Close this search box.

Red-Eyed Crocodile Skink Care Sheet: Everything You Need to Know

Are you looking for a unique and interesting pet to add to your collection? Look no further than the red-eyed crocodile skink! These adorable little lizards are native to New Guinea and are known for their distinctive red eyes and tough, scaly skin. While they may not be the easiest pets to care for, with a little bit of knowledge and effort, you can provide your skink with a happy and healthy life. In this care sheet, we’ll cover everything you need to know about caring for red-eyed crocodile skinks, from their habitat and diet to their behavior and health.


Red-eyed crocodile skinks, also known as Tribolonotus gracilis, are native to the island of New Guinea. They can be found in the lowland forests and swamps of the island, where they spend most of their time hiding under logs, rocks, and other debris.

While they are native to New Guinea, red-eyed crocodile skinks have become popular pets around the world due to their unique appearance and interesting behavior.

However, it’s important to remember that these lizards are still a relatively rare and specialized species, and may not be the best choice for every pet owner.

If you’re considering adding a red-eyed crocodile skink to your household, it’s important to do your research and ensure that you can provide the specialized care and attention that they require.

By learning about their natural habitat, diet, and behavior, you can help ensure that your skink is happy and healthy for years to come.


Red-eyed crocodile skinks are known for their unique and striking appearance. These small lizards typically grow to be around 6-8 inches long and have a stout, robust body shape.

One of the most distinctive features of the red-eyed crocodile skink is, of course, their namesake red eyes. These bright red eyes are large and round, and give the skinks a somewhat menacing or intimidating appearance.

In addition to their red eyes, red-eyed crocodile skinks have a rough, scaly skin texture that is designed to protect them from predators in the wild.

The coloration of red-eyed crocodile skinks can vary depending on their age and sex. Juvenile skinks are typically a pale tan or beige color with darker stripes or spots, while adult males are usually a darker brown or black with bright orange or yellow markings on their backs.

Females, on the other hand, tend to be a more uniform brown or black color without the bold markings seen on males.

Overall, red-eyed crocodile skinks are a fascinating and unique species with a one-of-a-kind appearance that is sure to turn heads and spark curiosity.

Size and lifespan

Red-eyed crocodile skinks may be small in size, but they can make a big impression on their owners. These lizards typically grow to be around 6-8 inches in length, making them a good choice for reptile enthusiasts who are looking for a pet that doesn’t take up too much space.

In terms of lifespan, red-eyed crocodile skinks can live for up to 15 years with proper care. This means that they are a long-term commitment and require a significant amount of attention and effort from their owners.

It’s important to note that the lifespan of your red-eyed crocodile skink will depend on a number of factors, including their diet, environment, and overall health.

By providing your skink with a healthy diet, a comfortable habitat, and regular veterinary care, you can help ensure that they live a long and happy life.

If you’re considering adding a red-eyed crocodile skink to your household, it’s important to understand the level of commitment required to care for these unique reptiles.

While they may be small in size, they require a significant amount of specialized care and attention.

With proper care, however, your red-eyed crocodile skink can be a fascinating and rewarding addition to your family for years to come.


Although red-eyed crocodile skinks are typically thought of as peaceful and submissive animals, their demeanor can shift significantly based on factors such as their unique personalities and the circumstances in which they were raised. While some skinks are more timid and prefer to stay hidden, others are more outgoing and like to socialize with others.

It is essential to take into consideration the fact that red-eyed crocodile skinks are predominately nocturnal, which indicates that they are more active in the evening and nighttime hours. The majority of the time during the day, you can find them hidden in the cover of their shelters or anywhere out of sight.

When it comes to being handled, red-eyed crocodile skinks might be somewhat shy or quickly startled, depending on the circumstances. If they perceive that they are in danger or are uneasy, it is possible that they will act swiftly or attempt to flee. In spite of this, many red-eyed crocodile skinks can develop more accustomed to interacting with humans throughout the course of their lives if they are handled and socialized appropriately.

It is essential to handle your red-eyed crocodile skink with extreme caution and delicacy at all times. It is best to avoid grabbing or squeezing them in any way, as this may make them to feel threatened or even sustain an injury. Instead, you should make an effort to allow your skink climb onto your hand or arm on their own terms and gently hold its body with the other hand as they do so.


Red-eyed crocodile skinks are a tropical species, so they require a warm and humid environment to thrive. You’ll need to set up a terrarium that mimics their natural habitat, which includes plenty of hiding places and climbing opportunities. Here are the key elements of a proper red-eyed crocodile skink habitat:

Terrarium Size

A single red-eyed crocodile skink will need a terrarium that’s at least 20 gallons in size. If you plan on keeping multiple skinks, you’ll need to increase the size of the enclosure accordingly.

Temperature and Lighting

Red-eyed crocodile skinks need a basking spot that’s around 85-90°F and an ambient temperature of 75-80°F. You’ll also need to provide them with UVB lighting to help them synthesize vitamin D3.


These skinks prefer a substrate that’s moist and soft, like coconut coir or sphagnum moss. Avoid substrates that are too dry or rough, as they can damage the skink’s skin.

Decor and Enrichment

Red-eyed crocodile skinks love to climb and hide, so you’ll want to provide them with plenty of branches, rocks, and plants to explore. You can also add a shallow water dish for them to soak in.


Red-eyed crocodile skinks are omnivorous, which means they eat both plant and animal matter. In the wild, they feed on insects, fruit, and small invertebrates. Here are some tips for feeding your red-eyed crocodile skink:


The bulk of your skink’s diet should consist of insects, like crickets, roaches, and mealworms. You can also offer them waxworms and silk moth larvae as treats.

Fruits and Vegetables

Red-eyed crocodile skinks enjoy fruit and vegetables as well. Offer them small amounts of diced fruits like papaya, banana, and melon, as well as leafy greens like kale and collard greens.

Feeding Schedule

Feed your skink every other day, and remove any uneaten food after 15-20 minutes.


Red-eyed crocodile skinks are relatively calm and shy lizards, but they can become stressed if they feel threatened or uncomfortable. Here are some behaviors to look out for:


Red-eyed crocodile skinks are nocturnal, so they’ll spend most of the day hiding in their shelters. Don’t be surprised if you don’t see your skink very often!


These lizards enjoy basking in the warm spot of their terrarium, so make sure you provide them with a basking spot.

Tail Wagging

If your skink is feeling threatened, they may wag their tail as a warning sign. Try to avoid handling them if they’re exhibiting this behavior.


With proper care, red-eyed crocodile skinks can live for up to 15 years. Here are some signs of a healthy skink:

A healthy skink should have clear, bright eyes. If you notice any cloudiness or discharge, it could be a sign of illness.

Active and Alert

A healthy skink should be active and alert, moving around their enclosure and exploring their environment.

Smooth, Shiny Skin

Red-eyed crocodile skinks have tough, scaly skin, but it should be smooth and shiny. If you notice any bumps or lesions, it could be a sign of a health problem.

Regular Shedding

These skinks shed their skin regularly, so you should see pieces of old skin in their enclosure from time to time. If your skink is having trouble shedding, it could be a sign of dehydration or a nutritional deficiency.

If you notice any signs of illness in your red-eyed crocodile skink, it’s important to take them to a reptile veterinarian as soon as possible. Regular check-ups can also help you catch any potential health problems early on.

Common Questions

Now that you know the basics of red-eyed crocodile skink care, here are some common questions that pet owners may have:

1. Can red-eyed crocodile skinks be kept together?

While it is possible to keep multiple red-eyed crocodile skinks together, it’s important to monitor their behavior carefully. Males can become aggressive towards each other, so it’s best to keep them in separate enclosures if you’re not breeding them.

2. Do red-eyed crocodile skinks make good pets for children?

Red-eyed crocodile skinks can make great pets for older children who are responsible and have experience caring for reptiles. However, they may not be the best choice for younger children or inexperienced pet owners.

3. How often should I clean my red-eyed crocodile skink’s enclosure?

You should clean your skink’s enclosure thoroughly once a month, and spot clean it as needed between cleanings.

4. Can red-eyed crocodile skinks be trained to be handled?

While some red-eyed crocodile skinks may become more comfortable with handling over time, they are generally not as tolerant of being handled as some other reptile species.

5. Are red-eyed crocodile skinks endangered?

Red-eyed crocodile skinks are not currently considered endangered, but their populations in the wild are threatened by habitat loss and collection for the pet trade.

In conclusion, red-eyed crocodile skinks are unique and fascinating pets that require a bit of specialized care. By providing them with a warm, humid environment and a varied diet, you can help your skink thrive and live a long, healthy life. With proper attention to their behavior and health, you can enjoy many happy years with your red-eyed crocodile skink!