There are 3 known species of sandfish: Scincus scincus, Scincus hemprichii, and Scincus mitranus. S. scincus and S. mitranus are more commonly found in the pet trade than S. hemprichii. Almost all sandfish in the American pet trade are wild-caught.
Scincus scincus (Common Sandfish)
Also known as the Egyptian or Iranian sandfish, this is the one you see most often in the pet store. They inhabit a large area from the
west coast of north Africa, throughout the Sahara desert, and into the Arabian peninsula. They’re easily identified by distinct gray or tan and gold bands on their back, with a pale belly.
There are 3 known subspecies of S. scincus:
- S. s. conirostris
- S. s. cucullatus
- S. s. meccensis
Scincus mitranus (Eastern Sandfish)
Also known as the Red Sandfish, this species inhabits a very similar range to S. scincus: from the west coast of north Africa, throughout the Sahara desert, and into the Arabian peninsula. It has a golden back with dark-tipped scales, brown or black blotches on the sides, and a pale belly.
Scincus hemprichii (Arabian Sandfish)
S. hemprichii is native to the area between the southwest Arabian Peninsula and western Yemen. This one also has a distinctive appearance, with a dark brown back interrupted by pale, speckled stripes running diagonally to a cream belly.
We were unable to acquire any photos of S. hemprichii for use in this guide, but there is a photo by Dr. Saud Alfarraj that can be viewed here.
- Introduction to Sandfish
- Sandfish (Scincus) Species (YOU ARE HERE)
- Shopping List
- Enclosure Size & Cohabitation
- Lighting, Temperature & Humidity Needs
- Substrate Options
- Environmental Enrichment: Decorating the Enclosure
- Feeding Your Sandfish
- Handling Tips & Behavioral Notes
- Health Information
- Additional Resources