Schneider's skinks are less commonly kept as pets than Blue Tongue skinks but are found in reptile loving homes nonetheless.
Schneider's skinks are from desert environments in Northern Africa. They are quick and not the best reptiles for handling but they can still make interesting pets.
Feeding Schneider's Skinks
Schneider's skinks are slightly omnivorous but primarily eat insects. Gut-loaded crickets are the insect of choice for pet skinks but mealworms and other small insects can also be offered. Large skinks may eat pinky mice. Shredded dark, leafy, greens and a small amount of fruit can be offered occasionally as well.
In addition to gut-loading all live food that is fed, a calcium supplement should be dusted on each meal. Reptocal is one popular brand but any phosphorous-free calcium dust can be used.
Schneider's Skink Lighting
Just like almost every other pet lizard, Schneider's skinks need heat and UVB light sources. Despite what pet shot employees may tell you, without them they won't eat or thrive in captivity.
Heat can be delivered through a variety of different kinds of heat bulbs. Whether you choose ceramic heat emitters, or a traditional heat light, make sure your basking area reaches a temperature of 100 degrees Fahrenheit. The cooler side of the tank can drop to the 70's or 80's during the day and all the way down to the 70's at night. Undertank heaters are sometimes used to maintain nighttime temperatures if you don't use a ceramic heat emitter, or red or blue heat light.
UVB lighting comes in the form of fluorescent strip lights or compact fluorescent bulbs. The strip lights are better for larger enclosures since they cover more surface area.
The UVB lights should be kept on for a 12 hour cycle (timers work great) to mimic the cycle of the sun in the desert. The UVB rays are invisible but the lights also give off visible white light. Replace your UVB light every six months, even if the visible white light still works. The invisible UVB rays run out after about six months.
Cages and Bedding for Schneider's Skinks
It is recommended you provide ample space for your skink to burrow and climb, therefore at least a 30 gallon tank should be used. 50 gallon tanks are preferred but a 30 gallon is decent. Rocks, branches, hammocks, and other things to climb on should be placed around the cage along with a shallow water dish.
Sand and mulch (reptile safe) are good options to allow burrowing but you should take care to avoid causing your skink to get obstructed by feeding him in a separate feeding tank. Several inches of bedding will allow your skink to practice natural behaviors and also can hold moisture in small areas to create a microhabitat (a small humid habitat within a larger dry habitat).
Overall Schneider's skinks are hardy and easy to care for in captivity. They don't require a high percentage of humidity, which can be difficult to maintain, and simply need high temperatures and the right food to eat. If you ever suspect anything is wrong with your skink make sure your temperatures are appropriate, your UVB light hasn't expired, and give your exotics vet a call.