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Five lined skink -aka. Blue tailed skink (when young) Care Sheets
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Care Sheet for Skinks

Average Rating Given To This Care Sheet Is 4.64    (1=lowest, 5=highest)    Last Updated: 03/23/2004

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Years Experience:

Over 20 Years


Five lined skink -aka. Blue tailed skink (when young)

Other Species or Phases this Care Sheet May Cover:

Broad Headed Skink

Sexing and Characteristics:

Young are jet black with yellow lines running from head to bright blue tail. Rusty red or orange may be present on the head as well. Colors gradually fade as animals mature.
Adult males appear silver or golden brown in color with a bright or dark red tint all along the head.
Adult females have less red around the head and have black and narrow yellow series of lines running down their sides from head to tail, these markings vary somewhat regionally.

Mostly Active During:


Substrate and Water Needs:

Substrate: What ever suits you best. These lizards will thrive in simple or elaborate set ups. Newspaper works well enough and is easy to clean. Its kind of dull to look at and they will spend alot of time hiding under it.
A layer of river pebbles covered with several inches of good "clean" backyard or potting soil also works well, but is more of a hassle to clean. The skink will burrow but will be visible when out for food/water or basking for most of the day ( I think they are happiest when kept this way)
Water: These lizards will learn to drink from a water bowl if it is provided, but it may take a while. Mist the lizard and its surroundings slightly every other day or so until youve seen it go to the bowl to drink. Make sure the water is clean and make sure the container is large enough to soak in but also easy for them to climb out of when theyve had enough.

Lighting and UVB:

Provide a basking area on the hot side of the cage at around 110F, use a pile of rocks or something they can climb up on to vary their distance to the lamp above. I have used UV lighting with this type of skink recently, but I do not believe it is critical if you make sure to provide vitamin supplemented food items (mostly crickets and meal worms). However, I do believe that a UV light would possibly enhance the lizards coloration and make it feel more at home in its captive environment (and thats what were always going for).

Temperatures and Humidity:

Temperatures: These skinks are found all over the United states from the New England area all the way to the Southern tip of Florida, they are very tolerant of cooler temps if able to warm up nicely afterward. Try to keep the hot side of the cage at 80F with a hotter spot under the basking light (around 110F) and the cool side of the cage around 73 F or so. A night time temp drop is handled well considering theyre found in areas where the daytime temps can be in the 90s and at night drop into the mid 50s. Just make sure that they can warm up in the daytime under the heat lights.
Humidity: These lizards are found in areas with wide humidity ranges. If you can keep live leafy plants growing in the cage then the humidity is ok. If the glass in the tank fogs up, its too humid. If you mist the lizard every day or two humidity will not be too low.

Heating and Equipment:

Id recommend an under tank heater of some kind (heat pad) and an overhead incandescent bulb (no spotlights) with a reflector over the basking area, both places should be on the hot side of the cage for maximum effect.

Caging Provided:

You can start with a 10 gallon aquarium and work up to larger sizes as the skink gets larger. Be careful about making it too hot in there if you use a small tank. Id recommend a 20 or 30 gallon "long" tank for max effect. Hot side with undertank heat mat and a basking spot under an incandescent bulb. Cool side with the water bowl. Place hiding places and plants or debris in both sides of the cage to allow for a good comfy place to feel warm/cool and safe.



Description of Diet:

Skinks in the wild eat anything that walks or flies by as long as they can fit it into their mouths. Avoid caterpillars, spiders, wasps and bees. Somehow in the wild they avoid the poisonous ones, captive ones might eat them and get sick . I raised them on meal worms and crickets dusted with "Herptivite brand Multivitamins and Calcium" Im sure others would work just as well, also would give them canned Monitor/ Tegu food as a treat, theyd really enjoy it. Feed them until they are full every 2 days or so. You will be able to see them looking around for more if they are getting really hungry.

Supplements, Nutrition and Usage:

Reptile Multivitamins and calcium supplements dusted over crickets and meal worms every other feeding. Or, follow instructions on supplement can.


Keep the temps right (hot side of cage and cool side of cage), feed crickets, keep a day and night cycle similar to 12 hours light and 12 dark (use a light timer), keep water available and you will be rewarded.

Some Words on this Species:

These are amazingly active little predators, they always are doing something and are just fun to watch. They do not like being handled. Keep this to an absolute minimum. Tails break off easily and grow back looking not as nice as before. Great pets to watch. Also will learn to take bits of food or meal worms from tongs or fingertips. Will head to its burrow in the evening and overnights, but will emerge in the morning to look for food and bask in the "sun". Very easy to keep, very interesting little animals. Ive had individuals live up to 8 years, and these were adults of unknown age when captured. I suspect a 10 year or so lifespan.
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The information contain in these care sheets represents only the opinions and husbandry care of members and therefore is not guaranteed to be 100% accurate or reflects the advice or opinions of It is always advised to seek additional information or the advice of a qualified veterinarian or qualified reptile dealer. It is also advisable for you to a good amount of research before implementing any of the ideas and care described in these care sheets. We also recommend you ask many questions in their related forums before acting on any information.

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