Fire Skink

By Snaketracks / February 10, 2020
Fire Skink
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Fire Skink Care Sheet

The Fire Skink is a stunner in every way.  Cool color combinations of red and bronze with black speckles make them eye-catching pets.

Some choose them as pets for children because of its relatively small size. Adults can be as small as just 10 inches. Read on for more about the amazing Fire Skink.

Quick Reference Section

  • Experience level: Beginner to Advanced
  • Family: Scincidae
  • Scientific name: Lepidothyris fernandi, also Mochlus fernandi
  • Other Names: Fernand’s Skink, True Fire Skink, sometimes called African Fire Skink
  • Average adult size: Between 10 to 14 inches
  • Lifespan: 15 to 20 years
  • Clutch Size: 3 to 6 eggs (3 to 5 clutches per year)
  • Egg Incubation Period: 30 days minimum
  • Food: Insects like crickets and worms
  • Average Temperature: 92°H/75°L
  • Humidity: 60% to 70%
  • UVB lighting: optional
  • Average price range: $25 -$40
  • Conservation Status: Not Evaluated

Fire Skink Facts

Fire Skink top view
True Fire Skink from top

The Fire Skink is truly a stunning lizard. It belongs to the Family Scincidae and Genus Mochlus. Pet owners love it for its vivid red body and bronze back.

Fire Skinks have short and tiny legs. A triangular head sits on short little necks. A fully grown pet may measure up to 14 inches in length.

Fire Skinks hatch at about 2 inches in size and may take up to a year to fully grow. It is quite a manageable and unintimidating size of a reptile you can care for.

Experienced handlers may think this species is quite easy to care for. There are some novices, however, who may find this type of lizard a bit complicated to handle as a first pet reptile.

It is native to West Africa. Sightings go as far as Guinea, Angola, and Kenya. These love the forests and densely vegetated areas.

Fire Skinks have short tiny legs with short little necks and a blunt like triangular head. Their slick bodies let them move like snakes. They can burrow in sand to evade predators in an instant.

Fire Skinks are diurnal. You can observe their best moves during the day.

Fire Skink Habitat

Enclosure

Adults may reach just a little over 1 foot. So, you won’t need much space for your pet Fire Skink.  A 20 to 30-gallon tank can be a suitable home for your pet Fire Skink.

Additional space is good as well, especially if you are planning to have more than one skink in the same enclosure. Carolina Custom Cages offers high quality tanks and has an availability in larger sizes.

Make it homely for your pet reptile by fixing up the surroundings with both live and artificial plants. Add some hiding places, different sizes of rocks, mini-caves, and basking logs or branches.

Substrate

Use natural and humidity promoting substrate, plants, Exo Terra gecko cave or hides, logs, sand, wood, chips, etc. Ensure substrate remains moist ‘cause when they get too dry, it creates risks of ingestion, poor sheds, and even respiratory infections.

Temperature

Set temperatures from 75°F to 92°F. Consider a FocusPet under tank heater for your pet reptile for more consistent temperatures. A Zoo Med Reptitemp digital thermostat helps monitor levels and prevents over or under heating.

Humidity

Humidity is most important. Since substrate should always remain moist, humidity must range from approximately 60% to 70%. A reptile hygrometer like this one from Zoo Med can be used to monitor these conditions.

The surface can drop as low as 40% when humidity in the substrate remains in this range. Misting the enclosure twice per day is recommended and usually sufficient.

Lighting

UVA exposure for Fire Skins is recommended for they both benefit from and require it. They can thrive without UVB light as long as they receive food dusted with calcium.

However, consider UVB lighting like Zoo Med ReptiSun UVB lights to help with calcium synthesis and prevent diseases like MBD.

During the cool months, an eight to ten-hour photo-period is required, rising to a ten to twelve-hour photoperiod during the much warmer spring and summer months.

Fire Skink Feeding

Fire Skink is a veracious feeder. You can use a Zoo Med reptile rock food dish for small to average insects like crickets(DIY Cricket Farm), fruit flies, wax worms, mealworms (build a mealworm farm), and the like.

It will happily accept those treats. You may treat them with live superworms and other lives feeds on occasion. If you have a larger setup you can also breed your own super worms.

Consider dusting insects with powdered Calcium in combination with Vitamin D3. This helps balance and synthesize calcium in its body.

Temperament

Fire Skink on rock
Fire Skink on rock

Fire Skinks have a mild temperament. A Fire Skink accustomed to its surroundings will be fairly active and lively on the surface of the enclosure.

Fire Skinks are usually docile They however are quite fast and squirmy, so handling should always be done in a place where escape is not a risk.

Since it is quick and slippery, Fire Skinks may be hard to get a hold of, especially new pets. Sometimes, they can bite pretty hard and surprise you. Most Fire Skinks will settle down quite nicely in due time.

Very young children may have great difficulty handling these quick lizards. They may need assistance and training from older, more experienced handlers.

Lifespan

The lifespan for Fire Skink is 15 years. Some can live longer than that.

Common Health Concerns (Issues/Solutions)

Fire Skinks are hardy and solid pets. There aren’t a lot of reported health concerns with the species. Just remember to maintain proper care and environmental conditions to keep them healthy and stress-free under your care.

Pricing and Availability

Fire Skink Close up
Fernand’s Skink closeup of head

Fire Skinks price range from 25$ to 40$. A skink feeling both secure in its surroundings will display frequent movement or healthy activity on the surface of the enclosure.

They are growing easier to find, most commonly found in expos and through trusted major sites. Captive-bred young fire skinks may be found online from late summer unto fall.

Conservation/Threats?

As of its last assessment Fire Skink populations appear to be stable but like a lot of animals their population be affected by de-forestation.

Conclusion

These calm, docile creatures are a great choice for a pet. Fire Skinks are considered to be one of the most beautiful types of Skinks.

It isn’t hard to see why judging from their very shiny and colorful appearances. So taking care of these awesome little critters could be quite fun and fulfilling especially once you’ve built a good relationship with them.

If you have a Fire Skink, do share your experiences with us in the comments below.

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