The fire skink (Lepidothyris fernandi), also known as the true fire skink or Togo fire skink, is a fairly large skink, a type of lizard. They are a beautiful species known for their bright and vivid coloration. Native to tropical forests in Western Africa, they live fifteen to twenty years. This species is a diurnal lizard that love to burrow and hide. They are relatively shy and reclusive, but may grow to become tame in captivity.
Fire Skink (Riopa fernandi)
Historically, the fire skink has been placed in several different genera and was until recently placed in Riopa together with several skinks from southeast Asia. While these are superficially similar to the African fire skink, they are closer to some other Asian skinks, resulting in their move to Lygosoma. The fire skink is not closely related to other skinks and belongs to the genus Lepidothyris. However, a review of the taxonomy of the fire skink did reveal that it, as traditionally defined, actually consists of three separate species. This essentially limits true L. fernandi to tropical Western Africa, while population in Central and East Africa are L. hinkeli and L. striatus.
The fire skink is a fairly large species of skink, reaching up to 37 cm (15 in) in total length. The most notable aspect of fire skink biology are their vivid, bright colors. Smooth, gold scales adorn the fire skinks backs, while red and black bars set against a silver background line their sides. Fire skinks do not display obvious sexual dimorphism, which makes them difficult to sex. Males are, in general, bulkier than females with a slightly flatter head and wider jaws.
Fire skinks, unlike many other skink species, are oviparous. A female will generally lay a clutch of five to nine eggs after mating. Fire skink eggs take forty to fifty days to hatch when incubated at a temperature of 85 °F (29 °C).
This species has a large appetite and it is mainly insectivorous. Insects such as crickets are main part of their diet in captivity. Larvae such as mealworms are used for feeding captive specimens.
This species is kept as a pet. Many specimens available for sale are wild-caught, but captive-bred skinks are available. The animal requires a larger tank with plenty of horizontal space, as well as some vertical space for its occasional tendency to climb. It also requires a loose substrate for burrowing. The environment should be moist and humid, with plenty of ground cover to create hiding places. One end of the tank should be warmed with a lamp for basking. Live insects are a proper diet, and some keepers provide an occasional pinkie mouse.
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Fire Skinks in Captivity :
In case of pet skinks, the season of reproduction starts in April and continues through May. The females lay eggs in their tanks. A single clutch may contain 5- 9 eggs which take somewhere between 40- 50 days to hatch when incubated at 85° F temperature.
The average lifespan of these animals is 10- 20 years.
Fire Skinks shed their skin underwater. The molting is done in patches by shedding small pieces of skin one by one.
Here are some interesting facts about these animals:
The color of these skinks may lighten or darken according to their mood.
They are considered to be one of the most beautiful species of skinks.
These skinks are very popular as pets and are fairly easy to take care of.
Housing: A 20-30 gallon tank is ideal for an adult Fire Skink. The baby skinks can live in a 10-20 gallon tank. They need access to water in order to shed skin. These lizards like to dig tunnels and move around in their cage.
Lighting: A 10-12 hours light cycle is ideal for them. Exposure to UV light is good for their health and it helps to increase their appetite and color.
Humidity: They prefer high levels of humidity (70%- 80%). One may also provide them with a “moss box” with damp sphagnum moss.
Temperature: The ideal daytime temperature for these lizards is somewhere between 80 °F and 85 °F. It should be about 5 °F less at night. The temperature of the basking area should be around 90 °F.
Pet Fire Skinks eat small insects like crickets, ants and spiders. It is ideal to provide them with calcium and vitamin supplements two to three times a week. The growing skinks should be fed at least once a day, while the adult ones will eat two to four times a week.
Temperament: They have a mild temperament. The female creatures can stay together peacefully. But the males are very territorial and fight among themselves if kept together.
Handling: One should use a pair of gloves when handling these lizards as sometimes they become aggressive and inflict a bite that can be quite painful. They will shed their tail if anyone tries to grab it. The tail will re-grow with time but will lose its beautiful coloration.
The population of Fire Skinks appears to be quite stable. However, like other species of skinks, their population might have been affected by de-forestation.
Here are some pictures of the Fire Skinks. Check out their beautiful coloration.
Courtesy to : www.animalspot.net/fire-skink
by Deepamala Bhattacharya
Fire skinks are a type of lizards mainly found in different parts of Africa. Some other names of this species include True Fire Skink, Togo Fire Skink and African Fire Skink. They are quite shy and like to hide in their burrows. These beautiful reptiles are very popular as pets.
These lizards have a shiny and colorful appearance.
Length: They can grow anywhere from 10 inches to 14 inches in length.
Color: These skinks have a golden back with red, black and silver fire-like patterns adorning the sides of their body. Their throats have black and white bars. The male skinks are usually larger and of a brighter color than the females.
Body: Their stocky tubular body is covered in smooth scales that gleam in sunlight.
Legs: The Fire Skinks have short black legs covered with white spots. They also have sharp claws.
Tail: The long tail of these creatures is black with white markings.
These creatures are mainly found in western regions of Africa. The main area of distribution includes Guinea, Uganda and Angola.
These creatures live in open woodlands, rainforests and edges of open grasslands. They can also be seen near ponds and lakes during skin shedding.
Fire Skinks are mainly carnivorous feeding on various invertebrates and small animals like snails, beetles, centipedes, frogs, mice and small lizards. Sometimes they also eat fruits.
The behavior patterns of these animals are similar to other skinks.
They like to burrow because they feel safer hiding in them.
These skinks are very protective of their food.
Fire Skinks are most active during daytime (diurnal).
They puff their throat and arch their back to display aggression.
Despite having a calm nature, they may bite if disturbed or provoked.
Many animals and birds like raccoons, coatis, snakes, foxes, hawks and herons prey on Fire Skinks.
Their adaptations help them to survive in their environment.
Despite having small legs, they can run very fast.
Their unique coloration helps them to hide from predators.
They are able to shed their tail as a part of survival mechanism and can simply run away in case a predator tries to grab them by the tail.
Not much is known about the reproductive habits of these skinks in the wild. But unlike many other skinks, this species is oviparous (animals that lay eggs).
The Fire Skinks are an amazing species of skinks with some interesting habits. They are quite popular as pets for their shy nature and mild temperament.
2- FIRE SKINK
courtesy to : www.reptilesmagazine.com/Lizard-Species/Fire-Skink/
Adult Size: About one foot long, occasionally larger with complete tails
Range: West to central Africa
Captive Lifespan: 12 to 20 Years
Care Level: Beginner
Like most skinks, fire skinks prefer to keep low profiles by hiding under logs and leaves most of the time. Give fire skinks at least 4 inches of soil and tree bark to burrow into. Fire skinks will spend the vast majority of time hidden, except when hungry. After a few weeks in captivity, most fire skins learn to lose their innate fear and come out when their keepers are heard nearby.
Insects, snails, spiders and worms make up most of the diet, but some fire skinks also accept pieces of fruit. Feed fire skinks during the day when they are most active. Aim a directional heat lamp at one corner of the cage so there’s a hot spot for the fire skink to sunbathe to reach their preferred temperatures for activity and digestion.
Use only a small water bowl that fire skinks may drink from because they may drown in too large a bowl. Spray water on the cage substrate periodically too to keep it from getting bone dry. Fire skinks like humid conditions, but don’t want to be in damp material that may cause infections on the skin.
Give fire skinks an enclosure that has at least 36 inches of length in the greatest dimension. One heavy piece of bark serves well as a retreat to shelter under.
Fire Skink Setup and Full Caresheet
Baby Fire Skinks and Husbandry Info
Fire Skink Setup Tutorial
How to setup and care for a fire skink part 1
How to setup and care for a fire skink part 2
Hand Feeding A Tame Fire Skink
Fire Skinks Enjoying their Mealworms (Feeding Video)
Fire skink eating!
General Care & set up :
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Fire skink Unboxing
African Fire Skink being funny
How to handle a fire skink
fire skink before and after shedding
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