Red Sided Skink – Trachylepis homalocephala: Ultimate Guide

Red Sided Skink, otherwise known as Trachylepis homalocephala, is a type of lizard that is native to woodland areas of Madagascar and other parts of Southern Africa. They are a popular pet choice for reptile keepers due to their bright colors, easy care requirements and sturdy characteristics. 


These lizards get their name from their bright red coloring, which is most noticeable and prominent on their sides and belly. Males tend to be more brightly colored than females, and their coloring can vary depending on their mood and stress level. Just like the other varieties of lizards, they camouflage when they are stressed or threatened. Red sided skinks darken in color and blend with their environment in order to escape their predators. 

Red sided skinks are relatively small lizards, averaging about 8-10 inches in length from head to tail. They have long tails that they can drop if they feel threatened by larger animals. This will serve as a protective measure to preserve themselves. This ability to “drop” their tail helps them escape predators and grow a new one over time. Note, however, that frequent handling may result in tail dropping. So avoid too much handling as much as possible.  


The Red sided skink is native to the island of Madagascar, which is found on the southeastern coast of Africa. They can be found in woodlands or human habilitation where there is a variety of insects to sustain themselves.  The island’s tropical climate and a diverse landscape provide the perfect habitat for these reptiles to thrive. Red sided skinks are semi-arboreal. Hence, they do not completely spend most of their time on trees. They relatively spend sometimes on the ground or bushes. 

What they eat

In their natural environment, red-sided skinks feed on insects, small mammals, and other lizards. They are also known to eat fruit and vegetables on occasion. 

In captivity, these lizards can be fed a diet of crickets, roaches, mealworms, and other commercially available insect larvae. It is important to dust their food with calcium powder to ensure they are getting enough of this essential nutrient or the same must be gut-loaded. In addition to insects, red-sided skinks should also be given dark leafy greens and vegetables such as kale and collard greens. This will provide them with the vitamins and minerals they need to keep them growing healthy. 

The supplements for this animal must contain calcium as well as vitamins A and D3. These nutrients are essential for the health of your lizard and help prevent problems such as metabolic bone disease, health immunity problems as well as stress. You can find these products readily available in the market.

How Long they Live

The typical lifespan of a Red sided skink is between 5 and 8 years. The key to a long and healthy life for your animal is proper care and handling. This includes providing them with a well-ventilated enclosure, a diet of insects and vegetables, and access to UVB lighting, supplements and a well-conditioned environment. If these things are followed, then you can expect your pet to last for a long period of time.

Type of Enclosure

If you’re planning to grow your skink indoors, you’ll need a terrarium that’s at least 18 inches tall and 24 inches wide. This space is enough to encourage them to move around the enclosure. Make sure to place decorations to keep the enclosure more interactive and suitable for them. 

When it comes to the type of substrate material that you use in your skink’s enclosure, there are a few different options you can choose from. You can furnish the enclosure with wood chips, coco husk chips, cypress mulch, or reptile carpet. All of these substrates are safe for red sided skinks and will help to keep their enclosure clean and dry.

Start setting up the enclosure by adding 3-4 inches of the substrate to the bottom of the enclosure. Then, add a hiding place for your skinks, such as a piece of driftwood or a hollowed-out log to provide security. Make sure the climbing materials are properly fixed or attached to prevent injuries to your lizard. You may also add some live plants to the enclosure to help create a naturalistic habitat that is closely related to their natural habitat.

Lighting is essential for their growth since they are diurnal animals, meaning they are active during the day and sleep at night. This means that they need full-spectrum lighting that mimics the sun’s natural light. During the day, your lizard will be basking in their light source to regulate its body temperature. Hence, UVB lighting must be placed inside their tank.

This type of lizard needs high humidity levels to stay healthy and active. The best way to achieve this is by using a humidifier in their enclosure. You should also mist their enclosure once or twice a day with water. It’s important to make sure the water is warm because cold water can shock your skink and make them sick. You can also enhance the humidity of their tank by placing a water dish.

Their ideal basking temperature for this lizard is between 86 and 95 degrees Fahrenheit for the warm side. The cool side, on the other hand, should be between 75 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit. At night, their enclosure can be allowed to cool down to 70 degrees Fahrenheit. If you live in a cold climate, you may need to use a heat lamp or ceramic heater to maintain these temperatures.


Breeding starts with finding the perfect partner for your pets. The first thing to put in mind in choosing a partner is to find a mate that is from the same geographical area as your lizard, as this will help ensure that they are compatible with each other. Once you have found a mate, you will need to introduce them to each other gradually so that they can get used to each other’s presence.

Once the breeding is successful, the female will start to lay eggs and the same must be carefully transferred to an incubator for their safety. It is important to provide the right environment for these eggs. 

The temperature of the incubator must be within 80-85 degrees Fahrenheit. You will need to check on the eggs regularly to make sure that they are not drying out; if they are, you can lightly mist them with water. After 8-10 weeks, these eggs will hatch and you’ll be having tiny hatchlings! 

Final Thoughts

If you’re looking for a pet that will be around for a long period of time, then Red sided skink is a great option for you! With proper care, these lizards can live for up to 8 years!  They can make a good friend or home buddy.

Red sided skinks also make popular pets due to their interesting colors and docile behavior. They are also hardy and easy to care for. Hence, they can make a good pet even for children at young age!

Recent Posts