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Animal Care Hospital

1146 Blairs Ferry Rd NE
Cedar Rapids, IA 52402

Choosing a Healthy Skink

March 15 2021

Are you consi dering adopting a pet skink? These pretty lizards are becoming quite popular. They also really do make charming pets! Of course, it’s important for you to choose a healthy lizard. Reptiles are very good at masking signs of illness, as showing weakness can attract predators in the wild. How do you know if a lizard is healthy? As your Cedar Rapids, IA veterinarian, I list a few things to look for below.


A  ppetite

If possible, try to observe your potential pet eating. A skink’s dinner may consist of live bugs, but that’s something you’ll need to get used to if you’re adopting a lizard. Healthy lizards have healthy appetites!


Skin

Your little dinosaur should have clear skin, without any dry spots or blemishes. You also want to make sure it doesn’t have any old skin stuck to it. This is often a sign of shedding problems, which could indicate major health issues.


Body Condition

Your lizard should look supple and robust, and shouldn’t have any bones sticking out. You’ll also want to check for lumps, bumps, bruises, or swelling.


Movement

Skinks can be timid, but they’re also quite fast. Watch how your potential pet moves and holds itself. It shouldn’t be limping, stiff, trembling, or lethargic. If the little guy is hunched over, moving oddly, or just standing there with its mouth open for a long time, he could be sick.


Go Through A Breeder

You should always–and only–get reptiles through a reputable and licensed (when applicable) breeder or store. Captive-bred pets are always the better option. Animals that were captured in the wild do not really settle into the life of being a pet. In fact, many of them get very stressed out by being in captivity, which is understandable. That stress can lead to anorexia and other health issues. Wild-caught animals are also more likely to have parasites or diseases, and can be quite aggressive. Plus, they’re often illegal!


Tips

If you’re experienced with reptiles, and are ready, willing, and able to attempt rehabilitating a sick one, you can try it. Just be aware that if the skink has a contagious illness, it could infect any other reptiles you have. You’ll need to be extremely careful. It’s also wise to schedule a veterinary exam after adopting any new pet.


As your Cedar Rapids, IA veterinarian, I’m here to help. Contact me anytime! 

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