What are the Different Types of Skink Lizard?

Jeri Sullivan

Skinks are a type of lizard that falls into the Scincidae family. Scincidae is the largest family of lizard and there are more than 600 identified types of the skink lizard. The most common are the blue-tongued skink, five-lined skink, great desert skink, emerald tree skink, and snake-eyed skink. Skinks are found all over the world and several varieties are kept as pets due to their docile nature.

Only found in Australia, the great desert skink lizard lives on the sandy plains of in the center of the continent.
Only found in Australia, the great desert skink lizard lives on the sandy plains of in the center of the continent.

Blue-tongued skink lizards are native to Australia and are named for their large blue tongues. This type of skink has a large head and short legs and can grow to nearly 20 inches long. The blue-tongued skink is an omnivore and eats mostly berries and insects it finds on the ground. When threatened, the blue-tongued skink will flash its tongue in an effort to scare off predators.

Though the tail of the blue-tailed skink is indeed blue, its body is black with yellow stripes.
Though the tail of the blue-tailed skink is indeed blue, its body is black with yellow stripes.

The five-lined skink lizard is native to the southeast states in the US and is named for the five stripes that line its back. Much shorter than the blue-tongued, the five-lined skink only grows up to ten inches long and often will have a reddish-orange colored head. The body is narrow and brown with younger specimens also sporting a bright blue tail. Typically the five-lined skink lives under fallen trees and feed on insects and spiders.

The great desert skink lizard is only found in Australia and as of 2010 is on Australia's threatened species list. A large skink that often grows more than 20 inches long, the great desert skink has a reddish-tan back and yellow underbelly. This skink lives on the sandy plains of central Australia and groups burrow into the dunes for shelter. Their diet typically includes termites found in the sand and cockroaches, ants, and spiders.

The emerald tree skink lizard is native to Taiwan, the Philippines, and eastern Indonesia and named for its bright green color. Though they are named for the most commonly seen type of emerald tree skink, many of this variety are actually a drab green or even a brownish gray. Emerald tree skinks mainly live in the palm trees populous in their habitat and feed on flowers and insects.

The snake-eyed skink lizard is native to Asia and named for its lack of eyelids, which makes it resemble a snake. The body is either brown or copper colored with tinges of green and contains a dark stripe on its side. The snake-eyed skink lives in burrows around Asia's mountain forests and feeds off insects.

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Discussion Comments


It is totally Illegal to take Australian lizards out of the country.

It is only allowed locally with a license.


Did you know you can buy skinks online? I’d be interested to hear if anyone has had an experience buying a skink from a website. I can’t imagine ordering a pet skink without seeing it. I’m not sure how I feel about having a lizard shipped!

I found one website claiming to have twelve species of skink in stock. I didn’t even know you could ship animals by way of FedEx or UPS. They even sell wild caught animals. Very interesting. Not sure I would want to be a part of that. I think I will stick to buying my pets in person.


I was surprised at the variety of reptile foods available. I had no idea some skinks eat berries and flowers. I pretty much thought they all ate crickets or something like that. Skinks eat many different things, including snails, vegetables, smaller lizards, eggs, and even baby foods. My least favorite is carrion. I don’t think I’ll be keeping any of that handy if I decide to get a skink.


I have had many pet lizards over the years. I developed a fondness for them while working in the reptile department of a large pet store. We carried skinks from time to time. My personal favorite is the Schneider’s skink.

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