Petiles Spotlight: The Monkey-Tailed Skink

Petiles Spotlight: The Monkey-Tailed Skink

The Solomon Island Skink has many names, including the Monkey-Tailed Skink and Prehensile-Tailed Skink. No matter what you call it though, this interesting reptile from the Solomon Island archipelago is an interesting herbivore that reptile fans all over the world love. They are the largest extant species of skink, growing up to 32 inches. Their prehensile tail is used to move among tree branches. A crepuscular species, they are active during dusk and dawn and usually feed at dusk. Unfortunately, logging of their natural habitats threatens this species, but there are conservation efforts to keep the Monkey-Tailed Skink from going extinct.

Care in Captivity

Solomon Island Skink on a branch

The Monkey-Tailed Skink is a long-living reptile, often growing older than 20 years in captivity. Because of this, potential owners need to understand the commitment that they are making when they want to own one as a pet. They also have different care requirements than other reptiles, owing in part to their prehensile tail. Cages have to be tall and large and filled with branches for the reptile to climb on. They will not be happy in a smaller enclosure where they don’t have a chance to travel vertically.

Because of the Solomon Island’s environment, this reptile is used to warm temperatures. Their pen will need to be kept from 82-85F during the day and light lamps need to be used to keep their pen bright for 12 hours a day. A warmer basking spot should be available, with a temperature closer to 100. A night the temperature can be lowered some, but only down to the mid 70s. In order for their skin to shed successfully, the humidity of the pen needs to be kept somewhat high. The recommended humidity is around 70 percent.

Feeding the Monkey-Tailed Skink

Solomon Island Skink

An herbivore, this skink eats fruits, flowers, leaves, and shoots of plants. They don’t have any food that they prefer over others, but a varied diet is important for the reptile to stay healthy. A diet that consists mainly of leafy greens, then other vegetables, and finally fruit added in will be healthy for this pet. It’s imperative that all food is free from pesticides as to not make the reptile sick. Some experts suggest giving the reptiles a calcium/vitamin supplement every few days with their food.


The Monkey-Tailed Skink can be an enjoyable pet if you are a reptile fan. However, there are special considerations that need to be thought about before bringing one of these amazing animal home. This is not a species for beginners. One final important note, the Monkey-Tailed Skink is known for the frequency and smell of its defecation. This is definitely something you will want to take into consideration.

3 thoughts on “Petiles Spotlight: The Monkey-Tailed Skink

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