Everything You Need to Know About Red Eyed Crocodile Skink – Lifespan, Care, and Habitat

Red eyed crocodile skink

One of the most striking features of the Red Eyed Crocodile Skink is its crocodile-like appearance. Its scales are bumpy and raised, resembling the skin of a crocodile. This unique texture adds to its charm and makes it stand out among other reptiles. The bright red eyes of the skink add an element of mystery and beauty to its overall appearance.

Red Eyed Crocodile Skink: An Exotic Reptile With Striking Red Eyes

Physical Characteristics of the Red Eyed Crocodile Skink

The Red Eyed Crocodile Skink measures between 4 to 7 inches in length, with males usually being larger than females. Its mesmerizing red eyes are its most distinguishing feature, which is where it gets its name. The vibrant red coloration of their eyes is caused by specialized blood vessels that reflect light, resulting in a stunning and captivating effect.

This skink has a unique body shape, with a broad head and a slender, elongated body. Its scales are bony and textured, giving them a crocodile-like appearance. These scales are primarily brown or gray, with hints of red, orange, or yellow. The combination of the red eyes and the intricate scale pattern makes this reptile a true marvel of nature.

Habitat and Natural Environment

The Red Eyed Crocodile Skink is native to the lush rainforests of New Guinea and Indonesia. These rainforests provide the skinks with a warm and humid environment, similar to their required captive habitats. They are predominantly arboreal creatures, preferring to spend most of their time in trees and shrubs.

These skinks are highly adapted to their natural habitat, equipped with strong, gripping limbs and a prehensile tail that allows them to maneuver effortlessly through branches. In the wild, their diet primarily consists of small invertebrates, such as insects and worms, which they hunt down using their excellent sense of smell and agility.

Capturing the essence of their natural environment is crucial when creating a habitat for a Red Eyed Crocodile Skink in captivity. It is essential to replicate the warm and humid conditions of their native rainforests, including providing them with appropriate hiding spots and plenty of branches for climbing.

Physical Characteristics of the Red Eyed Crocodile Skink

Physical Characteristics of the Red Eyed Crocodile Skink

One of the most striking physical characteristics of the Red Eyed Crocodile Skink is its scale pattern. Its rough, textured skin is covered in small, overlapping scales that provide protection and help maintain its moisture levels. These scales are predominantly red in color, giving the skink its name.

The Red Eyed Crocodile Skink has a stout body with a short tail, which it uses for balance and communication. Its head is wide and triangular, with a pronounced jawline that resembles that of a crocodile. The skink’s eyes are large and round, with vibrant red irises that catch the observer’s attention.

Unlike most lizards, the Red Eyed Crocodile Skink is not an agile climber. Its limbs are relatively short and sturdy, ideal for navigating its preferred habitat on the forest floor. However, its strong legs allow it to crawl and swim proficiently, making the skink a versatile creature.

In terms of size, the Red Eyed Crocodile Skink generally measures about 4 to 6 inches in length. Males tend to be slightly larger than females, but both sexes boast the same captivating colors and intricate scales that make this species so intriguing.

Overall, the physical characteristics of the Red Eyed Crocodile Skink showcase its ability to thrive in a unique environment. Its red scales, crocodile-like head, and robust body make it a captivating addition to any reptile terrarium.

Lifespan of the Red Eyed Crocodile Skink

Lifespan of the Red Eyed Crocodile Skink

On average, the red-eyed crocodile skink can live for 8 to 10 years in captivity. However, with proper care and a suitable habitat, some individuals have been known to live up to 15 years. The lifespan of these skinks can be influenced by various factors, including genetics, diet, environment, and overall health.

In terms of habitat, the red-eyed crocodile skink requires a terrarium that mimics its natural environment. The terrarium should have a temperature gradient, with a basking spot of around 85°F (29°C) and a cooler area of around 75°F (24°C). The humidity should be maintained at around 70-80% to replicate the tropical conditions of its native habitat. Providing hiding spots, branches, and plants in the terrarium will also allow the skink to exhibit natural behaviors and feel secure.

Regular veterinary check-ups are important to ensure the overall health and well-being of the red-eyed crocodile skink. It is also important to monitor for any signs of illness or injury, such as changes in appetite, lethargy, or skin abnormalities. If you notice any concerning symptoms, it is best to consult a veterinarian with experience in reptile care.

Care and Feeding of the Red Eyed Crocodile Skink

The red-eyed crocodile skink is an exotic reptile that requires special care and attention to thrive in captivity. Taking care of this unique lizard involves providing the right habitat, feeding it a proper diet, and ensuring its overall health and well-being.

The skink should be fed every 2-3 days to ensure its proper growth and nutrition. It is best to offer the food in a separate feeding dish placed within the terrarium, as this makes it easier to clean up any uneaten food and prevents the skink from ingesting substrate during feeding.

The substrate in the terrarium should consist of a mix of organic matter, such as coconut fiber or cypress mulch, which provides the skink with a comfortable and natural substrate for digging and burrowing. The terrarium should also have plenty of hiding spots, such as caves and hollow logs, to provide the skink with a sense of security.

Regular cleaning of the terrarium is essential to maintain a healthy environment for the red-eyed crocodile skink. The substrate should be spot cleaned daily to remove any waste, and a full terrarium cleaning should be done at least once a month, replacing the substrate and disinfecting any decorations or accessories.

Creating the Perfect Habitat for the Red Eyed Crocodile Skink

Creating the perfect habitat is crucial for the well-being of your red-eyed crocodile skink. These exotic reptiles require specific conditions to thrive and display their natural behaviors. By carefully setting up a suitable terrarium, you can ensure that your skink is healthy and happy.

2. Substrate: Use a substrate that mimics the forest floor, such as coconut fiber or cypress mulch. This will allow your skinks to dig and burrow, which is a natural behavior for them. Make sure the substrate is deep enough for them to fully bury themselves if desired.

3. Temperature and Humidity: Maintain a temperature gradient in the terrarium, with a warm side and a cooler side. The warm side should be kept around 78-82°F (25-28°C), while the cooler side can be around 70-75°F (21-24°C). Use a combination of heat lamps and heating pads to achieve the desired temperatures. The humidity level should be kept around 60-80%. Mist the terrarium regularly to maintain proper humidity levels.

4. Lighting: Red-eyed crocodile skinks are nocturnal, so they do not require UVB lighting. However, providing a low-level UVB light can be beneficial for their overall health and well-being. Use a UVB bulb specifically designed for reptiles and provide a natural day and night cycle by using a timer.

5. Decoration: Add branches, rocks, and plants to the terrarium to create a natural and stimulating environment for your skinks. These reptiles love to climb and hide, so provide plenty of climbing structures and hiding spots. Live plants can also help maintain humidity and improve the aesthetics of the enclosure.

6. Water and Feeding: Place a shallow dish of fresh water in the terrarium for drinking and soaking. Red-eyed crocodile skinks are omnivores, so offer a varied diet of insects, such as crickets and mealworms, as well as fruits and vegetables. Dust the insects with calcium and vitamin supplements before feeding them to ensure proper nutrition.

7. Cleaning: Regularly clean and maintain the terrarium to prevent the buildup of waste and bacteria. Spot clean any soiled substrate, and perform a full substrate change every few months. Disinfect the terrarium with a reptile-safe cleaner to keep it clean and hygienic.

By following these guidelines, you can create a comfortable and stimulating habitat for your red-eyed crocodile skink. Remember to monitor the temperature, humidity, and cleanliness of the terrarium regularly to ensure your skinks are living their best lives.

Choosing a Red Eyed Crocodile Skink as a Pet


The Red Eyed Crocodile Skink is a relatively small species, typically growing to be about 5-6 inches in length. This means they require less space compared to larger reptiles. However, they still need a proper terrarium with enough room for them to climb and explore.


The terrarium should have a temperature gradient, with one side being around 75-80°F and the other side around 70-75°F. This allows the skink to regulate its body temperature by moving between the warm and cooler areas of the enclosure. It’s also important to provide humidity levels of around 70% to mimic their natural habitat.

The terrarium should be furnished with plenty of climbing branches, plants, and hiding spots. This will provide enrichment and stimulation for the skink, allowing it to display its natural behaviors.

Care and Feeding


The Red Eyed Crocodile Skink is a fascinating reptile that can make a great exotic pet for those willing to provide the necessary care and attention. From creating the proper habitat to providing a varied diet, keeping a Red Eyed Crocodile Skink can be a rewarding experience for any reptile enthusiast.

Common Health Issues for the Red Eyed Crocodile Skink

The Red Eyed Crocodile Skink is an exotic reptile that requires specialized care to ensure its health and well-being. While they are generally hardy creatures, there are a few common health issues that owners should be aware of.

Dermal Scale Rot

Dermal Scale Rot

One of the most common health issues that can affect Red Eyed Crocodile Skinks is dermal scale rot. This condition occurs when the skin becomes infected due to poor husbandry or improper habitat conditions. Signs of dermal scale rot include discoloration, swelling, and the presence of open sores or ulcers.

Respiratory Infections

Red Eyed Crocodile Skinks are susceptible to respiratory infections, especially when they are exposed to cold or damp conditions. Symptoms of a respiratory infection may include wheezing, difficulty breathing, and nasal discharge.

To prevent respiratory infections, provide a warm and dry environment for your skink. Ensure that the terrarium is properly heated and ventilated, and avoid exposing the skink to drafts or sudden temperature changes. If you suspect that your skink may have a respiratory infection, consult a veterinarian as soon as possible for appropriate treatment.

Nutritional Deficiencies

Nutritional Deficiencies

Another common health issue for Red Eyed Crocodile Skinks is nutritional deficiencies. These lizards require a balanced diet that includes a variety of insects and occasional fruits or vegetables. A diet lacking in essential nutrients can lead to problems such as metabolic bone disease.

To ensure that your skink receives proper nutrition, provide a varied diet that includes appropriate calcium and vitamin supplements. It is also important to provide UVB lighting to promote vitamin D synthesis and calcium absorption. Regularly monitor your skink’s body condition and consult a reptile veterinarian if you notice any signs of nutritional deficiencies.

Handling and Interacting with the Red Eyed Crocodile Skink

If you do need to handle your Red Eyed Crocodile Skink for any reason, it’s crucial to approach with caution and use proper handling techniques. Here are some guidelines to follow:

1. Familiarize Yourself with the Skink’s Behavior

2. Use Gentle and Slow Movements

When picking up your skink, approach it slowly and gently. Sudden movements and loud noises can startle them and cause them to become defensive. Use both hands to support your skink’s body and avoid gripping it tightly.

3. Avoid Picking Up the Skink by the Tail

The Red Eyed Crocodile Skink has a fragile tail that can easily break if handled incorrectly. Never pick up your skink by its tail, as it can cause serious harm or stress to the lizard.

4. Wash Your Hands Before Handling

It’s essential to wash your hands thoroughly before handling your skink to remove any traces of lotions, oils, or chemicals that may be harmful to the lizard. This is especially important because the Red Eyed Crocodile Skink has a porous skin that can easily absorb substances.

5. Minimize Handling Time

While some skinks may tolerate handling for short periods, it’s best to limit the amount of time you handle them to prevent unnecessary stress. Aim for brief, controlled interactions to avoid overwhelming the skink.

6. Provide a Stress-Free Environment

Creating a comfortable and stress-free habitat for your skink is crucial. The terrarium should include plenty of hiding spots, suitable temperature and humidity levels, and a diet that meets their nutritional needs. A stressed skink will be less likely to tolerate handling, so their overall well-being should be a top priority.