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Scincus scincus
Origin: Southern Desert regions of North Africa.

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

This medium sized skink can achieve a total length of 7-8” 18-20cm. This species has long, wedge-shaped snout with a countersunk lower jaw. Its long tapered body is covered with smooth shiny scales, its legs are short and sturdy with long and flattened fringed feet. The tail is short tapering to a fine point. The colouration of this species would be considered attractive being yellow-caramel with brown-black cross bands.

The sand fish it totally adapted to life in the desert, in it natural environment its a fast moving agile reptile, being able to “swim” through the sand with ease.In captivity this is a fairly hardy species as long as the basic requirements are met.

Firstly it needs a deep 6” + substrate of sand or if not possible fine beech chip.

Secondly it likes it hot, hot being a very hot basking area.

This reptile has adapted itself to warming up quickly it basks at temperatures of 125-145°F, that’s hot! The rest of the enclosure should be maintained at 80-85°F with a ten-degree night drop, no night basking required. As it only basks for short bursts and spends a lot of time underground it may be conceded that the use of full spectrum lighting would not be required, however we use UV lighting with this species. The rest of the enclosure can be decorated as you like, fake cacti always look good! Water should be provided in a very shallow dish, this species has been known to drown in 1” of water. The very bottom on the sand should be maintained only very slightly damp, this can be done by the use of a small tube pushed to the bottom and little water poured through.

Due to the shape of it mouth, catching fast moving insects like crickets prove difficult for this skink. The best food from my experience are small meal worms placed directly in the substrate, wax worms can also work well. Having said this small crickets and locusts will be really accepted even if their catching skills don’t look very elegant. This species may also take a small amount of fruit and blossoms.

Not much is known about the breeding cycle of this species, once thought to be ovoviviparous it’s now known to lay 3-5 oblong shaped eggs at a time.

Overall this wonderful little skink makes a good study species being active around midday and early afternoon. It is more showy than you might think and once warmed up can be very active. Once thought to be a difficult captive species, with the right
environmental conditions reportedly it is a long-lived species with wild collected adults thriving in captivity for ten or more years.

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