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Fire Skink

Overall satisfaction

4/5

Acquired: Worked with pet (didn’t own)

Gender: N/A

Appearance

4/5

Health

3/5

ActivityLevel

5/5

Temperament

3/5

Easy to provide habitat

4/5

Easy to handle

2/5

Visibility

4/5

Easy to clean and maintain habitat

0/5

Easy to Feed

0/5

Easy to provide environmental needs

0/5

African fire skink

By

Pennsylvania, United States

Posted Jun 23, 2013

African fire skinks are among the easier of lizards to keep -- they are colourful, attractive and active. I took care of two in a zoo education department for about 6 years. They were a long term captive pair relocated from the reptile building to the education programme, but were more used as classroom display. As skinks go, they are more handleable than most -- they do not drop their tails easily, and they calm down quickly. However, they can bite painfully and tend to clamp down for a long time. They work better as a display animal, not a handled pet.

Fire skinks stay relatively small, topping out at about 10 inches snout to tail. A pair can be housed in a 20-gellon long aquarium with a simple screen top and a basking light at one end. Avoid heat rocks or heat tape, but instead install a basking light over a dark-coloured rock or log and turn it off at night. The ambient air temperature should always be at least 75F.

Substrate can be plastic turf, chemical-free bark/ mulch; we used sterilised leaf litter from autumn leaves over a newspaper liner. Hiding places are a must. A sturdy water bowl kept only half-full is best, and it must be changed daily or when soiled.

Our fire skinks subsisted very well on a small daily portion of produce (grapes, blueberries, leafy greens, apple, peach -- chopped finely, totaling about 1 tsp of food per skink) as well as a weekly feeding of large gut-loaded crickets (6-10 per skink). They will also eat mealworms, superworms, waxworms, and earthworms.

Fire skinks are forest floor animals and so that should be considered when designing their enclosure.

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