Acquired: Pet store
Posted Jun 05, 2015
I stumbled across my first prehensile-tailed skink (monkey-tailed skink) in a pet store one day and fell in love. Getting him back in '92 cost a pretty penny - and they're even more expensive now! Even at £1,000 or more, I'd get another one in a heartbeat!
One of the reasons for the high cost of prehensile-tailed skinks these days is because of their scarcity. Regulations now restrict their export from Solomon Islands so they can be quite difficult to get a hold of. Another reason is because of their breeding habits. Unlike many lizards, skinks give birth to a single live baby, instead of laying eggs. The young lizard is then carried around on its mother's back until its old enough to go out on its own. I never had the pleasure of breeding our skinks, but I would dearly love to at some point!
Caring for a prehensile-tailed skink is easy enough but you have to make sure you get the set-up right. They require a humid environment so it's best to get yourself a spray bottle. I would spray the tank a couple of times a day. The prehensile-tailed skink love to climb so you also want to make sure they've got enough limbs to keep them happy.
Monster and Lursa loved nothing better than to sit outside in the sun, in their favourite tree, and bask. I could leave them outside for hours at a time on a good day. They're such slow, ponderous creatures that I was never worried about them wandering off. In fact, I'd happily put Monster on my shoulder and take him for a stroll through the city! If you're going to try that, though, I recommend two things: a thick jacket and a harness! You really don't want the embarrassment of chasing down an old lady because your skink took a liking to her green duffel coat and decided he'd go for a ride!
Skinks have incredibly sharp claws and they WILL try to climb you so be ready to become their own personal jungle gym! It's because of their sharp claws that I would recommend skinks only for older children and adults. They also are reputed to have a nasty little bite - not that mine ever bit anyone.
Of all the lizards I've owned since then, the prehensile-tailed skink is my favourite. I love their Ninja Turtle-like faces (so expressive) and they are just beautiful to look at. Their laid-back attitude and natural curiosity make them a terrific companion.