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Baby Emerald Tree Skink Care

This page is to help people get their new baby emerald tree skinks set up at home. If you are bringing home a baby from us, hopefully this helps you decide how you'd like to house your new little one!

How are our babies housed before they go home?

  • Hatchling and juvenile skinks start out in a 12x12x18" terrarium. The substrate is 3 inches of coco fiber. They are provided cork bark and magnetic ledges to climb on, as well as fake plants. 

  • They have access to a basking spot that is about 95*F. The enclosure naturally cools as you move away from the basking spot, to a temperature of about 75*F. They have a 12” linear T5 to provide UVB. All lights are on a timer, allowing for approximately 12 hours of each day and night. 

  • Our enclosures are on a misting system, but manual pump misters also work great. The enclosure humidity ranges, most importantly offer spikes in humidity at least once a day with a good misting.

  • Emerald tree skinks do well in groups, but we watch for bullying and separate groups if needed.

Here's an example of one of our juvenile ETS enclosures: (18x18x36")

Here's our primary adult enclosure:

How should you care for your baby once they come home?


Emerald Tree Skinks are arboreal and will utilize vertical space nicely. Juveniles can be kept in smaller, vertical oriented enclosures so that you can keep a close eye on them. A 12x12x18" or 18x18x24" enclosure can comfortably house a small group of juveniles. As adults, they’ll require more space. We keep our adults in 36x18x36" and 24x18x36" enclosures. 

Lighting and Heating

These are diurnal lizards that spend a lot of time basking. You'll need a linear T5 UVB bulb - ideally one that spans about 2/3rd of the top of the enclosure. You will also need a heat lamp that allows your skink(s) to perch on a basking area that reaches ~95-100* (surface temperature). This gives them the chance to decide if they want to bask where it's hottest, or adjacent to that spot wherever the temp feels right for them.

As long as your ambient house temp doesn't drop below ~65* during the summer, you don't need any additional heating at night.


As mentioned before, we keep our young juveniles in a non-bioactive enclosure, because it is easier for us to monitor them, and clean/sanitize between hatchlings. But going bioactive is a really good option, as it will naturally keep the humidity a bit higher. We strongly encourage keeping Emerald Tree Skinks in bioactive enclosures.

For bioactive enclosures, a premade tropical mixture can work well. We mix our own bioactive substrates, and typically use a combination of cypress mulch, peat moss or coco fiber, sand or calcined clay, crushed charcoal, and leaf litter. Adding a layer of leaf litter or sphagnum moss over the soil can help the soil retain moisture. 


You’ll want lots of climbing branches, vines, hiding places, and tropical plants.


Emerald Tree Skinks are primarily insectivorous. Offering a varied diet is great. Dubia roaches, crickets, and dermestid larvae are great feeder insects. Gut loading insects and dusting with calcium and multivitamins at appropriate intervals is important to make sure your new skink is getting all the nutrients it needs. 

Prepared crested gecko diets from Pangea or Repashy are also a great option to supplement in. Ours eat Pangea Growth and Breeding formula.


Emerald Tree Skinks are known for how curious, friendly, and personable they can be. Like with any animal, there are variances in personality. It is very common for Emerald Tree Skinks to jump out of their enclosures and onto their owners once they're settled in and comfortable. Here are a few handlings notes and tips.

  • Be gentle. This is a small animal, and in the wild is a prey species. Approach them calmly, move slowly, and avoid approaching from above. 

  • They don’t like restraint. While many enjoy climbing on you, they prefer it to be on their terms. Gently direct them where you want them to go, and make the experience positive for them. You risk injury to your skink or a dropped tail if you try to restrain them.

  • Hand feeding is great! Offering food by holding their food dish, using tongs, or even holding their food in your hands is a great way to build trust. This also gets them to start associating your presence with a positive experience. 

  • Don't push it. If your ETS doesn’t want to step onto you, don't force the interaction by grabbing them. During exams, health checks, or cage cleanings you might have to be direct and grab them or corral them into a container. But try making every handling experience a positive one where it is their choice to interact with you.

  • Handle in controlled areas. We only handle our ETS in the room where their enclosures are. It may be tempting to walk around the house with them, but the more you move the higher the risk is of them falling or jumping off of you to someplace that is difficult to retrieve them from.

An example of a half-grown juvenile, allowed to climb around without restraint.


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