Acquired: Online breeder / seller,
Bred animal myself,
Worked with pet (didn’t own)
New York, United States
Posted Nov 15, 2015
Standing out among the 1,600+ members of the world’s largest lizard family is not easy, but this Central African beauty does so admirably! As fire skinks are both hardy and relatively-unstudied, both novice keepers and well-experienced breeders will find much of interest…even after a lifetime of working with rare reptiles in zoos, they remain one of my favorites.
Active and high strung, especially if kept in cramped quarters, fire skinks do need a bit of space - 55 gallon terrarium for a single adult, or a 75 for a pair - they are well-worth any trouble you might expend on their behalf. Most resist handling, and their “stiff” bodies and glossy, almost slippery scales, render them easy to drop. But gorgeous coloration and an array of fascinating behaviors render them wonderful animals to observe.
Their temperature needs – a range of 78-85 with a basking site of 95 F – are easily met, and humidity should be kept high, but with dry basking sites available. Most appreciate a thick cypress mulch substrate in which to burrow, but they bask regularly and feed by day. UVB exposure is essential.
A wide variety of insects supplemented with powdered calcium and vitamins are essential to your pet’s well-being. Roaches and, oddly for a lizard, earthworms, are particular favorites. Canned snails, crickets, silkworms, hornworms, locusts and other commercially-available insects should also be supplied; crickets and mealworms alone, even if supplemented, will not supply adequate nutrition long-term. Some individuals will accept bits of ripe fruit and nectar mixes designed for crested and day geckos.