Animals

Sandfish: 19 Facts You Won’t Believe!

Sandfish facts about the sand-dwelling lizard of family Scincidae which is found in the desert.
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A sandfish skink (Scincus scincus) is mostly seen in deserts and dunes. A sandfish, of the family Scincidae, is widely seen in Arabia, Sahara, and North Africa deserts. A sandfish skink belongs to the Scincidae family and comes under the class Reptilia with the genus being Scincus. The scientific name of a sandfish is Scincus scincus. This species lives in the tropical and terrestrial regions of Africa, generally in North Africa. A sandfish is a desert-dwelling lizard and lives in the desert sand, and that’s why it is called a sandfish skink.

An interesting fact is that sandfish (Scincus scincus) can swim in the desert sand very freely in any situation. The sandfish species has many subspecies and sometimes are also referred to as a common skink. It can freely camouflage as it wants so that it can be safe from its enemies. A sandfish is also reared as a pet by many families for its intelligent behavior. After reading these interesting facts about the sandfish skinks, do check out our other articles on the common garden skink and veiled chameleon.

Sandfish

Fact File

What do they prey on?

Insects like crickets

What do they eat?

Insectivores

Average litter size?

1 offspring

How much do they weigh?

0.2-0.6 oz (0.005-0.015 kg)

How long are they?

8 in (20 cm)

How tall are they?

N/A

What do they look like?

Wide body, flat bellies, four limbs

Skin Type

Soft and morphological skin

What are their main threats?

Over-harvesting

What is their conservation status?

Least Concern

Where you'll find them

Deserts, dunes, high-temperature areas

Locations

Tropical and terrestrial regions

Kingdom

Animalia

Class

Reptilia

Scientific Name

Scincus scincus

Family

Scincidae

Genus

Scincus

Sandfish Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a sandfish?

A sandfish skink is a type of animal that has four limbs, a flat back, and wide body which is similar to a lizard. A sandfish skink is an animal that can live on land and in the sand. The sandfish skink is an animal that can live anywhere. It also can eat anything.

What class of animal does a sandfish belong to?

A sandfish (Scincus scincus) belongs to the Reptilia family and can live on both lands and in water. This reptile species can protect itself from predators as they have the ability to camouflage. The sandfish skink is an extremely intelligent creature.

How many sandfish are there in the world?

As sandfish skinks live in arid regions, it is impossible to know how many such lizards are there as the sandfish skink is an animal that can live freely on both lands and in water.

Where does a sandfish live?

A sandfish lives in desert areas on the surface of the sand. Sandfish skinks like to live in tropical and terrestrial regions which get lots of heat. A sandfish is mostly seen in Arabia, the Sahara, and deserts around the world. A sandfish lives in sand and water too. A sandfish can swim in the sand to control itself from high temperatures when there is heat. The sandfish have cold blood.

What is a sandfish's habitat?

The sandfish skink mostly spends its lifetime in the burrows across desert regions of North Africa. The sandfish skinks always burrow themselves in the sand and escape from predators. This reptile species likes to live in sand and high temperatures. They are mostly seen in high-temperature areas, tropical regions, and terrestrial regions. Sandfishes are similar to lizards and have a unique adaptation that prevents sand from entering their mouth. This adaptation is a conical-shaped head with a snout of the shape of a shovel and countersunk lower jaw behind the upper jaws and snout.

Who do sandfish live with?

A sandfish skink lives on its own. Sandfish skinks have defensive behaviors. This reptile can't connect with other desert animals because of its predatory behaviors.

How long does a sandfish live?

Sandfish skinks can live for more than eight years. Sandfish are at risk because of their malnutrition. In deserts, they don’t get enough nutrition. Sometimes they are over-harvested or they don’t get to eat any food which leads to death.

How do they reproduce?

The mating process isn’t known exactly as sandfish skinks live in arid regions. There is an estimation that the reproduction process is also the same as other reptiles. A sandfish reproduces when there is an act of precipitation. They signal to each other and mating takes place. Sandfish skinks breed once a year. The breeding season of sandfish skinks is May to June. The average gestation period of a sandfish is three months.

What is their conservation status?

The conservation status of sandfish is Least Concern at present. The sandfish is likely to be an endangered reptile if there is overharvesting. Sandfish are susceptible to be endangered but they are not at present as efforts for their conservation are being conducted.

Sandfish Fun Facts

What do sandfish look like?

The sandfish skink looks like a common lizard and has a wide body. This reptile species has a long wedge-shaped snout, broad back, and four limbs like a common lizard. The sandfish has smooth shiny scales. It is a reptile, so it can move on land and in water too. The long wedge-shaped snout is used to easily identify it. Their scales appear oily.

Sandfish skinks can be found in desert regions of Northern Africa.

How cute are they?

Sandfishes are too cute. The sandfish has a short tail and a stout body. They are very intelligent and know how to protect themselves. The sandfish is somewhat difficult for a beginner pet owner, but if an advanced one takes in it as a pet, both can survive well. They are super cute when they eat. They have patterns on their body and scales which makes them so beautiful. Their short tail and stout body also make them look very cute. Their scales look very attractive. You can take care of them without much difficulty.

How do they communicate?

Sandfish communicate with others by vibrating on the surface of the desert. The sandfish makes vibrations and sends signals in mating time for the approval of others. They do make some sounds but mostly vibrate. They are good at vibrating on the surface of the desert. When there is an enemy near them, they vibrate and send signals, and protect themselves by going into the desert sand as it is their specialty.

How big is a sandfish?

A sandfish skink is as big as a big lizard. The sandfish is around five times bigger than a standard lizard, and more specifically is three to four times the size of a sagebrush lizard which is 2-3.5 in (5.1-8.9 cm). The sandfish skink can grow up to 8 in (20 cm) long in size on average. It is as big as the larger lizards and can change its color and features if it is needed.

How fast can a sandfish move?

A sandfish can move as fast as lizards. They can, in fact, move faster than the original lizards and can move very speedily if required. The sandfish is known for its fast speed as they quickly burrow themselves in the sand when there is an enemy. They also protect and care for their offspring.  

How much does a sandfish weigh?

A sandfish can weigh around 0.2-0.6 oz (0.005-0.015 kg) and because of its light weight and ability to move freely through sand, it can easily live without risking its life.

What are the male and female names of the species?

The male and female sandfishes are both called male sandfish and female sandfish respectively. The male sandfish has a small abdomen, whereas the female sandfish has a wide abdomen. Sandfish don’t hunt, but they hunt the insects on the surface of the sand. They reproduce after the act of precipitation. They only conduct the act of mating under the soils and care for the offsprings.

What would you call a baby sandfish?

A baby sandfish is called an offspring. The newborn babies are called offsprings. The offsprings are taken good care of by the female sandfish. A baby sandfish has many similarities with its parents.

What do they eat?

Sandfishes prey on worms, insects, earthworms, and crickets as they present themselves in the soil. They eat them as it's their habitat they find them in. They eat both insects and animals as it is insectivore and carnivore. They can eat anything they want to relieve their hunger. They prefer eating insects found on the surface of the sand, especially crickets.

Are they poisonous?

They aren’t as poisonous as they look, but if they think that we are their predators, they may attack us. So we have to be careful when dealing with sandfish. A sandfish is treated as an intelligent and beautiful reptile. It can change its features and can protect itself from others. They may look poisonous but they are actually only a little bit poisonous and can make a great pet.

Would they make a good pet?

Yes, they can make a good pet as once they rely on you, they can be good to you. But if you are a beginner, then reconsider it because a small sandfish can be restless and irritable and makes you mad if it doesn't like you at first. They have defensive behaviors and are untamed. But when they rely on you and accommodate you, you can freely associate with them. They are small and not very difficult to care for but special attention has to be paid so that they can be taken care of in the correct way.

Did you know...

Do you know that sandfishes can vibrate when they are in the mating process? The female sandfish has a wider abdomen than the male sandfish to carry eggs. The mating process is only done after precipitation and it is only done in burrows. A female sandfish body can lay eggs once a year.

The life span of sandfish is 10-20 years. They can even live about 30 years which shocked the researchers.

The desert-dwelling sandfish acts like a predator to protect themselves from others. They have defensive and untamed behaviors. They generally eat insects they find in the desert.

They have a countersunk lower jaw and their habitat is generally found in the regions of North Africa.

The sandfish's predators

The sandfish have predators like snakes. Sandfish don't like snakes, especially Sahara snakes. Sandfish and snakes are considered to be lifetime enemies as they prey on the sandfish. Sandfishes try to escape from snakes as much as possible. They bury themselves every time to escape from snakes as they are small and can't fight off a snake.

Can you keep sandfish?

Yes, you can keep a sandfish as a pet for its beauty and intelligence but only choose this if you are experienced in raising a sandfish and can take care of them because it is intelligent and cunning. If you are a beginner, it can irritate you and make you restless. But once you are accustomed to the sandfish and vice versa, it can rely on you and can be friends with you. Taking care of them is not easy and they need special attention. Additionally, if you want to keep multiple sandfish, you will need to ensure you provide them with a terrarium with plenty of sufficient space per sandfish, and housing multiple females is advisable to avoid aggressions.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other reptiles from our crocodile skink facts and frilled lizard interesting facts pages.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable Sandfish coloring pages.

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