skink Lizards That'll Make You Stare in Disbelief

Few lizard families are as diverse as skinks. Information covering numerous aspects about this unique animal forms the content of this article. Read on to know more...
PetPonder Staff
Last Updated: Mar 15, 2018
Insect A Cicada
Belonging to the Scincidae family, skinks are one of the widely found lizard species in the world. The diversification of this species is so large that there is a considerable ambiguity on their exact number. Roughly, there are nearly 1200 species of skinks, making it the second largest lizard family. The blue-tongued skink, five-lined skink, great desert skink, emerald tree skink, and snake-eyed skink are just some of the members of the vast Scincidae family.

Facts About Skink Lizards
It is easy to identify several genera of skinks as they match true lizards, however, numerous other species of these lizards can be quite amusing. Some have extremely short limbs or no limbs at all, and are found in different colors. One of their most prominent features is that they resemble snakes due to their movements. With long tapering tails and smooth, skinny, and cylindrical bodies, skinks are famous for hiding under leaf litters. They are of average size, their length being up to 12 cm (4.7 inches), measured from the spout to vent. A few, like Corucia, grow extremely large in size, and can measure around 35 cm!! Corucia is also famous as the Solomon Islands giant skink. They are found in many colors, some with colored dots on the body, stripes, and other different features. Here are some more facts about these interesting reptiles.
  • Right from grasslands to deserts, skinks are found all across the globe.
  • Most species prefer hiding or burrowing rather than climbing or being in water.
  • Nearly 45% species are viviparous (giving birth to young ones, just like mammals), and 55% is oviparous (egg laying). Some of them are even ovoviviparous, that means they lay hatch egg inside their body to give birth to young ones. Some species give birth just like mammals.
  • Skinks carefully break their tails when they're fighting an enemy, to escape the spot by drawing attention of the attacker. The specialized and developed vertebrae of skinks is easily dislodged by muscular contraction.
  • Mostly, they feed on insects (crickets, grasshoppers, beetles, and caterpillars) and arthropods, however, there are several species of skinks that are herbivorous.
  • Babies of skinks can be easily identified, as they have yellow stripes and a bright blue tail. As babies grow, the color of the stripes fades, and adult skin color appears.
  • Although, blue-tailed skink lizards are said to have poisonous tails, there is not much evidence regarding them being poisonous. They are generally called poisonous because of their contrasting tail color and snake-like movements.
It is a fact that these lizards are very popular as pets. However, do contact animal pet shops and zoos to select the right kind of breeds. If proper care is taken, skinks can be interesting pets to keep in your home. Depending on the number you'll be purchasing, you have to take a suitable enclosure. Generally, one male and three females can be kept together in a normal aquarium. You have to also buy a top lid for the aquarium to prevent their escape. The bottom of your aquarium must contain dark brown soil, mulch, and bark. Using heat lamps, you have to maintain temperatures close to 30 °C inside the enclosure, and nearly 35 °C on one end of the enclosure. For 14 to 16 hours per day, you must use spectrum lightning so that skinks can get a feel of sunlight. Similarly, to pronounce night, keep the lights off for remaining hours in a day. Also ensure that you are able to feed it four to five times per week. Skinks can survive on crickets, lean meat, and snails.

Properly designing a hiding area for these lizards inside an aquarium is essential, so that they can stick to their natural instincts. If no hiding area is provided, they may become restless and fidgety. Keep a few small branches, rocks, and small hollow logs inside the aquarium, to help them feel comfortable.