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Red Sided Skink Lizard - Trachylepis homalocephala

Red Sided Skink Lizard - Trachylepis homalocephala
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Aquarium suitability:
Care level:
Easy with Proper Care
Extreme Friendly
South Africa
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The Red-sided Skink is ground-living and shelters in tunnels that it digs at the base of bushes or boulders. It also favours any kind of debris to hide underneath. It is particularly fond of moist situations and are common along the banks of rivers and streams. It is an egg-laying species and up to six eggs are laid late November to early December. In the wild, it is fairly secretive and will more often be heard than seen. It is an active forager and hunts insects.

They have a typical skink appearance with a large body, that they sometimes flatten down. Their snout is pointed and their neck is thick. They have a movable bottom eyelid and this species has frills around the eardrum to protect it while it burrows in the substrate. They feel smooth to the touch and have large shape claws for climbing and digging. They are mainly brown with red running along the side of their body with the odd white scale. Adult size is approx. 200mm (8 inches) excluding the long thin tail.

Like in other terrestrial skinks, the body is slightly elongated and tubular, the limbs relatively short, and there is no well-defined neck. In males, the head, body and tail are pencil-grey above with four longitudinal dorso-lateral black stripes on the body. The body scales between the stripes are distinctly outlined in black. Some of the scales on the head are also outlined in black, giving the impression of black markings on the head. Laterally, a broad black band, which also passes through the eye, separates the bright orange to reddish undersides and limbs from the grey-coloured dorsal parts. Females lack the orange undersides, although the hind legs are reddish-brown. Like in males, there are four dorso-lateral black stripes and a broader lateral black band passing through the eye. Below this black band, there is a distinct white line, passing underneath the eye in front. In females, the head and dorsal body are olive-grey with the scales outlined in black. The underside of the body is a pale grey.

The vivarium should be set-up to resemble open woodland. Use a soil substrate, with bark chippings over the top, along with logs, slates and hides. This species also likes to climb, provided them with branches. A temperature of 25-30C (77-86F) should be provided during the day, with a basking area of 32C (90F). A drop down to no lower then 20C (68F) is recommended during the night.

A varied diet of insects should be offered, they may even take the odd pinkie (baby mouse). They will eat Chinese Painted Quail eggs by cracking into them to eat the yolk. You should also dust the live foods with a vitamin supplement once a week for adults and more frequently for babies and juveniles. Although fresh water should always be provided, spray the vivarium once a week to stimulate rain and to keep the soil substrate damp, but not wet.

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