Peter’s Banded Skinks are small lizards with origins in the grasslands of Northern Africa. They are relatively uncommon pets that have rarely been bred in captivity, which means there is a lot that is still unknown about these lizards. What we do know is that Peter’s Banded Skinks tend to be docile animals that usually tolerate being handled by their owners, making them a great option for beginners. Keep reading our guide to find out more about these reptiles.
Quick Facts About Peter’s Banded Skink
|Peter’s Banded Skink
|Low to moderate
|Omnivores—diet primarily consists of roaches, crickets, worms, other insects
|Minimum Tank Size:
|Temperature & Humidity
|85° F during the day, 75º-80° F at night; basking temperatures between 95º-100° F
Do Peter’s Banded Skinks Make Good Pets?
Peter’s Banded Skinks can make wonderful pets in the right home. These reptiles are relatively small and easy to keep in a medium-sized enclosure of about 20 gallons, making them versatile for many different types of households. They are also fairly friendly animals that tolerate a good amount of handling and will even sometimes beg their owners for treats. Overall, as long as you are willing to ensure that your skink has the living conditions it needs to have a good life, it can be a great choice for a pet.
These are small reptiles that grow to be less than a foot long at full maturity. They are a light-yellow color and have black bands running down their bodies. Males tend to have a larger head and be bulkier than females overall, but other differences between males and females have not been noted.
How to Take Care of Peter’s Banded Skink
Habitat, Tank Conditions & Setup
As discussed, the tank you select for your Peter’s Banded Skink needs to be at least 20 gallons large, or 18” x 18” x 12” in dimension. They aren’t really climbers and spend most of their time on the ground in the wild, so you should take care to ensure that your skink has plenty of floor space; height is less important. If you have two skinks, your tank should be about twice as long.
You should plan on spot cleaning your skink’s enclosure about once per week. When you spot clean, you should clean up any excrement and remove any uneaten food from the enclosure. You can also use “clean-up crews” such as weevils or whiteworms to aid in maintaining a clean enclosure. These bioactive clean-up crews live in the substrate of your skink’s enclosure and eat any feces or uneaten food. In addition to spot cleaning, you should change the substrate out entirely and deep clean the enclosure about every 2-3 months.
Peter’s Banded Skinks are nocturnal creatures, so it may not be necessary to include UVB lighting in their enclosure, but it could be beneficial. UVB, or ultraviolet B, lighting is part of the sun’s UV spectrum. Like humans, reptiles are capable of creating their own vitamin D when they are exposed to adequate sunlight. Adding UVB lighting can contribute to helping your skink form healthy bones, particularly if your enclosure is indoors.
Heating (Temperature & Humidity)
During the day, the cooler side of your Peter’s Banded Skink’s enclosure should be about 85° F, while the basking area should be at least 95º-100° F. At night, the temperature of the enclosure should be maintained at around 75º-80° F.
In terms of substrate, you can use a mixture of soil and sand to imitate the ground that these skinks like to burrow into in the wild. Make sure the substrate is at least 4-6 inches deep; while skinks don’t tend to hide inside logs or other structures, they do like to hide in the earth.
|20-gallon glass vivarium
|UVB lighting optional
|5.0 fluorescent UVB bulb on a 12-to-14-hour cycle
|Mix of soil and sand
Feeding Your Peter’s Banded Skink
Although Peter’s Banded Skinks are omnivores, they do not typically eat fruits and vegetables. The bulk of your skink’s diet will be comprised of proteins such as roaches, worms, crickets, or even chicken, fish, and eggs. Before offering food to your skink, you should dust it lightly with multivitamin and calcium supplements. The calcium supplement is especially important if your skink’s enclosure does not have a UVB light.
Peter’s Banded Skinks do not need to be fed every day, but you should make sure to give them food at least every 2-3 days. In addition to feedings, you should also make sure that your skink always has access to fresh water in his enclosure. Make sure the water bowl isn’t too big, as skinks are small reptiles and they are not adept swimmers. Not only will the water bowl keep your skink hydrated, but it will also help maintain humidity in the enclosure.
|10% of diet
|70% of diet
|20% of diet – chicken, eggs, tuna fish
|Calcium and multivitamins
Keeping Your Peter’s Banded Skink Healthy
In addition to feeding your skink a well-rounded diet complete with multivitamins and calcium supplements, you should be aware of certain health issues that your Peter’s Banded Skink may develop.
Common Health Issues
Peter’s Banded Skinks have not yet been bred in captivity, so any skink you purchase will have been wild-caught. Because of this, they are likely to carry parasites that they caught in the wild. Some of the most common parasites seen in these reptiles are hookworms, coccidia, and flagellates. In order to check for parasites, you can have your skink’s feces screened for parasites. Once they are identified, any parasites can usually be treated with medication, given by injection or orally, that is prescribed by a veterinarian.
It is unknown exactly how long Peter’s Banded Skinks typically live in the wild, but in captivity they can live to be up to 15-20 years old. As such, you should be aware that a Peter’s Banded Skink is a long-term investment before you decide to purchase one.
If you are interested in breeding your Peter’s Banded Skinks, you would be a pioneer in this area; very few of these reptiles have been successfully bred in captivity, which is why they are typically wild-caught. More information is needed to understand what factors contribute to the successful breeding of these creatures.
Are Peter’s Banded Skinks Friendly? Our Handling Advice
Overall, Peter’s Banded Skinks are friendly animals. However, it may take them some time to get comfortable with being handled by their owners and they can be aloof at first. You should start slowly when handling your new skink, holding him for short periods of time and gradually working your way up to holding him for longer periods of time.
The good news is, they are docile creatures that are unlikely to bite unless you hurt them. When your Peter’s Banded Skink does get comfortable enough to be handled by you, make sure to support them entirely so that they feel comfortable.
Shedding: What to Expect
Like all reptiles, Peter’s Banded Skinks shed their skin every so often. However, you may not even notice your skink shedding because they only do so about once a year. When you clean your skink’s enclosure, you may notice their dead skin in the substrate.
How Much Do Peter’s Banded Skinks Cost?
If you are planning on buying a Peter’s Banded Skink, you can expect to pay around $70-$100 for one skink. You can sometimes find these animals at your local pet store, but your best bet is to look for one online.
Care Guide Summary
Overall, Peter’s Banded Skinks can be great pets, especially if you are new to owning exotic animals or reptiles. They tend to be docile animals that don’t mind being held as long as you take it slow and give your skink the chance to get comfortable with you. Be sure to provide your skink with a well-regulated enclosure where they can bask in warm temperatures by day and relax in cooler temperatures by night. If you buy one of these animals, you are likely to be rewarded with a friendly reptile whose company you will be able to enjoy for years to come.
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Featured Image Credit: PetlinDmitry, Shutterstock