Skinks are a great pet to have around. They are quiet and playful creatures. Most people who are thinking about getting a skink for a pet will wonder if they are dangerous. After all, skinks do have teeth.
So, are skinks dangerous? Skinks are considered low-risk pets. These lizards are not dangerous and do not have any poison or toxin. For that reason, they pose no threats to humans.
Are Skinks Poisonous?
In the animal kingdom, brightly colored skin signifies poison. Most animals know this and will stay away from animals that have bright colors.
As for skinks, they too possess bright-colored skin. However, skinks are not poisonous. There are no known breeds of skink that are poisonous.
Skinks don’t contain any toxins and if they bite you, there’s no harm from it. Maybe just a cut due to their small sharp teeth.
Which Skink Breeds Are Most Dangerous?
There are many breeds of skink. Some are small, while others are large.
Larger breeds can be up to 13 inches long, but most average around 12 inches in length.
Smaller skinks are mostly around 3 inches in length. A bit from them is usually a nip on the finger.
Larger skinks are more fearless and tend to bite more. On the other hand, smaller skinks tend to escape danger as much as possible.
For the most part, most breeds of skink are not very aggressive and will try to avoid danger.
Do Skink Have Teeth?
Skins have pleurodont teeth, which means they are fused to the jawbone. Their teeth are small and sharp, which consist of about 40.
Their teeth are mainly used for tearing food apart and catching prey.
Since their diet mainly consists of insects and plants, their teeth are useful for catching insects.
In some instances, their teeth can be used for defending themselves from predators. They will bite and could cause some harm due to their sharp teeth.
Do Skinks Bite?
Like any other lizards, skinks will bite to defend themselves. However, their bite is rare and will usually not happen. If you’re bitten, it’s usually something you did to provoke them.
A skink will only bite if it’s one of the following reasons:
- The skinks are being handled when they don’t want to. Playing with them too much could aggravate them and cause stress.
- Your finger may accidentally touch their mouth. By instinct, the skink will bite.
- The skink may be hungry. If they are not resting, these creatures are always on the move searching for food.
- They are scared of something around them. Skinks are at the bottom of the food chain, and they are always on the lookout for predators. If you have other pets such as a cat, dog, or another lizard, it may cause the skinks to become scared.
Signs Of Aggression
Skinks are usually relaxed creatures, but they do get aggressive sometimes. If they become aggressive, it’s usually caused by something that’s provoking them.
When they do, the skinks will show signs of aggression. Below are the most common signs of aggression in skinks:
- Hissing – This is the most common behavior of skinks. When they feel threatened, they will start to hiss. The skink is giving a warning sign to stay away.
- Flattening their body – This is another common sign among skinks. They will flatten their body to make themselves appear longer and more threatening.
- Opening their mouth – When threatened, skinks will open their mouth wide. They will open their mouth followed by hissing.
- Puffing Up – Puffing themselves up will make them appear bigger. This is a great strategy when a predator is trying to eat them.
- Flick out tongue – Some breeds such ad the Blue-Tongued Skink will flick out their tongue. This is a sign that they are not happy and to stay away.
How To Avoid Getting Bitten
Skinks will usually bite when they are threatened. Most of the time, they will run away and try to hide.
For skinks kept in captivity, they are nervous around humans. They perceive humans as a threat, just like anything else that’s larger than them.
The best way to avoid getting bitten is to know when your skinks feel threaten. If you notice any of the signs from above, let them alone.
If you enjoy playing with your skinks, handle them with care. Wear good quality gloves that are thick enough that the skinks won’t be able to bite through.
Start by handling them at short intervals until they get used to you. Once they do, the skinks will be less likely to bite you.
When Getting a New Skink
When bringing a skink home, you’ll need to give it some time to acclimatize to its new surrounding. The skink may exhibit signs of aggression for a couple of days or weeks.
However, if you create an environment that’s similar to their natural environment, they tend to become very relaxed. This results in the skinks being not being aggressive.
Also, avoid handling them for a week or so. Skinks are creatures that are solitary and prefer to live and be alone.
For about a week, leave the skink alone in their cage while they are adjusting to their new environment.
Are skinks dangerous to dogs?
A skink is not dangerous around dogs. Usually, if they see a dog, they try to retreat and hide. Sometimes, if the skinks are cornered and have no place to go, they may try to bite the dog. If they do, there’s no harm to the dog since they don’t contain any poison in their bite.