What Do Skinks Eat?

By Jacob Reis

Skinks comprise the second largest group of lizards on Earth -- geckos being the largest -- and their habitats vary widely. With such variation in environment, a certain amount of variation in diet also occurs. Skinks kept as pets, such as the Australian blue-tongued skink, are normally omnivores, preferring to eat both meat and plant matter to get the nutrients they need.

Meat and Insects

The wild skink's primary source of protein is insects. Providing insects to your skink in captivity helps to mimic what he would find in his natural environment, which, in turn, helps your skink thrive. Some skink owners offer live insects exclusively, whereas others prefer alternative protein sources in the belief that eliminating the hunting instinct will render a skink more docile. Skinks are naturally intelligent creatures with friendly, curious dispositions that make even live-food-only specimens relatively safe to handle. For protein, you can feed your skink:

  • Canned, premium wet dog or cat food
  • Moistened, premium dry dog or cat food
  • Canned insects and canned snails
  • Mealworms and superworms
  • Hard-boiled eggs
  • Boiled chicken
  • Cooked ground turkey or lean beef
  • Pinkie mice, live or thawed from frozen, rarely.

Keep protein sources like these at roughly 40 to 50 percent of your skink's diet. Use only premium dog and cat foods that contain no by-products or bone meal. Sprinkle all protein sources with reptile dietary supplement powder that contains ample calcium and vitamin D3. Do not feed with mice more than once a month. To prevent choking, use pieces of meat that are not wider than your skink's mouth.

Fruits and Veggies

The remainder of the skink's diet should consist of about 40 percent vegetables and 10 percent fruits. For plant matter, feed your skink:

  • Collard greens
  • Turnip greens
  • Mustard greens
  • Squash
  • Peas
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Carrots
  • Dandelion leaves and flowers
  • Hibiscus flowers
  • Mango, raspberries, figs, papaya, cantaloupe, strawberries and blueberries as fruit.

Run veggies and fruits over a cheese grater or through a food processor to shred them before feeding them to your skink. If you choose to gather wild dandelion or hibiscus, be sure to pick only from areas that have not been treated with pesticide.

Feeding Schedule

Young, growing skinks should be fed daily to every other day, whereas full-grown skinks should be fed twice a week. A serving of 1 to 2 tablespoons of food should be offered, and uneaten food should be removed as soon as the skink has finished eating. Overfeeding can cause both fouling of habitats and dietary issues.