Eumeces algeriensis, the Algerian skink or Algerian orange-tailed skink, in French eumece d'Algérie, or in Spanish bulán, is a species of skink in the Scincidae family. The species is endemic to the Maghreb region of North Africa.
7 - Eumeces genus :
The genus Eumeces (family Scincidae) comprises four African to Middle-Eastern skink species.
Recently two taxonomic revisions have been made regarding the 19th century genus Eumeces. They both resulted in similar results; the genus is paraphyletic and must be "sliced up" into several different genera. Griffith et al. (2000) proposed that the type species for Eumeces, E. pavimentatus, which is considered by many to be a subspecies of Eumeces schneideri, should be changed to Lacerta fasciata, so that the genus name Eumeces would stay with the most species-rich clade. However, this petition has not been verified by the International Commission on Zoological Nomenclature. Schimtz et al. argued that Griffith et al. violated the Code and rejected the proposal on good grounds. Thus only the African species of the Eumeces schneideri group belong to the genus Eumeces.
Scientific classification :
Novoeumeces Griffith et al., 2000
Within Eumeces the following species are recognized:
Some species that were formerly considered Eumeces have now been assigned to new genera:
Now in Plestiodon:
Plestiodon callicephalus, North American mountain skink
Plestiodon chinensis, Chinese skink (East Asia: China, Korea, Japan)
Plestiodon colimensis (Mexico)
Plestiodon copei (Mexico)
Plestiodon coreensis, Korean big skink (Korea)
Plestiodon dugesii (Mexico) - rare
Plestiodon egregius, mole skink
Plestiodon elegans, elegant skink, five-striped blue-tailed skink (juvenile), or Shanghai skink (East Asia)
Plestiodon fasciatus, common five-lined skink
Plestiodon gilberti, Gilbert's skink (North America)
Plestiodon inexpectatus, southeastern five-lined skink
Plestiodon kishinouyei, Kishinoue's giant skink
Plestiodon lagunensis, San Lucan skink
Plestiodon laticeps, broad-headed skink
Plestiodon latiscutatus, Japanese skink (Japan)
Plestiodon liui (Asia)
Plestiodon anthracinus, coal skink
Plestiodon barbouri, Barbour's skink (Japan)
Plestiodon brevirostris, short-nosed skink (Mexico)
Plestiodon longirostris, Bermuda rock skink
Plestiodon lynxe, oak forest skink (Mexico)
Plestiodon marginatus, Ryūkyū five-lined skink (Okinawa and Amami Islands)
Plestiodon multivirgatus, many-lined skink
Plestiodon (multivirgatus) gaigeae, variable skink (North America) - sometimes Eumeces (multivirgatus) epipleurotus
Plestiodon obsoletus, Great Plains skink
Plestiodon okadae, Okada's five-lined skink (Japan)
Plestiodon parviauriculatus, northern pygmy skink (Mexico)
Plestiodon parvulus, southern pygmy skink (Mexico)
Plestiodon popei (Asia)
Plestiodon quadrilineatus, four-lined Asian skink
Plestiodon septentrionalis, prairie skink - includes Eumeces obtusirostris
Plestiodon skiltonianus, western skink
Plestiodon stimpsonii, Yaeyama seven-lined skink (Japan)
Plestiodon sumichrasti (Mexico)
Plestiodon tetragrammus, four-lined skink
Now in Eurylepis:
Eumeces indothalensis - now Eurylepis indothalensis
Eumeces poonaensis - now Eurylepis poonaensis
Eumeces taeniolatus - now Eurylepis taeniolatus
Now in Mesoscincus:
Eumeces altamirani - now Mesoscincus altamirani
Eumeces managuae - now Mesoscincus managuae
Eumeces schwartzei - now Mesoscincus schwartzei
For the external links , refrences click here to read the full wikipedia article
Hibernation is not required, but may stimulate breeding and raise fertility levels. Start shortening the day length at October from 12-14 hours, so that in December it is only 6 hours. Let the temperatures drop by couple of degrees Celsius and offer food only once a week. Spray the terrarium lightly. At February you can begin raising day length, so, that in May it is again 12-14 hours.
- Eumeces algeriensis, the Algerian skink or Algerian orange-tailed skink :
Least Concern (IUCN 3.1)
W. Peters, 1864
Eumeces pavimentatus var. algeriensis W. Peters, 1864
Eumeces algeriensis— Boulenger, 1887
Eumeces schneideri algeriensis — Eiselt, 1940
Eumeces algeriensis— Caputo et al., 1993
Novoeumeces algeriensis— Griffith et al., 2000
Eumeces algeriensis— Schmitz et al., 2004
Geographic range :
It is found in Algeria and Morocco (including the Spanish exclave Melilla).
Its natural habitats are temperate forests, Mediterranean-type shrubby vegetation, temperate grassland, sandy shores, arable land, pastureland, plantations, and rural gardens.
Eumeces algeriensis is oviparous.
For the external links , refrences click here to read the full wikipedia article
Other Websites :
Care of equivalent species :
Schneider's skink (Eumeces schneideri)
courtesy : www.helsinki.fi/~tuomola/schneider.html
The Schneider's skink (Eumeces schneideri) belongs to the class Reptilia, order Squamata, suborder Sauria, and family Scincidae. There it belongs to genus Eumeces . Genus Eumeces consists of three species. Eumeces schneideri, the Schneider's skink, Eumeces algeriensis, the Berber skink or Algerian skink and Eumeces blythianus. The following care instructions for Schneider's skink can be applied for Berber skink also.
The Schneider's skink has adapted to live and dig in the savannahs of North Africa and the Middle East, where it's hot and dry. Its body is long and tubular and it has smooth, shiny scales. The head is pointed and the neck is barely visible -the typical scincid look. Their ear openings are covered with three comb-like scales, which prevent sand from entering the ear while burrowing. Schneiders blend well with their sandy environments. Their dorsal surface and flanks are brownish grey with yellow or orange spots. The ventral surface is lighter and without pattern. There is usually a yellow or orange line running across the sides from ear hole to base of the tail.
Schneider's skinks grow to about 25-40 centimetres long (10-16 inches). They may live up to twenty years in captivity.
Picture of Schneider's skink (Eumeces schneideri) trio and on the right picture of Berber skink (Eumeces algeriensis). The names of these two species get mixed up often.
NOTE: Most Schneider's in the pet trade are wild caught. But if you're lucky enough to get a captive bred one, it is highly recommended. Captive bred lizard is most likely to be healthy and stress free. Wild caught ones harbor numerous parasites, are likely have bumps on them and are probably stressed from long transportation periods in not too great conditions. Not to mention the animal and nature conservation aspects buying wild caught animals posses. I do not recomend buying a wild caught animal for a pet. I recomened buying one as a breeding project. Because breeding these skinks in a large scale is the only thing that can stop the importation of the wild animals. Catching wild animals might have serious affects on wild populations not to mention the horrible conditions they are transported in to Europe and US. During the transportation from Eqypt there must die a lot more animals that survive into a someones home. If you merely want a pet, a blue-tongued skink might be a lot better choise for you. They are captive bred in a large scale, easier to handle, usually healthier and easier to feed.
The Schneider's skink is a terrestrial and partly fossoral species, so the terrarium should be constructed with these things in mind. The terrarium should be wide, and the substrate should allow digging. Because Schneiders are native to deserts and savannahs, the terrarium should provide a similar environment that is hot and dry.
Although Schneider's do like to climb a little, the terrarium need not be tall. The recommended height is between 40-60 centimetres (16-24 inches). A terrarium that is taller than 60 cm (24 inches) has more disadvantages than advantages. If the skinks are able to climb too high, they may hurt themselves if they fall down. It's not particularly rare to see Schneider falling and rumbling down while climbing. Also, the effect of the UV-light is reduced the higher its source is located. Really shallow enclosures easily heat up too much because of the lights. Also, adjusting the lights becomes difficult, because it must be remembered that the skink should not be able to come into contact with them. Schneiders can jump pretty high when they want to, and they can be quite persistent when trying to escape. This is why there should be a locking lid (especially if the enclosure is shallow).
Schneiders need at least 80x50x50 cm (32x20x20 inches) or 200 litres (50 gallons) terrarium. Walls say, in his skink book, that Schneiders can be housed in a 80 litre (20 gallon) terrarium, but this is (in my opinion) way too small for an adult Schneider's skink. The bigger terrarium you provide for your Schneider, the more you will enjoy of your lizard. In a really small enclosure, a Schneider probably will not do too much other than trying to climb up the walls and corners of its enclosure. In a bigger enclosure you can provide many interesting climbing opportunities, which these curious lizards will most likely take advantage of, giving you hours of enjoyment. Remember that the minimum size I recommended above is in fact a MINIMUM size. If at all possible try to provide more space. My trio (1.2) has 120*60*60 cm (4*2*2 feet) large enclosure, pair has 100*75*60 cm (40*30*24 inches) of room and lone female lives in a 60*75*60 cm (24*30*24 inches) tank. I'd like to provide them with even more of space, as they would definitely use it.
You can buy aquarium or terrarium from a pet shop or have custom made or self-made terrarium. I use melamine board with sliding glass doors in the front. Whatever material you choose to use, it is very important, that it is non-poisonous and easy to keep clean. Do not use unfinished wood or any other porous material. Remember to incorporate good ventilation: at least half of the top should be covered, for example, with steel mesh. In big terrariums, there should be ventilation grids on sides.
Terrarium should be placed in a peaceful place in your apartment. The room should be light, but do not place the terrarium in a direct sunlight; it may heat the terrarium too hot. Avoid placing terrarium in front of a window, this may be, in addition to sunny, too draughty place and your skink may catch cold.
The BEST substrate is common sand that is available and affordable in most hardware stores. The best grain size is, in my opinion, 0,1-1,0 mm. The coarser sand is more dangerous when digested. About a 10 cm (4 in) layer of sand is good, allowing the lizards to dig properly. Although sand is not the most hygienic substrate, it's fairly easy to keep clean if you remove feces, remaining food and pieces of old skin as soon as you notice them. This is easily done with an old kitchen sieve. Change the sand every six months.
There are a lot of talk about dangers of sand when digested. Sand has known to cause numerous impaction on some species such as leopard gekkos but I have never heard of a Schneder's with sand impaction. I have always kept my Schneider's on sand and even raised hatchlings on it. For me, sand has worked great.
Calci-Sand from the pet shop is advertised to be safe substrate, even when digested, but there is no scientific research to back this up. Also, this material is needlessly expensive, since a Schneider enclosure can easily take up to 40 kilos (90 lb) of sand.
If you want, you can put wood shavings (aspen, cypress) on the cold end of the terrarium. However that is by no means necessary. Avoid materials that smell strongly, contain sticks or a lot of dust.
I have a piece of plywood to keep the sand on the warm end. In the cool end I use newspaper as a substrate. The water bowl is placed here, along with a little cup with extra calcium. With this set-up these containers are not filled with sand all the time. My Schneiders also defecate on this side, so that it is very easy to keep clean.
Place a lot of hides, and sturdy climbing opportunities in the enclosure. For example bark, rootstocks and plastic caves from the pet shop. Branches and rocks from outside or broken flowerpots and plastic boxes are also very good decoration materials.
You don't need to put any living plants in the enclosure. Schneiders will most likely destroy them by jumping on them. If you insist on using plants, try sturdy cacti or succulents. Plastic and silk plants are a good option, they look good and your lizard will probably enjoy hiding under them and climbing over them.
You can also add rocks in the enclosure. Make sure your lizard cannot tunnel underneath or move them. In the worst case your lizard may get crushed, so place all the rock on the bottom of the cage, so that they don't move around (even without sand supporting them). Don't rely on sand! Schneiders can move piles of sand around the cage before you even notice. With silicone sealant and flat rocks you can easily create a rock formation for your lizards. One they can bask on top of and sleep underneath.
You may also add pieces of bark and logs in the enclosure. I have used apple tree with good success. It is easy to keep clean and doesn't smell. I have tied string made out of hemp on the log, to assist climbing. To make your climbing structure steady, drill logs in a piece of plywood, which you may place in the bottom of the terrarium under the sand. Bamboo sticks are also excellent material to use in the terrarium. I have made a bamboo mat, tied together with string.
It is very important to add caves and hides in the enclosure. You can use plastic caves from pet shop, all kinds of plastic boxes, broken flowerpots and coconut shell. You may also do it your self out of clay.
Schneider's skinks also need a water bowl, with fresh water in it at all times. Place the bowl in the cool end of the terrarium. If you place the bowl in the warm end, the water will evaporate and raise the humidity. Schneiders do not bathe in their water bowl and they don't like humid air, so use shallow and small water bowl. The dish used in the bottom of a flowerpot makes a perfect water dish. Use a glazed one, so it can be cleaned properly.
Lighting and heating:
Like all reptiles, Schneiders skinks are unable to regulate their body heat. They need outside sources of heat, so that they can function properly. You must provide your animal with thermo gradient (a cool end to stay out of the heat and a basking spot in the warm end to heat up the body). Basking spot temperature should be between 40-55 (104-130 F) degrees Celsius. You can create it with a spot lamp.
Heat mats from pet shop can be used also to raise the overall temperature and to create additional basking spots. Place the mat under the tank in the warm end. Do not replace spot lamp with heat mat. You can create additional basking spot with heat mat, for example, place cave or hide on top of a mat, so that it is nice and warm inside the hide. A shy lizard may really appreciate this kind of an opportunity, but remember that the Schneider is desert lizard and is adapted to bask under intense light. This is why spot lamps provide the most naturalistic basking place other than the sun.
DO NOT use hot rocks. Heat rocks are known to cause thermal burns.
Check temperatures in basking spots periodically to make sure they stay optimal. Digital thermometer with probe is excellent for that.
Cool end should stay around 24-27C (75-80 F). Place heating devices only in one end of the terrarium to provide thermo gradient. Shut all lights and heating equipment off at night (provided your house stays warm enough at nights), so that the temperature can fall around 20C (68F).
It is not known whether Schneider's skinks need UV-light or not. I use one and I also recommend it, because it is known that with UVB skin can produce D3-vitamin, which is nessecary for well-developed and healthy bones. It is also known that UVA-light has some psychological effect on lizards. It might also be possible that UV-light has some positive effect on their breeding. Remember that UVB rays do not go through glass. It would be best to place only wire mesh, if something has to be used, between UV-source and lizard. Replace the UV-light every year.
It is very important to provide your lizard with day-cycle by turning off all the lights at night. At winter day length should be 6-8 hours/day and at summer 12-14 hours/day.
Schneiders are basically insectivores/carnivores, but they also eat fruits and vegetables. Crickets are a good main part of their diet. At summer you can replace them with insects you can find outside, for example grasshoppers, butterflies, big flies and so on. Big spiders, snails and earthworms are also taken. Do not offer stinging or hairy insects to your skink. Avoid collecting insects by the roads or from the town or other polluted areas.
You can also offer mealworms, superworms, wax worms, fish, pinkie mice, lean meat, cat- or dog food, minced turkey, boiled eggs, tofu, mushrooms (fresh, not canned), fruits and vegetables. Remember to gut-load the mealworms before feeding them to your skink. You can also mix the vegetables with meat, like cat food. My lizards have enjoyed for example banana, kiwi, fresh pineapple, apricot, apple, mango, melon, grapes, carrot, summer squash and strawberry. Feed the lizards every other day at summers and less frequently at winters.
Snails are very relished by Schneider's skinks. You can collect small snails from areas free of pesticles and pollutants. Snails are easy to freeze and use when needed. You can and should give the snails with their shell on. Your skinks have powerful jaw muscles and easily break the shell. The parts they accidentally ingest provide them with important calcium. My skinks eat snails pretty frequently.
Vitamin and mineral supplementation
You should add vitamins and minerals to your skink's diet to keep it healthy. I have used Nutrobal and Nekton Rep, but other product made for insectivorous lizards are fine too. Follow the instructions and don't over supplement. Especially A and D vitamins are toxic when consumed too much. Cricket and mealworms have bad calcium - phosphorous ratio. They have little calcium and that's why they should be coated with calcium before offered to your skink. Note: Because the Schneider's diet already consists of extremely high amounts of phosphorous, it is important to always use a phosphorous free calcium supplement so as to not disrupt the proper calcium/phosphorous ratio needed for proper calcium absorption.
Water and Humidity
Schneider's skinks are from hot and dry deserts. The terrarium should provide a similar environment. Don't let the humidity raise over 50%. If your terrarium is too humid, use a smaller water bowl (in the cool end!) and provide your lizards with better ventilation. You don't need to think much about raising the humidity, but you can spray the terrarium lightly once in a while. Don't spray your lizards thought, they usually hate it.
When a Schneider is going to shed, raising the moisture is good for it. When you know that your lizard is about to shed, spray the tank frequently (lightly), especially if your lizard has difficulties getting all the old skin off.
Some Schneiders use wetbox. Mine won't go there unless it is dried out but my Berber skinks use theirs frequently.
Schneiders usually drink only before shedding and on very hot days, but you still have to provide your skink with clean water at all times.
Male Schneiders are very territorial. Never put two males into the same terrarium, or one day you could find seriously injured or even dead skinks! With one male you can accommodate as many females as there is room for in the enclosure - at least theoretically. The females can fight with each other's and with the male too. My advice is to place one pair per terrarium. Finding compatible pair is usually hard enough and finding compatible trio is usually pushing your luck, although it is possible. My friend had one male and two females in the same nicely sized terrarium. Surprisingly the other female bit away others front leg and tail tip. So these kinds of things are known to happen even after the skinks have been getting along great for some time. I also advice you to get the biggest terrarium you can when housing multiple skinks together. Space is important. My 4*2*2 feet terrarium proved to be too small for one of my pairs. For a pair 4*2*2 feet isn't even big, it is adequate.
Determining your skinks sex is very difficult. Males are usually bigger, but there are naturally very big females and small males. Some people say that dark ones are female and some say they are male. There might be both (note that Schneider's change their color from almost black to light grey very fast when getting warmer), but males are usually brighter in color and their orange/yellow line, running in their side from lip to tail is usually more obvious whereas it might be really faint or absent in females. Again, this is not sure way to tell the sex. The best way to sex your skink is to look at its body. Males have big jaws and broad head and their tail base is thicker than females. Females' bodies are more round as males are more angularly shaped. Only sure way to tell your skink's sex, is when they breed.
Because it is so hard to tell which sex your skink is, don't count on that two lizards get along. If you're thinking about buying two skinks, then you should be ready to house them separately if they don't get along. If skinks have gotten along fine before, it doesn't mean, that they will do so in the future. During breeding time or sudden stress from moving, they can get into serious fights. If you notice severe signs of aggression, separate your lizards. Don't confuse this with mating, where the male usually bites the female on the neck. Although I have seen females bite males from neck. Keep only same sized lizards together, and make sure they both get their share of food and basking sites.
Schneider's behaviour changes a bit before shedding. It is an exhausting process for your skink, and it takes a lot of energy. That is why a week or so before shedding you can notice that your skink gets more passive and it's metabolism slows down. Because of this, you skink might not be as greedy as usually and it might not defecate as frequently as usual. Most of my Schneiders skip defecation almost for a week before shedding and on the day they'll shed, they produce a huge amount of feces. Your skink might also hide and rest a lot more than usual. This is more obvious in other specimens as others act like nothing is happening prior to shedding.
Schneiders sneeze once in a while. Usually while digging and it's perfectly normal. If your Schneider sneezes too frequently, make sure your substrate isn't too dusty and that you have right temps and humidity in its terrarium.
You and your lizard
Acquiring a Schneiders' skink
Most Schneider's in the pet trade are wild caught. But if you're lucky enough to get a captive bred one, it is highly recommended. Captive bred lizard is most likely to be healthy and stress free. Wild caught ones harbor numerous parasites, are likely have bumps on them and are probably stressed from long transportation periods in not too great conditions. Not to mention the animal and nature conservation factors buying wild caught animals posses. I do not recommend buying a wild caught animal for a pet. I recommened buying one as a breeding project. Because breeding these skinks in a large scale is the only thing that can stop the importation of the wild animals. Catching wild animals for pet trade might have serious effects on wild populations not to mention the horrible conditions they are transported in to Europe and US. During the transportation from Egypt there must die a lot more animals that survive to a someone's home. If you acquire a wild caught Schneider, make sure it is healthy and the shop that sells it knows what they are doing. NEVER acquire a sick lizard from bad conditions! As this might sound tempting to do so and save the poor one from certain death, you are actually only giving the shopkeeper an excuse to acquire new animals to sell. If all of his lizards are being sold, he's making profit and has probably no interest whatsoever to put more money on his animal's welfare. If animals from shops like this are not being sold, owners will either need to improve the conditions, or they might run out of business!
Before you buy the lizard you need to have a properly set up terrarium with the right temperatures. Also, make sure it's escape proof! When you skink arrives let it get used to its new surroundings first and don't stress it by handling it or by offering food. Let your skink acclimate to its new terrarium for at least two weeks before you handle it. Stressed lizards may not want to eat. My sick male from the pet shop fasted for a week before he ate cat food and my captive bred female ate on the very next day with great appetite. This is exactly why it's better to buy captive bred. If your skink doesn't want to eat, be patient. Try different foods at different times of day. Also, try something smelly like cat food or fish. It is very important that you don't stress your skink any more and let it be alone in peace.
Observe the skink in a pet shop. Make sure it is interested in its surroundings (Schneiders can be pretty sleepy sometimes though), but when you take it into your hand it should be active, trying to move and flicking its tongue with its eyes open wide. Take a look at your skinks physical appearance. It should be a little on a fat side with healthy looking bones and no bumps and lumps. Nails, toes and fingers, which have broken off, don't bother your skink and are pretty usual even among the captive bred Schneiders. Also, it is usual that your skink has blunt tail tip and couple curls in its tail. This is probably because the skink has broken its tail off in the past in what may have been a life and death struggle, and it's noting but an esthetical problem. In fact, It may have very well have saved his life. Curls in the spine are quite obvious sign of the MBD. Avoid this kind of skink. Ask if you can see the skink eat. You don't want to buy lizard that isn't eating.
Schneiders aren't the kind of pets to stroke and pet. Actually you shouldn't even handle your skink much. Never handle it when it doesn't want to be handled. Never buy a Schneider's skink for a pet you want to handle, buy it because it is an interesting animal to observe. Never lift your skink from the tail, because it can break off.
If you wish to handle your skink, start by placing your hand in front of it. With luck it will come to your hand to investigate. My male Schneiders are so very inquisitive that they are almost always waiting for the opportunity to jump on my hand. This might seem as though they like attention and contact with me, but I believe they only want to see where to get by the hand. Even though some skinks like to jump on my hand, they don't appreciate it a bit when I restrain them in my hand, for example, when I'm removing old skin. This is very stressful for them and they will usually empty their cloaca (a defensive tactic -very effective one too!) on my hand and freeze. This is why you should handle your skink ONLY when it wants to and how it wants it. Let it move freely on your hand and keep your hand preferably inside the terrarium, so that the skink won't hurt itself when it decides to jump. Also, keep in mind that although Schneiders like climbing they are by no means great at it, so never allow your skink to climb on your clothes or in your hair.
If your lizard is reluctant to climb on your hand, try offering its favorite snack from your palm, for example a mealworm. I don't find Schneiders' nips to be painful when they miss the worm and try to get a piece from your hand.
Actually, on my opinion Schneder's are usually pain to handle. They are quick, inquisitive and ready to jump down no matter how high they are. They are very difficult to try to keep still as they want to be in 100 places at one time. Handling them means moving your hands quickly enough to prevent your skink from a) getting into your hair b) jumping down c) lunging for unknown direction. Even though there are Schneider's that can be handled easily the changes are small and the peaceful pet store lizard usually turns into jumping machine ones it has acclimated to its new home. They are quite entertaining to observe though.
Don't tease your skink by waking it after it has dug into sand to sleep. It is stressful for your skink. My skinks almost always go to sleep before four a clock. It's very rare to see them roaming in their cages after this, and when they do it's usually just to find a new spot. Mine are most active between 10-12 am.
It would be advisable to keep track of your skinks behavior. This way you can notice any abnormal behaviors and find many interesting behavioral patterns and routines in its life.
You should write down how much and what has the skink has eaten or if it has refused food. Sheds and how complete they were (incomplete sheds can be an indicator of problems and you might want to adjust the environment accordingly) are also worth taking notes on. Any abnormal feces, activity level, drinking, and anything else that you may consider noteworthy should be written down also.
Most reptiles carry salmonella bacteria as a part of their normal gut flora as asymptomatic carriers. This simply means that they carry the bacteria in their intestinal tracts, but are not otherwise affected by the bacteria, and show no symptoms. Salmonella bacteria live in the intestine, so transmission is possible through reptile feces. This is why good hygiene is the most important thing if salmonella is to be avoided. In humans salmonella causes stomachache, fever, diarrhea, and headache. Typical reptile origin salmonella infection is rarely fatal.
Salmonella cannot be removed from the skink. It is advisable to treat all reptiles as potential salmonella carriers. To minimize the risk of salmonella infection, wash your hands after handling lizard or its accessories (preferably not in kitchen).
Remember to keep your skink warm (24-30 degrees Celsius/75-86 degrees Fahrenheit) while transportation. A good way to do this in cold weather is to provide your skink with bottle filled with hot water and placed outside its transportation box, this can be wrapped in towels and placed in the box. Never leave your lizard in the car alone, particularly on sunny or warm days (it may get cooked!)
Schneiders mate during April-May. About 4-6 weeks from copulation female lays, usually around 1-5 soft-shelled, oval eggs. The eggs are incubated at 28-30 Degrees Celsius (82,4-86 F) for 7-10 weeks. Hatchlings measure about 12 centimetres and shed their skin for the first time after 4 days. After that they will begin feeding. (Milla Honkarinta, 1999)
My Schneider's mated for the first time on 13.4.2002. I had to separate them soon after this, since the female kept attacking the male and was very aggressive. During gestation period female was very lazy most of the time. She laid in her hide box in the warm end, breathed very heavily and ate very little. On 21st of May she laid one egg measuring 3*1,5 centimeters. The egg was laid on open on sand next to the water dish even though they were multiple egg-laying boxes in the enclosure. Unfortunately this very pinkish egg started turning yellow very soon. In a week it was already stinking. The egg was probably infertile.
At 31.3.2003 I noticed for the first time this year that two of my skinks were mating. On 3.5.2003 the female had laid 3 white oval eggs in her sleeping cave on dry sand even though I had again provided egg-laying box filled with moist peat. This wild caught female has been in captivity at least 7 years and was adult when purchased. I bought her this winter along with other female from a Finnish woman who had had them for a quite some time. The eggs are incubated in moist vermiculite in about 29 degrees Celsius.
On 19.6 the first egg had hatched. Hatchling shed first time on 26.6 and started eating the day after that. After 50 day incubation period, on 22.6.2003, the two other hatchlings were out. Both started eating day before first shedding, on 25.6. Hatchlings weighted approximately 7 grams and were ca. 14 cm long. SVL was ca. 6 cm.
Second female laid four eggs on 9.6.2003. Three of the went bad almost instantly. The remaining one tiny egg continued developing for 50 days. After that a small schneider's skink baby hatched on 29.7.2003. It weighted only 3,8 grams and was 11 cm long. SVL was 4,7 cm.
The first three juveniles are doing fine and growing.
Schneider's skinks are usually hardy lizards that stay healthy once they have acclimated to captivity and are provided with the right conditions including a proper and varied diet with necessary vitamin and mineral supplements. Good hygiene is necessary, since sand is a good media for bacterium growth, that's why keeping the terrarium clean requires a little more work than the average pet reptile terrarium. Check the enclosure every day and remove all the feces, leftover food remains, and shed skin pieces. If you do a quick clean up every day your terrarium will stay very clean and only need thoroughly cleaning every six months, at which time you can disinfect everything and wash the enclosure thoroughly, along with changing the sand.
Because majority of Schneiders in the pet trade today are wild caught, it would be advisable to take a fecal sample to reptile familiar vet to check if it harbors intestinal parasites. Schneiders can also have bumps (for example due to old wounds) and broken nails and toes. Nails and toes aren't likely to cause trouble, but all bumps should be shown to vet for possible removal.
If you acquire a mate for your skink, do not put them together right away. The new lizard should be quarantined for a couple of months to make sure it is healthy and free or parasites. If you do not quarantine the new animal your established one can get sick because of it. The quarantine terrarium is very handy if you have multiple lizards. This way you can separate them right away if one gets sick or they are fighting.
If at all possible choose captive bred skink over a wild caught one. They are always healthier and better acclimated to captivity. Not to mention the natural conservation aspect!
Diseases and problems
If your skink is ill (or you only slightly suspect that), don't seek the advice here. Contact reptile familiar vet ASAP! My intention is only to familiarize you with the common illnesses that Schneiders might have, so you can look for the right things and to advice you how to do your best to prevent these problems.
The diseases met in lizards are usually because of incorrect conditions or food. It can lead to digestion problems, MBD, skin diseases or respiratory infection. Skink can also suffer from shedding diseases, injuries, or get constipation by swallowing too much substrate. Remember that stress reduces reptiles resistance to disease is reduced due to stress. This is why stressing the sick lizard is to be avoided (no needless handling etc.).
Respiratory infection is usually due to too cold, drafty or moist climate. Do not let the lizard walk on cold or drafty floor. If you transport the lizard, especially at winter, keep it warm. Symptoms are cold, mucous fluid from nose, raspy breathing and/or sneezing. When the lizard is really sick it starts breathing with its mouth open. Affected animals usually experience loss of appetite and fatigue. If your lizard has RI, correct the conditions and keep it warm during night too. Antibiotic treatment may be necessary with very sick lizards.
Skin diseases may develop due to dirty and moist substrate. You can notice darker 'molded' spots on your skink's skin. Disinfect the spots with Betadine solution twice a day and change the substrate to newspaper or towels. If skin is really badly infected antibiotics may help.
Skinks may develop bumps because of old wounds and infections. My male skink had a bump on left his front leg. It was removed with surgery, which is usually a quite simple procedure. Antibiotics were given after surgery. All bumps should be treated, or they may grow, spread, or even cause an infection.
Intestinal worms should always be checked from fecal sample. When your lizard defecates, collect the feces into a little plastic bag and put it in the refrigerator inside another clean plastic bag. Remember the salmonella-potential. The sample should stay good couple days in the refrigerator, before you deliver it to the vet. Do not freeze the sample; it kills possible worms and their eggs. Label the bag with the lizard's name and species and with your name, address, and phone number. If worms are found in the sample the vet will give you advice on how to de-worm your lizard. Nematodes are maybe the most common intestinal parasites met in Schneider's skinks. These are treated with fenbendazole 100mg/kg orally. The medicine is given again after two weeks. Fenbendazole kills only worms and not their eggs. Eggs are excreted in feces and you skink can be reinfected if it has been in contact with old feces. If you wish to successfully worm your lizard, very good hygiene is important. Disinfect the terrarium, and change the substrate into newspaper or paper towels. These are changed every day and the terrarium is disinfected as regularly as possible. After the treatment has been administered take another fecal sample to the vet to make sure the treatment was successful.
MBD (metabolic bone disease) is due to lack of UV-light or too little calcium or D3 vitamin in the diet. Calcium deficiency causes fragile bones and without D3-vitamin calcium won't absorb into blood from intestines. Blood calcium level is accurately regulated by the system, because it has vital meaning in the correct operation of the nervous system. Symptoms are shaking muscles and limbs, even the hole lizard, weakening of bones and cramps and paralysis in the end. If MBD is diagnosed UV-light should be acquired and D3-vitamin and calcium should be added into the diet. If the symptoms are really bad, the vet can give calcium straight into the blood. Remember that D3-vitamin is poisonous when over supplemented. In this scenario calcium absorbs into blood too much, and when body tries to keep the levels of calcium low enough it starts to absorb into soft tissues and organs. This is very harmful for the proper operation of these organs. However over supplementing D3-vitamin is far more rare disease than under supplementing it.
Shedding problems are quite common problem with Schneider's skinks. This means, that pieces of old skin remain, for example in toes and tail. These areas should be carefully checked to ensure that the lizard has gotten all the old skin away. The old skin could prevent blood circulation in toes and tail and cause the toes and tail tip to turn black and eventually fall off. During and before shedding you can spray terrarium lightly, especially if your skink has problems getting all the old skin away. If this doesn't help, after few days, place the skink in a plastic box filled with moist paper towels. After an hour moistened old skin can be carefully rubbed and peeled off. So-called wetbox (box filled with moist substrate) can be provided, but my skinks never used when they had the opportunity. Shedding problems with Schneiders are usually due to stress, vitamin deficiency and too cold temperatures. My Schneiders shed perfectly even if the relative humidity is 30%. This leads me to believe that humidity isn't that important factor to these desert lizards, although it might help a little. Raising the humidity for long periods isn't a solution to Schneider's shedding problems, during shedding or slightly before and after it you can spray tank lightly. Do not soak the cage and always leave dry areas.
Schneiders can injure themselves. They can fight with cage mates or get wounds or break their tail off. Big wounds should be shown to vet as well as if you suspect that the lizard might have gotten internal damage. Little wounds and broken tails can be treated at home. Firstly, change the substrate to newspaper and paper towels. I prefer to use very thick layer, since they like to bury underneath. Clean the wound regularly with Betadine (or similar product). If sings of infection are seen, take the skink to the vet, for possible antibiotic treatment. If you own a skink, buy a bottle of disinfectant just in case. Broken tail grows back, but it won't be as long and same colored as it used to be.
Remember that your lizard must not get in touch with the lights. Lizards get burns easily.
Schneiders can get constipation by swallowing too much substrate or being unable to digest its food due to lack off adequately heated hot spot. This means that your Schneider is unable to defecate because something blocks it's intestinal track. The lower belly can become swollen. Give parafine oil to the lizard and bathe it in lukewarm water.
NATURE in HD - Natura w HD - z bliska - Eumeces schneideri algeriensis
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