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EYED SKINK
Chalcides ocellatus
Origin: Southern European countries, North Africa into southwestern Asia
Family:

Most imported specimens arrive from Egypt where the species seems to be very common.

This medium sized skink can achieve a total length of 6-12” 15-30cm. This species has a small pointed head, a thick neck, and a stout cylindrical body supported by short legs with five-toed feet. The colouration of this species is very variable; its glossy scales are grey or light brown with black, with white centred spots

The ocellated skink is a fast moving agile reptile at home in scrublands, grassy slopes, dry sandy arid areas. Specimens found in Malta, Greece etc are often found behind beaches or in rocky walls.

In captivity this is an undemanding species requiring only basic requirements to thrive. Set-ups should include adequate hiding places, as this can be a quarrelsome lizard, it’s only advisable to keep one male per enclosure. Substrate can be sand, beach chip, or orchard bark. For a more natural environment try sand and large stones for basking, make sure the stones are placed so as to not fall and crush these highly active lizards. A basking temperature of 85°F should be provided with a background temperature of 75-80°F. The use of full spectrum lighting is required as this is a basking species. Water should be provided in a shallow dish, and a few times a week a light spray would be appreciated. Although this species comes from a fairly dry environment an area of constant humidity should be provided to help with shedding skin. This can be provided with slightly damp moss under a hide of bark etc.

Food can consist of all suitably sized commercially produced live foods, and hedge sweeping. Remember to only collect from areas you are sure pesticides have not been used. This species may also take a small amount of fruit and blossoms.

Mating will take place several times a year; the females are ovoviviparous giving birth to 3-11 young at a time. The young are miniatures of the adult and should be separated as cannibalism can occur. Once separated juveniles should be cared for the same as the adult.

Overall this underated skink can make for a good study species as it’s daily activities, and open basking makes it fairly showy in captivity, with the chance of producing miniature replicas of itself!


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