The fire skink (Mochlus fernandi), also known as the real fire skink or Togo fire skink, is a medium-sized lizard belonging to the Scincidae family. The species’ vibrant and vivid colorations are well-known. The fire skink, which is native to tropical forests in Western Africa and has a lifespan of fifteen to twenty years. This is a diurnal (active by daylight) lizard that enjoys burrowing and hiding. It is timid and reclusive in nature, but it can be tamed in captivity.
Characteristics of African Fire Skink
If you’re searching for a reptile with a striking appearance, the fire skink is a good choice. The body color of this lovely little skink can vary from black to white to silver. The African fire skink gets its name and its spectacular coloration from its bright red scales.
Intermingled with the fiery red scales are black specks and white lines. The skink’s back is normally a a spectacular golden color that contrasts nicely with the red of the scales.
Fire skinks, like some other reptile species, may undergo a color shift in time. This color shift is normally caused by mood or setting, and it’s nothing to be concerned about. With a long square body, strong legs, and thick tails, fire skinks have the classic “skink” shape. Their stocky build adds a lot to their pet lovers appeal.
Proper Treatment of African Fire Skinks Leads to a Longer Lifespan
The average lifetime of a fire skink is 15 to 20 years. This makes them an excellent choice for owners who want to form a close bond with their pets and keep them for a long time! Of course, the level of treatment given to an African fire skink can have a significant impact on its lifespan. A well-designed ecosystem, a well-balanced diet, and proper handling go a long way.
Size of the African Fire Skink
A fire skink’s average length is 14 to 15 inches for males and a few inches shorter for females. Hatchlings are about two inches long when they hatch and grow to full size in about a year. Care, biology, and the way they were bred are the key factors that influence their ultimate size. Purchasing reptiles from reputable and experienced dealers increase your chances of owning a large and safe fire skink.
Caring for an African Fire Skink
In comparison to other pet lizards, caring for a fire skink is relatively easy. They do, however, need to meet a few specific specifications. If you’re going to take care of one of these gloriously colored creatures, make sure their enclosure has the right temperature, lighting, and humidity levels.
Your African fire skink will also require a balanced, safe diet as well as proper care. The enclosure must also be immaculately clean for your pet’s health and enjoyment. To avoid mold and mildew build-up, wipe down dirty places, scoop up messes from the substrate, and replace the substrate on a regular basis. Consistently keeping the pet’s home clean will help you and your pet have a happy and long-lasting relationship!
Habitat of African Fire Skink
Keeping your fire skink in the appropriate tank size will go a long way toward maintaining his or her wellbeing and happiness. A glass-made 40–50-gallon tank is recommended. It’s much safer if the enclosure has more horizontal space than vertical space for this insect.
In no case should two male African fire skinks be held together in the same enclosure. They can become ferocious and will always fight to the death. It’s fine to keep two females together in the same enclosure, but they’ll need plenty of space. You can house a male and several females together if you have a large enough enclosure.
Before you start putting together the shelter for your fire skink, make sure you think it through. Since these lizards like to burrow and hide, habitat enhancers such as logs, driftwood bits, plants, and reptile hides are essential.
Your fire skink would feel insecure and helpless in an environment without these. Since these reptiles may want to burrow, selecting the appropriate substrate is important. A mixture of clean soil, cypress mulch, and sphagnum moss is recommended. Don’t forget to finish it off with a layer of leaf litter.
Optimal Living Conditions for African Fire Skink
Temperature and Lighting
Your fire skink, like all reptiles, can’t control its body temperature internally. This is why it will be critical to set up some kind of gradient heating system in the enclosure. Gradient heating is the creation of a warmer area for basking and a cooler area for relaxing and lowering the body temperature.
The easiest way to do this is to position the warmer portion of the enclosure on one side and the cooler section on the other. The ambient temperature side and the basking side are commonly used terms.
- The tank’s internal temperature should be between 84- and 86-degrees Fahrenheit.
- Maintain a temperature of 92 to 96 degrees Fahrenheit in the basking region.
- Minimum size: 20 gallon long tank for 1 skink
Water and Humidity
When it comes to water sources inside the habitat, your fire skink won’t need anything fancy. They get the majority of their water from prey or water droplets produced during misting. Although a water dish isn’t needed, a very shallow water container may help to raise the humidity level. Some people keep these lizards in paludariums, but this isn’t needed.
It’ll be important to maintain the proper amount of humidity in your skink’s enclosure. In their natural environment, fire skinks need humidity levels of 60 to 70%. The humidity level will be maintained in this range by misting the enclosure two times a day. If the enclosure’s layer is still moist (but not wet), it’s fine if the surface humidity drops to 40% on occasion.
Diet of African Fire Skink
Be sure to sprinkle your African fire skink with calcium and vitamin powder before feeding time, no matter what you feed it. Dusting adds nutrition and can help to prevent metabolic bone disease. The general recommendation is to feed 3-5 insects every three days. This will help them to get the nutrients they need without overeating.
Health issues with African Fire Skink
While fire skinks are not considered to be particularly fragile pets, they are susceptible to a few health problems that you should be aware of. The majority of health problems you can face are caused by a poor diet or an unclean environment.
The best thing is with the help of a good pet shop you can achieve a clean home and a well fed, healthy pet lizard. You will greatly minimize the chances of them getting sick if you clean consistently!
Q & A About African Fire Skink
Is it true that fire skinks are friendly?
Fire skinks are normally docile and will tolerate handling; however, they are fast and can be squirmy. Any handling should take place in a secure location where an escape is unlikely.
Is it true that fire skinks are poisonous?
Skinks do not have venom. So, you catch trap them, but be careful not to catch the skink’s tail as it will break off. Being bitten by a skink isn’t a big deal.
What is the maximum size of a fire skink?
The fire skink is a large skink species that can grow up to 37 cm (15 in) in length (including tail). The fire skink’s most distinguishing feature is its vibrant, bright colors.
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