Any Tricks for Socializing a Young Fire Skink?

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NotABumblebee
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Any Tricks for Socializing a Young Fire Skink?

Postby NotABumblebee » Mon Jul 14, 2014 1:12 pm

Hello,
I've fallen in love with these colorful little guys (don't worry, I still love my BTS too) and decided to get one. His name is Giger, in honor of my favorite surreal artist. Anyways, I understand that these guys are a bit less social than their Blue Tongued cousins. I understand that they spend a lot of time underground and hidden. This is understandable to me, but since Giger is so pretty, I'd like to see him. I have noticed that there is plenty of evidence that they will get tamed down (mine is captive bred) and can be handled, and don't mind showing themselves. Does anyone have any tricks for this? How do I get my fire skink to come out?

He's about 4months old. I only got him two days ago, so I'm not messing with him for the next week or so to allow acclimation. However, I'm curious if there is anything I can do at this early develpmental stage to help Giger be a friendly and active skink.

Pictures soon, thanks in advance for advice.
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Sarikazam
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Re: Any Tricks for Socializing a Young Fire Skink?

Postby Sarikazam » Tue Jul 15, 2014 12:33 am

I only have experience with my one Fire Skink, so I am not sure how much help I will be.

I got Smaug when he was mostly full grown and at that point he was completely afraid of people and would bolt as soon as he saw you. At first I just left him alone and waited for him to come out of his shell, but in the first month I NEVER saw him. I tried some tough love and took him out twice a week for some brief handling and offerings of goodies, but that didn't seem to have any effect at all and just seemed to stress him out. So I just gave up and decided that I would just let him be and stop stressing him. Instead I just worked on not spooking him whenever I did happen to find him not hiding. I would get in sight, but not too close, and I would quietly talk to him. He gradually got more accustomed to me and I eventually worked up to the point where I could open the door without him bolting; then I would offer him a cricket or worm with some tongs. That is when things started picking up. It has been 6 months and now when I open the door he will perk right up and look for goodies. I still tong feed him most of his food and he is getting to the point where he comes running out towards me to chase his meal. He still spooks sometimes and doesn't like my hand getting too close. I am working on getting him to climb onto my hand to get his food. But already he has gone from hiding 24/7 to me finding him out multiple times a day (often just his head poking out of a hide) and being comfortable with me moving around him. Everything takes a long time with him but each little accomplishment feels like a huge milestone!

TL;DR: Take things slow and let your skink choose to come to you. Food bribes are also highly recommended.
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NotABumblebee
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Re: Any Tricks for Socializing a Young Fire Skink?

Postby NotABumblebee » Tue Jul 15, 2014 7:41 pm

Thanks for the advice.
I think I had something of a breakthrough today. I was resolved to not disturb my skink, but have been concerned about moisture. While moving around the substrate to moisten it thoroughly, I did disrupt him. He cruised the tank a bit, and while he was out I tossed him a mealworm. He ate it and went under the substrate again. To my surprise, 5 minutes later he popped up on his own. I took some pics, and then he was gone.

I didn't expect to see him out so soon. I'm not sure if he will continue to come out....but I'm excited to have seen him out on his own.

I've had problems uploading the pics (maybe cause I'm using Linux) but got some good ones.
NotABumblebee
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Re: Any Tricks for Socializing a Young Fire Skink?

Postby NotABumblebee » Tue Jul 15, 2014 8:09 pm

Do you find that they require a bit more humidity than blues? I'm having trouble keeping my tank at a more tropical humidity range.
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Sarikazam
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Re: Any Tricks for Socializing a Young Fire Skink?

Postby Sarikazam » Tue Jul 15, 2014 11:16 pm

That sounds like a great little breakthrough! Your little guy sounds more bold than mine. Keep bribing him with food every time he comes out and I bet you will be seeing more of him.

And I definitely find that they need more humidity. I keep mine on coconut fibre and I give his terrarium a decent misting every other day or so. I find that if it gets too dry then the coconut fibre sticks to everything and is just generally more messy.
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NotABumblebee
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Re: Any Tricks for Socializing a Young Fire Skink?

Postby NotABumblebee » Wed Jul 16, 2014 5:50 pm

Thanks again for the advice. I keep Giger in a deep layer of jungle earth. I've been spraying it several times a day, and putting a small water dish on the hot side. All this only to find that my gage was about 25% off! The care sheet was right, don't trust those little plastic gages! I will invest in digital soon.

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