The red-eyed crocodile skink (Tribolontous gracilis) is a small lizard with a spiky appearance native to Indonesia and Papua New Guinea.
They are generally skittish and are typically considered display animals. If you want to own the species, you may be wondering how much they cost.
So, how much does a red-eyed crocodile skink cost?
On average, red-eyed crocodile skinks cost between $200 and $300 not counting shipping online. They can be found from a few shops as imported animals and you may find the occasional captive-bred animal.
For a complete guide to enclosure setup, feeding, daily care and breeding,
check out my Red Eyed Crocodile Skink Care Sheet.
Red-eyed crocodile skinks are not currently very common in the pet trade.
They are still being established for captive-breeding projects. They do breed easily, but the animals only produce a maximum of six offspring per breeding season.
This means they are more expensive than many other species in the pet trade if you can find a captive-bred animal.
Most imported animals will cost over $200 and may be as high as $300. Since they are imported, I highly suggest finding a supplier that makes sure their animals are healthy before sending them to a new home.
Some importers will get in a shipment of animals and immediately send their new homes. This can stress and kill this delicate species.
If you can find a captive-bred animal you should get it. Captive-bred animals are healthier and more likely to live to old age. Be careful of farm-bred animals since farm-bred lizards are virtually the same as wild-caught and tend to die not long after they are imported.
There are currently no morphs that are easily available for the average keeper. Any unusual animals from the wild will likely be sold directly to breeders like what has happened with other reptiles in the pet trade.
Cost of Setup & Supplies
One of the nice things about the species is that it doesn’t cost too much more to keep than any other species in the same size range.
They need more floor room than an animal like a gargoyle gecko and you need an enclosure that allows for deep substrate so your skink can dig.
While some care guides online claim they do not dig, this species is reported as digging extensively under their hides.
The enclosure is typically around $150-200 for a typical adult enclosure. If you want to breed the species, you will want a longer enclosure that will be over $250.
Exo Terra Short Terrarium (18x18x12)
- Front access will stress your animal a lot less than enclosures opening from the top
- Completely escape-proof
- Well designed ventilation
- Convenient inlets for heating cables, without any visible wires.
A breeding pair can be housed together and most will tolerate their offspring for quite some time.
Heating and lighting are pretty simple for the species.
You will want dual housing for the UVB and basking light that is $30-40 depending on the housing you pick. Heat bulbs can be picked up in packs of 3 for under $20.
The average UV bulb for the species is around $30. You also need a digital thermometer. Either get one that can read both sides ($15) or buy outdoor thermometers for around the same price for a pack of multiple.
Zoo Med ReptiSun 5.0 UVB Mini (13W)
- Can be placed either vertically or horizontally and doesn’t emit heat.
- 5% UVB wavelengths helps prevent metabolic bone disease.
- Eliminates the need for a separate ballast.
- 30% UVA wavelengths help to increase activity levels, appetite, and reproductive behavior.
Make sure you have a temperature gun ($20) to check the temperature of both sides and the basking spot at least every few days.
You will need a substrate for the species. You can buy a humidity-holding substrate for under $20. If you decide to use live plants, you can use bioactive soil.
Most of the supplies for a basic setup will be under $50 and may include basic safe plants like pothos. You will also need the insects which are typically under $20 but this can depend on the source.
Make sure you have proper full-spectrum lighting for plants which can be $50 for the bulb and housing. However, you can skip the UV bulb for the lizard if you used grow lighting.
You will need either a water dish that can allow the skink to submerge fully. A basic water dish or tub can be as little as $3 if you use a plastic food storage container with some rocks to allow the skink to climb out easily.
If you want something that looks nicer, most bowls in this size for reptiles are under $20. Make sure it either has a step to allow the skink to climb out or add the rocks yourself.
You can make a small waterfall that the species likes with a cheap (~$15) pump.
Decorations should be used to help the species feel secure. You can plant the enclosure heavily with cheap plants like pothos which are typically under $15 and grow to help provide more cover.
You can also use artificial plants that are either branded for reptiles or for outdoor use to help withstand the lights and the high humidity. Branches and logs are a good idea and can be found for under $10 apiece.
Make sure these are very well-secured since your red-eyed crocodile skink will dig under it to make additional hides. Cork rounds and pieces of bark are under $15 and should be provided for more hiding space.
You can also use any hide that will hold a 6-8 inch lizard. Most are under $15 or you can make your own with anything you can sanitize.
You will also need a handheld mister ($10) or an automatic misting system ($50) to keep up the humidity. You need a digital hygrometer either as part of the thermometer you use or a separate option for around $10.
Food and vitamins will be fairly cheap. It will cost more if you do not know how to keep feeder insects like crickets, roaches, and wax or superworms alive.
Most feeders will be under $10 for a package that should feed your skink for at least a month.
You should get an enclosure and food for the feeders that will be around $40 for everything you need to keep the feeders alive.
Vitamins and mineral supplement powders are typically around $20 for a package that will last for months.
Fluker’s Calcium Reptile Supplement with added Vitamin D3
- Calcium supplement for lizards, snakes, turtles and frogs. Vitamin D3 added for reptiles kept indoors
- Promotes healthy bones and vital bodily functions
- Made right in the U.S.A.
- Proper balance of essential nutrients
- Feed to your reptile at any stage of their life
You will also need to account for veterinary care. Most exotic vet visits for a checkup are around $40-70 depending on the area and the practice.
However, crocodile skinks may need more expensive care since they are not very common yet.
They also absolutely need a number of tests like fecal tests that drive up the price. Since most are wild-caught, you must give them a lot of treatment to make sure they stay healthy.
You can buy pet insurance for around $10 a month, but be sure to check since it may cost more for a crocodile skink.
You will be spending around $850 for the animal, supplies, and veterinary care.
We hope this taught you about the price of a red-eyed crocodile skink. Your exact total may depend on what supplies you may already own and if you can source secondhand supplies. If you have any questions or comments, please leave them below.