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HomeRed-Eyed Crocodile Skink (Tribolonotus gracilis) Care Sheet

Red-Eyed Crocodile Skink (Tribolonotus gracilis) Care Sheet

By Will Gyurgyik

The red eye crocodile skink is distinctive from other skinks for a number of reasons, one of them being its striking features!


Tribolonotus gracilis is commonly known as the red-eyed crocodile skink, an apt name for the conspicuous color outlining their eyes and their amazing scalation that looks crocodilian in nature, giving them a very unique, even dragon-like appearance.


Red-eyed crocodile skinks range from dark brown to dark gray in color.  Their two most striking features: a conspicuous orange to red-orange outline around their eyes, and enlarged crocodile-like heavily keeled scales which run down their back.


A juvenile or two can easily be kept in a 12x12x12 enclosure, though an adult or adult pair should be provided at least an 18x18x12 enclosure. Juveniles can coexist with their parents, and adults should only be housed alone or as a single pair. A bioactive substrate consisting of BioBedding, springtails, isopods, and leaf litter is strongly recommended for this species. Provide plenty of hiding spots for this sectrive species; a mix of leaf litter and cork bark flats (or similar items) work very well for this species. Live plants are recommended to provide additional hiding spots as well as maintain humidity within the enclosure.


Crocodile skinks enjoy cooler temperatures and should be kept at ambient temperatures between 72-76 F. A basking spot of around 85 F should be provided, but should not exceed 86 F. Despite being crepuscular (active at dawn and dusk), we recommend providing UVB light for this species. Temperature should be monitored with a digital thermometer, and the basking spot can be checked with an infrared thermometer or temperature gun. Night temperatures can safely drop down to 68 F. 


Crocodile skinks require high humidity and should be kept between 70-90%. A mixture of plants, moist substrate, and the maintenance of humid microclimate underneath hiding spots (such as cork bark) will work together to keep humidity at appropriate levels. Ambient humidity should be monitored with a digital hygrometer. Mist crocodile skinks everyday to every other day to maintain high humidity and keep the substrate from becoming too dry. A large water dish (large enough for the crocodile skink to completely submerge in) should always be provided for this species!


Red-eyed crocodile hatchlings are roughly 1.5-2 inches long, with adults reaching up to 6-8 inches from head to tail.


Crocodile skinks are insectivores. Hatchlings and juveniles can be fed a staple diet of ¼-inch crickets and dubia roaches. Mealworms and waxworms can occasionally be provided as treats. Adults can be fed appropriately sized crickets and dubia roaches, and may occasionally be offered small hornworms, waxworms, and butterworms. All feeder insects should be gut loaded and dusted with vitamin/mineral supplements. Feeder insects may be provided in a food dish.


Red-eyed crocodile skinks can be sexed fairly easily as adults: males will exhibit enlarged scales at the base of the two longest toes on their hind feet.


During the breeding season, female red-eyed crocodile skinks will lay a single egg at a time, up to 6 eggs. Cycling is not necessary for reproduction, but increasing misting/humidity to replicate their natural wet season may help incite breeding.


Reptiles Magazine article on the husbandry of these lizards -