Eumeces schneideri also Novoeumeces schneideri
Schneider skinks are medium sized, heavy-bodied, terrestrial, diurnal lizards. Dorsally they have a base color of tan, gold or grey (their coloration is fairly uniform; the different colors listed here are a matter of individual perception) with varying amounts of orange speckling. They have a mid-lateral stripe of bright or mustard yellow and are cream to white underneath. They are adapted for digging; they are smooth, cylindrical and have powerful limbs with sharp claws. Schneider skinks were named after a German naturalist, Johann Gottlob Schneider (1750-1822). There are currently six recognized subspecies. They can grow up to 16 inches (40 centimeters) long, and can live up to 20 years.
Schneider skinks are native to northern Africa and western Asia (including the Middle East). They span through many countries and are found in: Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, Egypt (including the Sinai peninsula), Israel, Cypress, Turkey, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Russia, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Afghanistan, Pakistan and India. Within this range Schneider skinks are usually found in steppes, wadis (valleys or dry riverbeds) and areas of low-growing scattered vegetation. Although they are diurnal, they spend the hottest hours of the day hidden beneath vegetation, debris, and rocks or buried underground. They inhabit areas that have vastly different humidity levels suggesting that they are quite adaptable in that respect.
Although Schneider skinks are highly adaptable, the captive environment has limitations that their natural habitat does not. As such, captive Schneider skinks should generally be kept in hot and dry conditions. Although they could be kept in smaller quarters, Schneider skinks are foraging animals and are not accustomed to walls of glass. Subsequently, the larger (horizontally) the enclosure you can provide, the happier your skink(s) will be. A larger enclosure also makes the creation of an appropriate thermal gradient easier; the basking spot for Schneider skinks should be in the 110-120 degree Fahrenheit range and the cool end should be in the 75-80 degree range. This sort of thermal gradient is virtually impossible to replicate in a small enclosure. Substrate can be a variety of commercially available materials, but by far the best choice is sterile play sand. Schneider skinks occasionally like to burrow and the substrate should be deep enough to afford this type of behavior (1½ -3 inches/3½-7½ cm). Rocks and wood debris can be provided as decorations, but should be placed in such a way that they will not crush the skinks if they burrow. As diurnal lizards, they also need UV lighting and should be provided with 8-10 hours of UV exposure. This can be accomplished by using a UV bulb in conjunction with a basking light or by using one of the many commercially available spotlights that incorporate UV. A small shallow bowl of water should be provided once a week in small enclosures, or can be left in the habitat in larger ones (where a spike in humidity is less likely).
Schneider skinks are naturally omnivorous and feed on beetles, spiders, small insects, other lizards, flowers and fruits and vegetables. Some Schneider skinks from coastal regions subsist primarily on desert snails, but this sort of monotrophic diet is not recommended in captivity. In captivity they can be fed all of the aforementioned as well as moistened dry cat food, canned dog/cat food, red worms, mealworms, superworms, wax worms, yard insects (as long as they are pesticide-free) and over-ripened fruits. Snails should constitute at least part of the diet as they are particularly relished. Snails should be offered with their shells intact (Schneider skinks have powerful jaws adept at breaking the shells) and should be purchased or collected from a known pesticide-free location. As with all reptiles and amphibians, a varied diet is essential to the lizard’s health. Prey items should be dusted with a calcium and mineral supplement every other feeding.
Adult male Schneider skinks are territorial and should not be housed together.
Although they can tolerate high humidity, they require a dry captive environment.