Melissa Kaplan's
Herp Care Collection
Last updated January 1, 2014

Sand Skinks

Scincus scincus spp.

©2000 Melissa Kaplan


Native to Northern Africa to Iran. Desert dwellers. To ~20 cm (8 in).

Typical skink build, with broad, thick body, tiny legs and feet, and bluntly triangular head, with sand skinks having a longer, more cylindrical snout. The external ear opening is nearly covered with a flap of scales. Tail is shorter than the snout-vent length (svl). Smoothly fitted scales. Yellowish to light brown, with dark bands.

These are diurnal, terrestrial lizards that are adept at digging, rapidly disappearing in loose sand when frightened.

Provide a dry environment, with a deep sand substrate (cleaned playground sand, available in 50 lb bags from large toy stores and hardware stores). Potted xeric plants may be placed in one area to provide an area of higher substrate humidity. Place some low rocks and bark slabs for basking. Keep bottom layer of sand damp.

Provide daytime gradient of 85-95 F (30-34 C), with a basking area of 100-104 F (40 C). UVB lighting a must. Night time temperatures should drop to 15-20 degrees.

Provide a shallow water bowl that they can easily get into and out of.

Provide a winter dormancy period of 4-6 weeks at 50-60 F (10-16 C).

Diet should include a variety of invertebrate prey that have been gut-loaded and supplemented with vitamins. Larger specimens may take pinkie mice.


Obst, F.J., Richter, Dr. K., Jacob, Dr. U. 1988. The Completely Illustrated Atlas of Reptiles and Amphibians for the Terrarium. TFH Publications, Neptune City, NJ. 815 p.

TIGR Reptile Database: Scincidae: Scincus

Need to update a veterinary or herp society/rescue listing?

Can't find a vet on my site? Check out these other sites.

Amphibians Conservation Health Lizards Resources
Behavior Crocodilians Herpetology Parent/Teacher Snakes
Captivity Education Humor Pet Trade Societies/Rescues
Chelonians Food/Feeding Invertebrates Plants Using Internet
Clean/Disinfect Green Iguanas & Cyclura Kids Prey Veterinarians
Home About Melissa Kaplan CND Lyme Disease Zoonoses
Help Support This Site   Emergency Preparedness

Brought to you thanks to the good folks at Veterinary Information Network, Inc.

© 1994-2014 Melissa Kaplan or as otherwise noted by other authors of articles on this site