A-z - Animals

Are Skinks Poisonous or Dangerous?

Keep reading to watch this amazing video

Skinks are one of the best reptile pets to make. They are docile, quiet, gentle, playful, and easy to train. Additionally, skinks are low maintenance, easy to care for, and low risk, making them ideal reptiles for beginners and even children. But most people are hesitant to keep them as pets in the first place because they can be dangerous. So, are skinks poisonous or dangerous? All species of skinks are non-poisonous and non-poisonous, which makes them not dangerous at all. Skinks still have teeth, though, so they will bite when provoked. However, since they are not aggressive by nature, their bite will only be quick without causing any serious damage.

skink bites

cutest lizard red eyed crocodile skink
Skink bites are usually painless.

©DWI YULIANTO/Shutterstock.com

Most people wonder if skinks bite before keeping them as pets. Skinks do bite because their teeth and jaws are strong enough to bite into the skin. However, their bites are nothing to worry about. Skink bites are usually light, superficial, and painless. Skinks have about 40 small, sharp teeth fused into their jawbones (lateral dentition). While they are unlikely to bite, as they are not aggressive animals, they may bite to protect themselves when provoked. Skinks don't have sharp claws or strong limbs, so when threatened their bite is their only weapon.

Any lizard can bite, and so can skinks. But skinks are usually passive and timid, so they don't bite suddenly. Their sharp teeth are mainly used to catch prey while hunting or eating, but they also use these teeth to protect themselves from predators and other threats. When a skink bites you, it simply means that it sees you as a threat and is acting in self-defense. Often, there are signs of a skink bite before it occurs. Signals to watch out for include:

Read more  Do Animals Like Being Petted? Exploring the Science Behind Petting Our Furry Friends

Hissing – Most lizards hiss when threatened. They usually do this to warn you to back off.

Squash their bodies – Skinks may squish their bodies when hissing, making them look longer and more vicious.

Open Mouth – Skinks may also open their mouths to threaten their opponents when hissing.

Bulging – In addition to making themselves look longer, skinks use this tactic to make themselves look more prominent.

Tongue flicking – When you see a skink sticking its tongue out at you, you might want to take a step back.

Since skinks are not hostile by nature, they will only bite when they are mishandled, don't want to be dealt with, have a finger in their mouth, or feel threatened.

Are Skinks Dangerous to Humans?

Blue-tongued skink, close-up.
Skink bites are mild and painless, so they are not dangerous to humans.

© Chris Humphreys/Shutterstock.com

Despite their skin's slight resemblance to snakes, skinks are neither poisonous nor poisonous. Their bites are also mild. Therefore, they do not pose any danger to humans.

Skink bites are usually painless and quick. These lizards don't intentionally try to break a person's skin when they bite. Instead, they opted for an immediate crackdown to threaten their opponents. Often, a person who is bitten may not even realize they have been bitten, only realizing it when they see tiny puncture wounds on the skin. Some skinks may leave small blood blisters after being bitten, while others leave little to no abrasions. Skinks don't bite for no reason, so as long as you follow the guidelines to prevent them from biting for no reason, they should.

In addition to being harmless bites, the skin is also non-venomous, meaning they do not release any toxins from their bodies to spray their predators or threats. They are one of the best pet reptiles because they are low risk and not poisonous to humans or any other animals. In the wild, skinks would rather run or hide than fight and bite, so they are more likely to bite when threatened or handled in a cage. Even so, the skink's teeth do not release venom.

Read more  Do Petco Sell Animals? Your Comprehensive Guide to Petco's Animal Sales Policy

Are skinks poisonous?

Alligator skink lizards sunbathe on moss.
Skinks are neither poisonous nor poisonous.

© Kurit afshen/Shutterstock.com

Skinks are not poisonous, and they do not have any venom in their bodies that would cause allergies or other symptoms in humans.

Bright colors usually indicate how venomous an insect, amphibian or reptile is in the animal kingdom. All species of skinks share the same bright skin characteristic, which is why many people consider them poisonous. But contrary to popular belief, skinks are completely harmless when handled and cared for properly.  

Skinks come in different sizes. Smaller ones are usually about 3 inches long, while larger species can grow up to 14 inches. A small skink's bite can feel like a bite on an arm or finger, while a larger skink may break the skin but not cause any further damage other than a sting.

Are skinks poisonous to dogs and cats?

Giant Blue Tongue Lizard or Tiliqua gigas isolated on white background
In rare cases, eating skinks may cause salmonella poisoning.

© dwi putra stock/Shutterstock.com

Skinks are not poisonous when ingested by pets, including dogs and cats. Despite their curiosity, dogs may occasionally poke and eat skinks, but they are usually not poisonous and do not cause any lasting damage. Cats, on the other hand, are natural hunters and will sometimes want to hunt skinks. Like dogs, cats do not experience long-lasting symptoms from eating skinks. However, in rare cases, skinks may carry salmonella bacteria, and consumption of skinks may result in salmonella poisoning.

Like most lizards, skinks eat a variety of insects, from crickets and beetles to grasshoppers. However, skinks also have their predators. In addition to biting with their sharp teeth, skinks use another self-defense mechanism by snapping off their tails to confuse predators.

Read more  Dolphin Brain vs. Human Brain: What's the Difference?

How to Avoid Skink Bites

Skinks rarely bite, and if they do, it must be in self-defense. So, if you want to be careful enough not to accidentally irritate your pet skink and thus avoid getting bitten, you need to watch your skink's behavior. Avoid touching or picking them up when they seem nervous or alert, as they may startle and bite. So does the instinct to bite whenever someone puts a finger close to the skink's mouth. Their response can drive them to bite, thinking your hand is food.


  • Saw an alligator biting an electric eel with 860 volts
  • The 15 Deepest Lakes in America
  • Watch rare coyotes and bobcats now

More from AZ Animals

featured image

Five-element skink lizard on the sand.
Five-element skink lizard on the sand.

© James DeBoer/Shutterstock.com

about the author

Victor Victor

For six years, I have been a professional writer and editor of books, blogs and websites, with a particular focus on animals, technology and finance. When I'm not working, I enjoy playing video games with my friends.

Thanks for reading! Have some feedback for us? Contact the 10hunting.com editorial team.