Species group: Skinks
Other common names: Pinecone Lizard; Stumpy-tailed Lizard; Bobtail Lizard, Bog-eye Lizard, Sleepy Lizard; Two-Headed Skink
Scientific name: Tiliqua rugosus or Trachysaurus rugosus
Shingleback Skinks are found in the desert grasslands and dunes of Southern Australia.
Appearance / health:
The Shingleback Skink is named after its keeled, protruding, wrinkled scales on bony plates making it look like it’s wearing an armor of roof shingles. This Skink is one of the larger species with a pyramidal head and a stumpy tail resembling the head. The similarity of the head and tail is meant to confuse predators. The mid-section is elongated, thick, and flattened. The clawed toes are short. The body color ranges from cream to gray to rust to black, having light yellow spots or cross bands. Males have bigger and wider heads as well as longer and more pointed tails.
Behavior / temperament:
Shinglebacks may be slow and lethargic, but can run quickly when alarmed. A threatened Shingleback Skink will arch its body, open its mouth, hiss, display its blue tongue, and bite hard. They are diurnal, actively hunting in the heat of mid-day, and hiding away inside hollow logs or under fallen leaves at night.
The Shingleback Skink is best kept in a savannah terrarium with 3-4 inches of substrate, preferably mimicking their native habitat of sand or loam covered with bark and fallen leaves. The cage should have plenty of hiding places under stable piles of flat stones as well as climbing branches, roots, and driftwood. Plants in pots are also recommended to simulate their native grasslands. Day temp: 71-86F; night temp: 64-86F; basking temp: 95-104F; humidity: 60%; lighting: 12-14 hours, UV radiation required.
Shinglebacks are best kept in an indoor cage where temperature and humidity can be controlled, but putting them in an outdoor enclosure is also recommended for areas that have weather conditions close to the lizards’ natural habitat. Indoors, good ventilation is important to keep the environment dry.
Like many other large lizards, Shinglebacks are omnivorous, eating insects and snails, as well as wildflowers and berries. In captivity, they can be fed crickets, beetles, and baby rodents, soft fruit, and chopped greens and vegetables. Mineral-dusted food is recommended.
Shingleback Skinks are live bearing. Males and females usually form long-term monogamous bonds, mating in September and giving birth to one to three young between December and April. Babies are born in a placenta, which they eat after emerging. Males are protective of the newborn for a period of time.
temperament, longterm pair bonds, fantastic pet, novice keepers
bok choy, collard greens, basking site, LaidBack Large
I would keep one of my own!
The reptile facility I worked at had a pair of these, and I found them easy keepers. They were very happy to be handled and did not seem to mind it at all. They were gentle, sweet, and easy keepers..
From Kacie Bingham Sep 30 2017 1:47AM
Large and Laid-Back
Large, laid-back and with a variety of unique characteristics (including the formation of long-term pair bonds), shingleback skinks have much to recommend them. Both novice keepers and well-experienced breeders can enjoy these Australian oddities…even after a lifetime of working with rare reptiles in zoos, they remain one of my favorites.
They do need a bit of space – a 75 gallon aquarium, at least, for a mature adult (with a homemade enclosure being preferable) – but they are well-worth any trouble you might expend on their behalf. They are calm in demeanor, and regular human contact will be taken in stride. Their temperature needs – a range of 72-85, with a basking site of 100 F – are easily met, and humidity must be kept very low. Most appreciate a thick bed of leaves in which to burrow, but they soon give up all pretense of shyness, and focus only on their next meal.
Shinglebacks appetites know no bounds, which makes it easy to provide them with a varied, balanced diet. The bulk of their diet - 60% or so - should be comprised of a mixed salad of greens and vegetables, to which has been added a small amount (i.e. 10% by volume) of fruit. Kale, bok choy, dandelion, mustard and collard greens, beets, various beans, squash, carrots, yams, apples, figs, papaya and other seasonally available produce should be offered, with variety being a key point. Animal-based protein can be provided by canned tegu diets, live crickets, roaches, super mealworms, butter worms, and wild-caught invertebrates..
From findiviglio Nov 15 2015 5:38PM