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What Is a Fire Skink?

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  • Written By: Marjorie McAtee
  • Edited By: W. Everett
  • Last Modified Date: 08 December 2016
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The fire skink is a brightly colored type of lizard native to western Africa. The fire skink's back is usually bright golden in hue, while its sides are generally patterned in red, black, and white. This lizard's throat and tail are typically patterned black and white. They usually reach lengths of 10 to 14 inches (25.4 to 35.6 centimeters) and are largely carnivorous. Like most reptiles kept as exotic pets, they require a warm, humid environment and plenty of UVA/UVB light.

When kept as pets, fire skinks can be fed on a diet of worms, locusts, roaches, and crickets. These lizards will sometimes feed on vegetables, fruits, or cat food, but for the most part, they prefer to hunt living prey. It is generally considered best to add a calcium, phosphorous, and vitamin D supplement to the fire skink's food.

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These exotic pets can generally be kept in a rather small enclosure, averaging about 24 inches long, by 13 inches wide, by 21 inches deep (60.96 by 33.02 by 53.3 centimeters). The habitat should be generally be heated to an average day temperature of 80 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit (26.6 to 29.4 C) and a night temperature of 75 degrees Fahrenheit (23.8 C). Since these cold-blooded creatures need to warm themselves regularly, they should also normally be provided an area heated to 90 to 95 degrees Fahrenheit (32.2 to 35 C) for sunning themselves. These lizards usually need access to a basking area for about ten to 12 hours each day. It is believed that a UVA/UVB basking lamp can help these lizards live happier, healthier, more active lives.

Mulch, soil, or coconut husk can be used to line the tank, but it should typically be misted daily to help maintain the appropriate level of humidity for these pets. The typical fire skink needs 70 to 80 percent humidity in its habitat. The average fire skink also appreciates an environment enriched by plants, hunks of driftwood, and other ornamentation.

Experts generally recommend housing fire skinks individually. Males typically fight one another, though multiple females can usually be safely kept in one habitat, if it's large enough. Male-female pairs should generally not be housed together, except for purposes of breeding. Otherwise, repeated and excessive breeding attempts by the male can cause illness, injury, and stress in the female.

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