The Peters banded skink (Scincopus fasciatus) is a 5-7” long, nocturnal, terrestrial lizard native to the Sahel region of Africa. They prefer habitat with sandy soil and arid conditions, and have been observed in scrub to dry grasslands.
Peters banded skinks are fairly stout-bodied for skinks, with a tapered head, large black eyes, short limbs, short digits, smooth scales, and a tapered tail. Coloring is orange on top and cream on bottom, with broad black stripes across their back and tail.
Little concrete information is available about caring for Peters banded skinks, so this is an advanced-level pet reptile.
Minimum terrarium size for Peters banded skinks
The minimum terrarium size for a Peters banded skink is 36”L x 18”W x 16”H, or a 40 gallon “breeder” tank. Of course, larger is always better — if you provide, they will use it!
Housing multiple Peters banded skinks is not recommended, as they do not appear to be a naturally social species.
Do Peters banded skinks need UVB?
Peters banded skinks are nocturnal, so they may be able to survive without UVB lighting as long as proper vitamin D3 supplementation is provided. However, it’s safest and best practice to provide high-quality UVB lighting in an appropriate dose. UVB lighting helps provide a clear day/night cycle, provides all of the vitamin D that your skink needs, strengthens the immune system, facilitates better digestion, and other benefits.
The best UVB bulbs for Peters banded skinks are:
- Arcadia ShadeDweller kit
- Zoo Med T5 HO Reptisun 5.0
For best results, house the UVB bulb in a reflective fixture by Arcadia or Vivarium Electronics. The bulb should be roughly half the length of the enclosure. Mount this lamp 11-13” above the basking surface if over mesh, and if not, then it should be 14-16” above the basking surface.
UVB is blocked by glass and plastic, so placing the terrarium in front of a window isn’t “free UVB” — in fact it can make your terrarium too hot due to the greenhouse effect. Don’t forget to replace your bulb every 12 months!
Lights should be on for 13 hours/day during summer and 11 hours/day during winter. This should be done gradually to simulate seasonal changes in day length, and helps regulate your skink’s hormonal rhythm for better health.
Best temperature for Peters banded skinks
Peters banded skinks should have a warm hide temperature of 90-95°F, cool side temperature between 75-80°F, and nighttime temps no lower than 65°F. Heat sources should be turned off at night. Place a digital probe thermometer on the cool side of the enclosure to make sure it never gets too warm.
It’s best to provide heat for your skink with a combination of a heat mat and heat bulb. Heat bulbs (especially halogens) are better at imitating sunlight, and considered to be a superior form of reptile heating by experts. This is for heating the air of the enclosure. Do not use ceramic heat emitters (CHEs), red bulbs, or blue bulbs, as these are not as effective. The heat mat is for keeping the warm hide at the right temperature, and should be plugged into a thermostat with the probe placed inside the warm hide.
The heat lamp should be placed on one side of the enclosure, with the warm hide directly below. A heat mat is only necessary if the heat lamp doesn’t get the warm hide to a high enough temperature. If the heat lamp is too warm (basking area over 100°F), dim it with a plug-in lamp dimmer. If too cool, you need a higher-wattage bulb.
Best humidity levels for Peters banded skinks
Peters banded skinks do best in an environment with average humidity below 50%, as measured by a digital probe hygrometer with the probe in the middle of the terrarium. However, they also need access to a humid hideout lined with moist substrate to give them a place to go when they need more moisture, such as when they’re shedding. The humid hide should always offer >70% humidity.
Best substrate for Peters banded skinks
Peters banded skinks need a layer of substrate at least 4” deep so they can dig and burrow, which is a natural behavior for them. The best substrates for Peters banded skinks include:
- Zoo Med ReptiSand
- Exo Terra Desert Sand
- Exo Terra Stone Desert
To keep the substrate clean and your lizard healthy, remove old food and waste every day, along with contaminated substrate. You will need to completely remove and replace your substrate every 3-4 months.
How to decorate a Peters banded skink terrarium
A barren terrarium is boring to look at and stressful for your lizard to live in. Make the most of your terrarium by adding a variety of enrichment items for your pet to climb and explore. Here are some ideas:
- climbing logs/branches
- live or artificial plants
For best results, cover three sides of the enclosure to help your pet feel more secure in its home.
What to feed to a Peters banded skink
Peters banded skinks are primarily insectivorous, which means that they eat mostly insects and other invertebrates. However, they are also known to eat some plants as well. Here’s a basic feeding schedule for your pet Peters banded skink:
- Juveniles — Insects daily, plants daily
- Adults — Insects every 2-3 days, plants daily
Variety is the key to providing a healthy, balanced diet for your Peters banded skink. The more variety you can provide, the better!
Vegetable options for Peters banded skinks: collard greens, turnip greens, mustard greens, endive, kale, spring mix, dandelion greens, alfalfa, cactus pads, squash, shredded carrots
Fruits can be offered as well, such as berries, fig, apple, prickly pear, papaya, and mango.
You will also need calcium and vitamin supplements to help keep your dragon healthy. We recommend Repashy Calcium Plus LoD, lightly dusted on all feeder insects. It’s okay to occasionally skip a dusting.
Of course, don’t forget a medium to large water bowl for your Peters banded skink to drink from! Change the water daily and scrub the bowl with a reptile-safe disinfectant weekly, or whenever it becomes soiled.
How to handle your Peters banded skink
Reptiles generally don’t appreciate petting and handling in the same way that dogs and cats do. Peters banded skinks, however, seem to be fairly calm once they get used to humans. Here are some tips for success:
- Start with tong-feeding.
- Don’t grab the lizard from above. Instead, scoop from below.
- Whenever possible, let the lizard come to you rather than chasing after it.
- Support as much of its body as possible, especially the feet.
- Start with short handling sessions at first, then gradually make them longer.
- Put the lizard back in its enclosure only when it’s calm.
*This care sheet contains only very basic information. Although it’s a good introduction, please further your research with high-quality sources. The more you know, the better you will be able to care for your pet!