Red-eyed Crocodile Skinks

In captivity, it is a species increasingly appreciated by terrariophiles, because of its very particular appearance. The red-eyed crocodile skink measures no more than 19cm as an adult. It owes its name because of its scales which remind those of crocodilians. Also because of the very intense orange coloring that it has around the eyes. This species is still very little known yet it is very interesting and its “prehistoric” aspect makes it unique! The red-eyed crocodile skinks also have the exceptional ability to vacate. In the wild, this species is present along watercourses, at very humid soil level where there are decaying stumps and well-present vegetation. Very often red-eyed crocodile skinks have been spotted near coconut heaps, where it finds shelter in case of danger. 

Not Suitable For Beginners

Very shy, in general. When they see movement they will run away to look for hiding places or they will act dead (watch out some can be very convincing). Like many lizards, they have the ability to lose their tail. In general, they are not animals to be handled as often or none at all.


They live in Papua New Guinea and the surrounding islands. Not much is known about their customs in their natural environment. They would be in the vicinity of streams and would hide in burrows when they feel any danger. There is a great discussion between whether they are nocturnal or diurnal, but most likely they are more active at twilight and the early hours of the morning. They have a bony triangular head, with relatively large eyes, tail compared to the short body, and scales scaled all over its back. In the red-eyed crocodile skinks, the lower part of their body is clear, while the upper one is black, it also has an orange ring around its eyes. Which is why it is commonly called red-eyed crocodile. 

Red-eyed crocodile skinks Diet

Their diet mainly consists of silkworms, and woodlice, springtails. They will also eat crickets, cockroaches, crickets. For juveniles, it is recommended to offer prey of suitable sizes. In captivity, calcium and vitamin D3 intake is compulsory. Read more on our article about this topic

Terrarium For Red-eyed crocodile skinks

This species being burrowers. It will benefit very little from UV but it will still have to have a neon 5.0 UVB. For a couple, you will need an aqua-terrarium of at least 100x50x40. To respect their natural habitat better, a minimum layer of 15cm of coconut humus will be required. This will require a bottom of 3-4 cm of clay balls for drainage covered with a geotextile to block so that the hummus does not mix. Regarding the hiding places, do not hesitate to put several strains, bark, coconut… but also moss and pothos plants, ferns for example.

The aquatic part is very important. During temperature increases, the red-eyed crocodile skink will have the possibility of “cooling off” in the basin. It will be necessary to set up a pump in order to be able to filter the bottom and have good oxygenation of the water. Regarding the development of the pool. You can put plants but especially rocks and stumps to avoid the risk of drowning even if the red-eyed crocodile skinks are a very good swimmer. 

Humidity plays an important role, which is why it is essential to spray the entire terrarium daily with temperate water. The best is if possible to set up a misting system in order to have high humidity. A humidity of 60 to 90% is necessary, it must not be below 60%.

Optimum Temperature For Red-eyed crocodile skink 

23 ° and 28 ° the day, and between 17 ° and 20 ° the night with a variation of more or less 2 ° C not to exceed 30 °. The daytime temperature is between 23 ° C and 28 ° C. At a night temperature of 17 ° C to 20 ° C is recommended. Be careful because this species is very sensitive to temperatures exceeding 30 ° C. 

How To Sex Your Red-eyed crocodile skinks 

There are several ways to determine the sex of Red-eyed crocodile skinks: 

  • Size: adult males are generally more imposing. 
  • The gray-blue coloration of the second and third toe (visible below the paw) of the males. These are the femoral pores. 
  • At the level of the abdomen, the males have more rows of scales than the females (in males one can count from 4 to 6 row). 

Breeding Red-eyed crocodile skinks 

They reach sexual maturity in about 3 years.

  • Number of eggs per laying: 1, since females only have one ovary, but in the breeding season they can lay several, but never in more than 1 per laying
  • Incubation period: Between 42 and 83 days (about 2 months). Temperatures above 27ºC that cause malformations, sterility, behavioral problems, etc. Should be avoided at all costs. The optimal incubation temperature is 24 ° C.
  • Care of the offspring. Parents take care of the offspring and the egg. Some breeders recommend not separating the offspring from the mother until they have a certain time. If we decide to separate them with a 30x30x30 terrarium with conditions similar to adults, it is enough.

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