Are you interested in adopting a lizard? While many people go for geckos and monitors, there’s another family of lizards that can also make great animal companions: the Skink Read on as a local Scottsdale, AZ vet discusses these beautiful and captivating critters.

Basics

Skinks are part of the Scincidae family. There are more than 1500 types of skink. And, while one might expect that they would look alike, they actually look very different. Most species have short legs and necks that don’t really look much like necks. However, some have no legs at all. Some, such as the Crocodile skink, have more proportionate legs. It’s also common for skinks to have tails that detach. This helps them escape predators. As far as size, they range from 7.5 to 2 feet. A fun fact: some skinks—specifically, those in the Prasinohaema genus—have green blood!

Pet Skinks

Not all Skinks make suitable pets. The most popular one is likely the omnivorous Blue Tongued Skink, which is fairly gentle and easy to care for. There are actually several types of Blue Tongued Skink. They are not to be confused with the next lizard on our list, the Blue Tailed Skink. (Worth noting: many of these lizards only have blue tails while they are young.) Other good options for pets include Schneider’s skink, which is a pretty lizard with interesting patterns, and the Monkey-tailed Skink, an arboreal lizard that, unlike most reptiles and amphibians, bears live young. One of the more attractive skinks is the Red-eyed Crocodile Skink, which looks like a little crocodile or dragon. The Casque-headed Crocodile Skink is another gorgeous lizard you may find in a pet store. Last but not least, we have the beautiful, vibrantly colored fire skinks, such as the African Fire Skink.

Care And Habitat

A proper habitat is a must for any type of lizard. There is no one-size-fits-all setup that will work for every skink. Some, such as the Monkey-tailed Skink, are climbers, while others prefer more desert-like terrain. As with many reptiles, you may need to get special equipment to keep the conditions right. Care tips, life expectancy, temperament, and dietary needs also vary from skink to skink. Do plenty of research, and ask your vet for more information. 

Do you have any questions about caring for a pet skink? Please contact us, your local Scottsdale, AZ veterinary clinic, today!