Red eye crocodile skink, Tribolonotus gracilis

Red eye crocodile skinks are a favourite due to their prehistoric appearance

At a glance...
  • Red eye crocodile skinks are an unusual and fun pet to keep
  • Exciting behaviours make them a very rewarding pet
  • Extremely popular in the hobby due to their unique appearance
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Do Red eye crocodile skinks make good pets?

Red eye crocodile skinks are a favourite with reptile keepers, due to their unique, crocodile-like appearance and exciting behavioural patterns. They are a small, elusive terrestrial skink, but can climb a little, like to swim and are voracious hunters so can be really interesting and fun to watch when they are out and about.

At Swell Reptiles, our Red eye crocodile skinks are all captive bred in the UK, meaning you can be safe in the knowledge that your new reptile came from a reliable source, with minimal negative impacts on their natural environment.

What size enclosure does a Red eye crocodile skink need?

Although they are only a small species, Red eye crocodile skinks require a good amount of space for their crepuscular activities. We recommend a minimum enclosure size for this species of 90 x 45 x 45cm (36 x 18 x 18”), for example, the Exo Terra Glass Terrarium 90x45x45cm.

Due to their high humidity requirements, glass terrariums work best for Red eye crocodile skinks, as wooden vivariums are likely to warp in the consistent moisture. Using a glass terrarium also gives you the option to create a paludarium set-up, with both a water and land area.

Do Red eye crocodile skinks need to be heated?

Red eye crocodile skinks should be provided with a basking temperature between 30°C (86°F) and a cool end temperature of around 20-25°C (68-77°F) to allow them to properly regulate their own body temperature.

This thermogradient should be achieved using an overhead heating system, attached to a compatible thermostat. For example, a basking lamp and dimming thermostat or ceramic heater and pulse thermostat. Unless your home drops below around 15°C (59°F) overnight, no nighttime heating is required, but if it is, it must be a non-light emitting heat source.

Do Red eye crocodile skinks need UV?

Despite their crepuscular nature, Red eye crocodile skinks would regularly be exposed to low-level UVB in nature, so their captive environment should replicate this with a UVI between 1-2. This will ensure they can metabolise vitamin D3 and in turn, proper assimilate the calcium provided in their diet.

The percentage of UVB required depends on the distance between the light fixture and the animals basking area, so if this will be between 25-40cm (10-15”), an Arcadia ShadeDweller ProT5 Kit will do the job, whereas if this will be between 40-45cm (15-18”), an Arcadia ProT5 Kit - Forest 6% will be better.

What type of substrate does a Red eye crocodile skink need?

Red eye crocodile skinks like to dig and burrow, and also have high humidity requirements, so their substrate should be carefully chosen to allow for this. A loose, soil-based, moisture-retaining substrate such as coco soil is a good choice, or if you are going to live plant the enclosure, Arcadia EarthMix.

You may also with to add a drainage layer, particularly if setting up a bioactive enclosure, which would consist of a layer of Hydro Rocks with a sheet of Hydro Matting laid on top before adding the substrate. This will prevent the soil from becoming waterlogged and protect the roots of your plants.

How do I decorate a Red eye crocodile skink’s vivarium?

To mimic their natural environment as closely as possible, lots of covered areas should be provided for Red eye crocodile skinks, such as hiding caves, logs, cork bark, foliage, branches and vines either in the form of live or artificial plants. Natural reptile decorations should also be added to the substrate layer, to create a more natural setting and help to keep humidity levels up.

A large water dish that your skink can fit in, or even swim in will also be appreciated, as Red eye crocodile skinks are often found close to bodies of water in nature. You can even create a paludarium type set-up for this species, with both an aquatic and terrestrial area.

What do Red eye crocodile skinks eat?

Red eye crocodile skinks are insectivorous, and should be fed a varied diet of different livefoods, such as crickets, cockroaches, earthworms, snails and so on.

To ensure they get all the nutrients required to remain healthy, all livefood should be supplemented according to a feeding cycle. We recommend using a calcium-rich multivitamin on every feed, such as Arcadia EarthPro-A, a calcium plus magnesium supplement on every fourth feed, such as Arcadia CalciumPro Mg and finally, a vitamin D3 supplement on every eighth feed such as Arcadia EarthPro RevitaliseD3.

How do I buy a Red eye crocodile skink?

If you would like to purchase one of the UK captive bred Red eye crocodile skinks for sale at Swell Reptiles, you will need to collect this from our store.

Please come in and see us, we will aks a few quick questions and ask to see some images of your set-up, already with the correct temperature and humidity requirements, with adequate lighting installed. We reserve the right to refuse adoption to anyone we feel is unprepared to adopt.

For more detailed husbandry information, please see our Red Eye Crocodile Skink Care Sheet.

Our store also offers a wide range of alternative pets to the Red eye crocodile skink, including the Fire skink and Pink tongue skink.

Common names Red eye crocodile skink
Scientific name Tribolonotus gracilis
Country South East Asia
Captive-bred Yes
Adult size 25cm (10”)
Natural habitat Forest floors amongst leaf litter, mosses and tree crevices
Housing 90 x 45 x 45cm (36 x 18 x 18”)
Ideal temperature 30°C (86-89°F) (warm end); 20-25°C (68-77°F) (cool end)
UVI 1-2
Ideal humidity 70-90%
Diet Insectivorous
Average lifespan 8-10 years
Personality Individual
Ease of handling Difficult
Cohabitable No
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  1. Red eye crocodile skink, Tribolonotus gracilis, care sheet
    Categories: Care sheetsLizards

    Red eye crocodile skink, Tribolonotus gracilis, care sheet

    Red eye crocodile skink, Tribolonotus gracilis, husbandry guide from the experts at Swell Reptiles, covering housing, heating, lighting and more.