Intermediate reptile owners may find the Gidgee Skink a welcome addition to their home. It’s an interesting choice of pet to care for. If you prefer smaller-sized reptiles, the Gidgee is a great choice since it grows up to one foot or less on average. The species is not dangerous, making it a safe pet to handle. Read on to find more about the amazing Gidgee Skink.
Table of Contents
Gidgee Skink Facts
- Experience level: Best for Intermediate reptile pet owners
- Family: Scincidae
- Scientific name: Egernia Stokesii
- Average adult size: 10 to 12 inches
- Lifespan: Over 20 years in captivity and 5 years minimum in the wild.
- Clutch size: quite small, from 1 to 8 per female. Some females do not reproduce within the year.
- Food: fruit and leaves, mice and small bugs,
- Average Temperature: 295°C to 38°C in summer and 18°C minimum during winter.
- UVB lighting: optional
- Conservation Status: There is a concern for its survival. The species is protected in Australia. It is illegal to capture one in the wild.
Gidgee Skinks loves it hot. They prefer the dry to semi-arid areas around Australia, particularly Queensland, NSW, South & Western Australia, and Northern Territory.
The species belong to the Scincidae family. Its scientific name is Egernia Stokesii. It was given the name to honor Admiral John Lort Stokes who charted the Houtman Abrolhos Islands (WA) on the HMS Beagle together with Charles Darwin.
Gidgee Skinks grow from 10 to 12 inches max. They have spiny tails and keeled scales. They are agile and quite shy too. It may take some time before your Gidgee Skink warms up to you but gain its trust and just don’t make a habit of spooking or rushing it, and it’ll be personable in no time.
Gidgee Skink Care Sheet
Gidgee Skink Habitat
In the wild, the Gidgee Skink is at home in dry, desert-like spots that provide plenty of cover. You’ll find them along rock crevices, stumps, hollow logs, and the like. Make this pet at home in the enclosure you will provide by designing some semblance to its natural surroundings.
Reptile enclosures vary and you can design your pet Gidgee Skink’s new home depending on factors such as:
- Priority: Is aesthetics or practicality more important?
- Location: Will you place the enclosure indoors or outdoors?
- Number: Will you house 1 or more Gidgee Skinks?
A cheap temporary enclosure will do well for young pets but consider the full size and needs of your pet when you choose a permanent enclosure. You may choose materials like glass, concrete, and wood. You may install wires or screens for fencing.
Reptiles have the reputation and tendency of being heavy carriers of bacteria and other harmful microorganisms. That’s why regular cleaning is very important.
For spot cleaning and disinfecting of the enclosure, stock up on solutions and tools like bleach, glass cleaner, and wiper. It’s best to have a specific container for transferring cage furniture and other accessories into so you can prevent spreading dirt and contaminants onto other surfaces.
Consider choosing a substrate that’s good for drainage and stays dry. Set your substrate deep enough to likewise keep your pet Gidgee Skink dry. The materials should also be easy to clean, especially the removal of feces. An odor-resistant substrate is always a good choice. Provide a sandy spot for your pet; Gidgees love that.
Gidgee Skinks can tolerate hot temperatures but they do poorly in very cold temperatures. Make sure to recreate the temperature your pet prefers, otherwise you may find them losing appetite, lacking in energy for activities, unable to breed, falling ill, and more.
Provide a thermal gradient within the enclosure, so your pet reptile can move and rest in the heat or cold at any time. Maintain a maximum of 38°C during the hot summer months and limit temperatures down to 18°C in winter.
Prevent extreme cold by using a heater. It’s advisable to purchase a heating equipment with a thermostat or purchase the thermostat separately. This helps prevent overheating.
Gidgees love hot and dry conditions so they can thrive even with less moisture. Still, maintain moisture and good humidity levels. You can spray a light mist once or twice weekly. Have a bowl of water daily for its drink and for some moisture. Remember to replace daily to maintain fresh drinking for your reptile pet.
Natural lighting is sufficient if you’ll maintain the enclosure outside. For indoor setup, you need to install lighting. Consider using UVB lights as these provide light and heating similar to what your pet gets from the sun. You can leave indoor lights on at 12-hourly intervals.
Consider adding shelter for your Gidgee Skink. It will enjoy some hollow logs and rocks for hiding. Decorate with grass and even hanging branches to provide a basking spot for your pet. Secure hanging items properly so they don’t fall and injure your pet in any way.
Gidgee Skink Feeding
Feeding your Gidgee Skink is not difficult to plan. You can give it some pinky mice. They’ll have it either frozen, pre-killed or live. They eat a variety of insects like crickets, roaches, and other small bugs.
They also have an appetite for leafy greens and beans. You can also stock up on canned goods like ground turkey or canned dog food for your pet Gidgee Skink. Pellet food is also appealing to them.
For further supplementation, you can introduce some calcium and multi-vitamin supplements. These are easy to add to their food. You can supplement every other feeding or once a week.
If you prefer daily feeding, provide it in small and appropriate portions. You can schedule meal times 3 times each week but adjust the size accordingly. The Gidgee Skink will stop eating when it’s full so observe your pet’s appetite and make adjustments on the frequency and feeding portions as needed.
Temperament and Handling
Gidgee Skinks are shy by nature. These agile reptiles are quick to hide away. They need some time to trust being held. In new surroundings, they are careful. Give them time to adjust to the enclosure, to your scent, and to your manner of feeding and handling.
The Gidgee Skinks is not aggressive but it can shift to a defense mode when they feel they or their territory is threatened. So, house your Gidgee Skink in isolation or with a partner who will grow up together with it.
More Information About Gidgee Skinks
Here are a few more things to know about this amazing reptile.
In the wild, Gidgee Skinks may survive a minimum of 5 years. In captivity, the speculated longevity of Gidgee Skinks run between 15 to 25 years.
Common Health Concerns (Issues/Solutions)
In the wild, Gidgee Skinks are susceptible to tick infection. Larvae can latch on to the ears and digits. Adult ticks can be seen on the back and tail.
Pricing and Availability
Australia does not allow the export of Gidgee Skinks but captive breeding and selling is available in the US. Prices may be expensive but you’ll find a drop in prices depending on the season and supply.
Conservation/ Threats to Survival
There’s a present concern for the survival of Gidgee Skinks. Destruction of habitat is an issue along with bushfires and illegal hunting by pet collectors and traders.
They also fall prey to predators like foxes, dingoes, snakes, and birds of prey. The species is protected in Australia and permit to keep one is a requirement in most territories.
When you choose a Gidgee Skink for a pet, you’ll have the chance of owning a small-sized reptile in your home. It’s amusing to observe and hold. Imagine having a not-so-ordinary creature moving around a see-through enclosure.
You and your guest’s eyes will surely enjoy seeing and feeling those keeled scales and spiny tail. Spend hours watching those short legs move around and even laugh as you see this pet lizard slide on its belly.
As extraordinary as it looks, it’s limited in supply as well. Prices tend to run high. You may scout for availability at reputed reptile shops. Exhibits also run now and then. Visit one for inquiry.
Attractive, interesting, and safe to have around; the Gidgee Skink ticks the boxes for making a good pet, doesn’t it? What’s your say? Do you have an experience to share? We’d love to hear it in the comments below.