Crocodile Skink

Image Credit : Mickael Leger Photographie

Crocodile skinks look like small crocodiles rather than members of the skink species, for which reason people refer to them as red eyed crocodile skink or red-eyed bush crocodile skink. There are rough scales on the body with three rows of spiny projections, which run down their spine to their tail’s base.

Coloration is drab brown, lighter below, with a contrasting orange-red pigmented area of skin around the eye and a yellow ring in the iris. Hatchlings have a pale brown head cap and vertebral stripe.

  • Scientific name : Tribolonotus gracilis
  • Distribution : Papua New Guinea
  • Average Size : 0.09 m (0.3 ft)
  • Life Span : 10 years or more
  • Difficulty : Intermediate


We prefer to keep a pair of crocodile skinks in a 0.7 x 0.3 x 0.15 meters (26 X 12 X 6 inches) sterilite tub, with holes drilled on top for some ventilation or a twenty gallon long terrarium. A single crocodile skink can be kept in a slightly smaller sterilite tub or a ten gallon tank. Baby crocodile skinks, should be kept in a 0.4 x 0.27 x 0.7 meters (15 X 11 X 3 inches) sterilite tub with top or a ten gallon terrarium.
If using a glass terrarium, a plexi-glass or glass top should be used to hold humidity within the enclosure.

Hide box

Crocodile skinks are extremely secretive reptiles. Multiple hides should always be supplied to ensure a stress free environment for your crocodile skink. Recommended hides include halved coconut shells, driftwood, cork bark, and large magnolia leaves.


We prefer to use a natural mix of Coco Core, Cypress Mulch, Sphagnum Moss, Oak Leaves, and Oak Pieces. This makes for a more natural looking enclosure. We also add dwarf white isopods and tropical springtails to keep waste and mold from being an issue.

Lighting – Heating

Crocodile skinks prefer to be kept at temperatures from 21-29 °C (70-85 °F), if these temperatures cannot be provided without supplemental heat, a small ceramic heat emitter or heat tape can be supplied. It’s a good approach to always try to recreate their natural environments so natural lighting cycles should be provided according to the time of the year.


Crocodile skinks require an area in which to soak themselves, especially when shedding. A large, shallow dish should be provided to allow them to soak and swim.


Crocodile skinks come from the humid forests and plantations of Papua New Guinea. Humidity should be kept between 85%-100%. This is achieved through regular misting and a large water dish in the enclosure. As stated under enclosure set up, tops for both sterilite tubs and tanks should have minimal ventilation to keep humidity stable.


Crocodile skinks are insectivores and require a variety of small insects to stay health. We release large crickets and roaches in our adults’ enclosures once a week, we also keep a bowl of super worms in the habitat at all times. For babies we keep small roach nymphs and small phoenix worms in a bowl in their enclosures. Both adults and babies should have their food supplemented with Repti-Calcium with D-3, we also gut load our feeders before feeding them to our crocodile skinks.


We prefer to handle our crocodile skinks as little as possible as they can stress easily. Crocodile skinks should be handled to monitor health.


If you are using springtails and isopods in your enclosures, cleaning will be minimal. However spot cleaning unfinished food is necessary. Water should be changed regularly to provide clean, fresh water for soaking.


It is rare to see a crocodile skink shed. As long as a large water dish is supplied and humidity is appropriate, they should have no problem with shedding.

Potential Health Problems

MBD- Metabolic Bone Disease can be managed but not cured. To avoid MBD proper calcium should be provided. Infection- Infections can be severe to this species, if an infection occurs consult a reptile and exotics vet before treating.



C&T Dragons

The information contained in this care sheet reflect the opinions and methods of the mentioned breeder, based on their expertise and long-established experience.