How to Select and Buy a Pet Ocellated Skink

how to buy ocellated skink
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When you’re looking to buy an ocellated skink, there are several places where you might find one: small pet shops, reptile expos, online reptile distributors, or directly from a breeder. Although it’s possible to find healthy ocellated skinks for sale in an independently-owned pet shop or at a reptile expo, you’re likely to get the best results by buying from a reputable ocellated skink breeder. Although this species breeds readily in captivity, and is generally quite prolific, they’re not yet common, so it may take a bit of searching.

ReptiFiles advises against purchasing from most online reptile distributors, as this type of business tends to treat reptiles like products rather than living things, and you will have no control over the health, background, or general quality of the animal you will receive.

If you plan to purchase multiple ocellated skinks for keeping in a colony, make sure to confirm the sex of each skink that you are buying. This can be difficult with ocellated skinks that have never been bred before, but since this is a livebearing species, knowing the sex of the skinks you’re buying is important for preventing conflicts between males and for preventing babies that you’re unable to house.

Considerations for Buying an Ocellated Skink In-Person

If you are buying an ocellated skink in-person, you are most likely at a pet shop or reptile expo. In this setting, try to get a good look at the animal up close and watch it for a few minutes so you can gauge its overall health. Unless indicated otherwise, the answers to the following questions should be “yes”:

  • Are the eyes clear?
  • Does it have a robust body?
  • Does it seem reasonably plump/well-rounded?
  • Is the spine visible? (bad)
  • Does the body or legs appear sunken/deflated? (bad)
  • Is there any unusual curvature, bumps, or kinks in the spine or limbs? (bad)
  • Is the animal generally active, alert, and curious?
  • Does it flick its tongue regularly or when presented with a stimulus?
  • Does it move freely?
  • Does it breathe with its mouth open? (bad)
  • Is the animal free of mites?
  • Are the scales smooth, shiny, and in good condition?
  • Are there any apparent injuries? (bad)
  • Does it struggle when restrained?
  • Does the seller seem approachable and genuine?
  • Does the seller demonstrate expertise when questioned?

For best results, look at more than one skink so you can compare between them.

Considerations for Buying an Ocellated Skink Online from a Breeder

Here are some questions to help you gauge whether the breeder you are considering is trustworthy and worth buying from:

  • Do they provide plenty of information in the listings for each available animal?
  • Can they provide multiple photos of the animal from different angles when asked? (helps detect scams)
  • Do they offer a live-arrival guarantee?
  • Do they have a DOA (dead-on-arrival) policy?
  • Do they have a good reputation in the reptile community?
  • Do they specialize in ocellated skinks (best), a few species including ocellated skinks (good), or do they breed many different species (potential red flag)?

Aside from looking at photos of the animal and evaluating it according to the above criteria as best as possible, here are some additional questions to ask about the skink itself:

  • Does it have a good appetite?
  • Has it had any health issues in the past?
  • (If adult female) Has she ever been with a male?

Of course, buying an ocellated skink directly from a breeder often means that you have to pay more, but it’s worth the extra money to get a healthy, high-quality animal. Also, buying online means that you will have to pay for overnight shipping — in the US, that’s usually around $50-$75.

NOTE — If you have other reptiles in your collection, you will need to quarantine your new ocellated skink to prevent it from accidentally passing diseases to the rest of your collection. If you have a bioactive setup, this is also a good biosecurity precaution so your hard work doesn’t go to waste. 


  • Be careful about who you buy from.
  • It’s best to buy directly from a breeder.
  • Ask questions before buying.
  • Quarantine your new ocellated skink for at least 3 months.

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