Emerald Tree Skink Bioactive Terrarium Setup and Care Guide
Emerald Tree Skink (Lamprolepis smaragdina
Scientific Name: Lamprolepis smaragdina
Adult Size: 8-10 inches (20-25 cm) snout to tail length
Coloration: Bright green with spotted legs
Lifespan: Approximately 8-10 years
Recommended Climate: Tropical, with temperatures ranging from 75-85°F (24-29°C)
Recommended Humidity: 50-60%
Meet the emerald tree skink—a captivating lizard measuring between 8.5 and 10 inches, boasting a sleek, tapered head, long toes, and smooth, rounded scales. Adorned in vibrant green hues, complemented by brown hind legs speckled with white (though some may sport black accents), these creatures are a visual delight. Their eyes, framed by yellow eyelids, add to their enchanting appearance.
Hailing from the lush landscapes of Southeast Asia, particularly the Philippines, and Indonesia, these skinks call humid tropical forests home. Their favorite pastime? Navigating the towering tree trunks that dominate their habitat!
As potential companions, emerald tree skinks can be both entertaining and personable, promising a lifespan of at least 7 years with proper care! They are known to bond with their owners with patience making them great companions for people in the hobby.
Shopping List for Bioactive Enclosure:
- A 24″L x 18″W x 36″H front-opening terrarium or a larger alternative.
- Arcadia Dimmable Clamp Lamp.
- 75w Arcadia Halogen.
- Arcadia Forest D3 6%.
- The Bio Dude Glow and Grow 22” LED.
- Zilla 24/7 Digital Power Center.
- Exo Terra Mister.
- The Bio Dude’s Terra Firma Substrate Kit.
- Clean Up Crew (Isopods & Springtails)
- Climbing branches and/or vines (Ghostwood, Cork, and Manzanita Branches)
- Live Plants and Foliage.
- The Bio Dude Digital Combo Thermometer & Hygrometer (x2).
- The Bio Dude Magnetic gecko feeding ledge and cups.
- Repashy Calcium plus LoD supplement.
- Soft-tipped feeding tongs.
For their terrariums, emerald tree skinks prefer spacious enclosures—24″L x 18″W x 36″H is the minimum, but larger setups are highly recommended, especially in height. Front-opening enclosures, opaque on all sides except the front, provide optimal mental health and accessibility. Ventilation is key to preventing stagnation and mold.
Concerning lighting, emerald tree skinks, being diurnal, thrive with exposure to bright light and UVB during the day. Optimal UVB sources, such as the Arcadia Forest 6%, contribute to their well-being. A combination of UVB and general illumination, provided by a bright T5 HO fluorescent or LED lamp, is essential.
Temperature and Humidity:
Maintaining the right temperatures is crucial for these cold-blooded companions. A basking area of 95°F, a cool side between 75-85°F, and nighttime temperatures of 68-77°F are ideal. Monitoring with digital probe thermometers ensures accuracy.
In their high-humidity environment, emerald tree skinks thrive with daytime humidity around 70%, spiking to 100% at night. A pump-style pressure mister or an automatic misting system like MistKing aids in humidity control.
For substrate, a 2-4 inch layer of Terra Firma with extra sphagnum moss provides cushioning and humidity. Bioactive setups, like The Bio Dude’s Terra Firma kit, offer the most comprehensive option with live plants, enhancing humidity and reducing waste.
Environmental enrichment is crucial for your skink's well-being. Decorations such as manzanita branches, ghost wood branches, vines, and live tropical plants provide climbing opportunities and stimulate natural instincts.
A vertically oriented enclosure is ideal to mimic their arboreal habitat. A tall terrarium with ample branches and foliage is recommended. Provide plenty of branches and plants for climbing and hiding.
Feeding an emerald tree skink involves a primarily insectivorous diet. Variety is key, including crickets, dubia roaches, Pangea, and more. Proper supplementation with calcium and multivitamin powders is essential, along with gutloading feeder insects.
Handling these creatures requires patience and gentleness. After a settling-in period, use soft-tipped feeding tongs for introduction, gradually building trust through consistent presence and positive associations. Always handle with care, avoiding sudden movements from above.
- Hand feeding: Use hand feeding/tong feeding as a way to build trust. Offer insects from your hand to associate your presence with positive experiences!
- Gentle approach: Approach your skink calmly and avoid sudden movements to reduce stress.
- Infrequent handling: While they can tolerate handling and some people believe they enjoy this, it's best to keep it to a minimum to reduce stress. Handling is generally done for cleaning or health checks.
Always monitor their behavior, and if your skink shows signs of stress (such as changes in coloration or agitated movements), give them some time alone. Remember that each individual may have different preferences and tolerances, so observe your skink's behavior to tailor your care approach accordingly.
By embracing bioactive care, you not only provide a captivating habitat for your emerald tree skink but also contribute to their overall health and happiness.
- Pete Garcia