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Ocellated Skink

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Species group:

Other common names: Eyed Skink; Gongilo

Scientific name: Chalcides ocellatus

The basics:
The Ocellated Skink is native to a number of countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea, such as Greece, southern Italy, and parts of North Africa. It is found in a variety of habitats, including dry deserts and farm and grasslands.

The Ocellated Skink is a peaceful, shy and somewhat reclusive skink, and spends most of its time under cover. Most pet skinks of this species are exported from Egypt.

Appearance / health:
The Ocellated Skink grows to a total length of 6-12 inches (15-30cm.). The Ocellated Skink has smooth, shiny scales which are either grey or light brown in color, and covered by white spots. It has a pointed head, elongated body and short limbs.

Housing:
A 20 gallon long tank is the minimum for one skink. A pair can be kept in a slightly larger tank that gives more floor space; for example - 40 gallon breeder tank. A secure lid is needed.

Temperatures overall inside the tank should be between 85-90F with a basking area that reaches from 90-105F. Nighttime temperatures can safely drop down to 65F. A high output UVB bulb and light fixture are necessary for the well being of this skink. The basking area can be achieved by getting a ceramic heat emitter, a reptile basking bulb, or a high wattage house flood bulb in a dome fixture. An accurate digital thermometer with a probe is also needed to accurately record and maintain temperatures. If temperatures at night drop below 65F, an infrared (nocturnal) bulb, a ceramic heat emitter, or an under tank heater can be used (never use heat rocks as they will burn). Create a 12 hr day and 12 hr night schedule by setting up a timer for the lights. Substrate to use can be washed children’s play sand. Pet stores sell sand, but this is not recommended, instead use the play sand available at hardware stores (children’s play sand is less likely to cause impactions, and is also cheaper.) Substrate depth should be between 3-5 inches deep as these skinks will burrow under the sand at night. Food and water dishes should be provided and cleaned frequently. Sand should also be spot cleaned and changed out when needed. Tank décor can be anything from pre-made hiding areas, drift wood, bark, rocks, fake plants, etc.

Diet:
The bulk of the diet should consist of insects; crickets, meal worms, super worms, wax worms, and others. They also can be offered high quality low fat dog or cat food occasionally. Kale, collared greens, carrots, and fruits should also be offered. Newly hatched skinks need to be offered tiny foods such as flightless fruit flies and pin head crickets along with the fruits, veggies, and high quality dog or cat food.

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