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  1. #1
    Registered User SpaciTraci's Avatar
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    My Fire Skink Won't Eat! :(

    Hello all, new to this particular section of the forum (I usually hang out in the snake part).
    I recently bought a Fire skink from Repticon Houston, and was not given very good information from the vendor.
    She has not eaten since the first day, and I've offered her both crickets as well as mealworms. At first I had her in a 29, with uva and uvb, and an undertank heater. The substrate was forest bark, not really sure what the name of it was, but it looked just like mulch. Then after the first week of not eating, I moved her to a 10 gallon with uva and uvb on, and infared heat lamp on at night. I mist her cage at least twice a day (before I leave for work, and when I come home in the evenings), and offer her food every evening. I've even left her alone with the food and she isn't interested.
    Also, her coloring has changed. She was a dark chocolate brown, and now she is more of a milky brown.
    I'm afraid I may have bitten off more than I can chew, but I refuse to let her die of starvation.
    What do I do?






  2. #2
    Administrator Merlin's Avatar
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    Re: My Fire Skink Won't Eat! :(

    What were you told that you disagree with?
    What are the temperatures?
    They tend not to eat until they get settled into a new home. Moving the lizard from enclosure to enclosure is going to stress it out.
    Fire Skink Caresheet (Riopa fernandi)
    Merlin,
    What's Life Without A Little Magic!

  3. #3
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    Re: My Fire Skink Won't Eat! :(

    I recommend 4-6 inches of coco fiber so that they can burrow (mine basically is burrowed 99% of the time).
    I would also try other feeders too. Like red wrigglers, nightcrawlers and trout worms. My fire skink loves them. She'll eat crickets readily too but is not fond of mealworms. Basically she hasn't figured out the worm dish but will attack anything crawling around on the ground.
    But as Merlin mentioned they need their time to settle in. This means time without any unnecessary adjustments being made.

  4. #4
    Registered User SpaciTraci's Avatar
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    Re: My Fire Skink Won't Eat! :(

    I waited for a week before deciding to move her.
    I saw a couple of people mention red wigglers, and I'm thinking of going with that, since you don't have to worry about them turning into other bugs. I usually have coconut fiber, because of how it keeps the moisture--so I will go back to using that again.
    The temperature gages are kinda wonky and I need to move them (its a bit chaotic at my house right now, but we're slowly getting everything and everyone settled.) The room temperature hovers around 80 degrees, though I know tank temperature will waver.

  5. #5
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    Re: My Fire Skink Won't Eat! :(

    What kinda gauges are you using? The dial ones, tend to not be very accurate and you should have an accurate method to double check with, such as a digital one with a prob or a temperature gun (the kind from the hardware store work very well).

  6. #6
    Registered User SpaciTraci's Avatar
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    Re: My Fire Skink Won't Eat! :(

    Sorry that this has been such a late reply-but I took a lot of advice to heart. She is now on coconut fiber, and gets a infared heat bulb at night, and a uvb durring the day. I changed her diet to red wigglers, and now she is eating daily, and I see her a lot more as well!

  7. #7
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    Re: My Fire Skink Won't Eat! :(

    Congrats. That's awesome. They are really beautiful & rewarding pets once they get settled in.

  8. #8
    Elite Member Helios's Avatar
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    Re: My Fire Skink Won't Eat! :(

    Brooksy: How long have you kept yours? I hope I don't sound like someone coming in like a know it all, but I'm really skeptical about using straight coco-husk/fiber with fire skinks because of the risk it poses for impaction/respiratory infections if it doesn't stay good a moist. I use exo-terra forest floor, (Cypres mulch). I've seen some discussion that it puts you at risk for impactions, but it's not something I've ever seen or heard of with fire skinks and that substrate.
    SpaciTraci: Did yours get setled? Reading over the thread it sounds to me like what you were seeing was normal behavior due ot settling into a new environment. The lightening of her color coudl have been happening if she was getting ready to shed. Provided everything got on track with yours I think you'll find they are very hardy and easy keepers. I keep a breeding pair. Oh--If you haven't already, I'd consider moving back to the 20 gallon. You'll have a much nicer temperature gardient for her and find that she will like the space (even if it's under ground).

  9. #9
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    Re: My Fire Skink Won't Eat! :(

    Last year when I got her, I followed the mix that the previous owner had used (for spare substrate from them with her) which was coco fiber with some dark coco husk like chunks mixed in. Then when it ran out I tried coco fiber & moss but the moss seemed to keep getting pushed the the top & one side of the tank.
    Then I heard from a breeder that they keep them on just coco fiber and have had no issues. The key is keeping it deep enough & I provide a moisture gradient by keeping one side of her tank significantly more moist than the other.
    What substrates do you mix together? In what percentages? And how long have you been working with these awesome lizards? How many do you have & do you have photos of your sets ups?

  10. #10
    Elite Member Helios's Avatar
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    Re: My Fire Skink Won't Eat! :(

    Ah ok, yeah if it's staying good and moist I would think the minimizes the risk of impaction or respiratory problems. The reason I've stayed away from it in that regard is that I've found Coco fiber dires out very quickly in the size of enclosure I use. Since they spend so much time burrowed my thought has always been that their chance of ingesting some is probable, and if ingested at all dry coc-fiber will expand in the animal's stomach. Haha in the end I think substrates are just one of those contraversial topics with lots of different ideas.

    My substrate set up is pretty simple, I use the exo terra forrest floor (cyprus bark). It's large enough that the skinks don't have much risk of swallowing any and then I layer terrarium moss on the top of the set up. The one disadvantage can be the humidity dissipating quicker than you'd like, but I've found the moss helps a lot and of course there's other tricks as well. And like you say, depth is key. If I start to get the top layers drying out, the deeper areas are still good and humid.
    Haha I'm still relatively new to keeping them, right around 2 years. I have a breeding pair, although they haven't had a fertile clutch yet. They laid an infertile one last summer, which from what I read can be normal in some speices of lizard, and then we didn't end up with a second because the female had some necrosis in the tip of her tale that ended with being treated for an infection. All is well now though, and we're hoping for a good clutch this spring! I'll have to see about getting some photos up here this week...
    How long have you been keeping fire skinks?

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