The Blue-Tongued Skink is a species with numerous subspecies, and keeping them in captivity requires specific care. This article provides a Blue-tongued skink care overview. Keepers should understand the subspecies they’re caring for so they can care for it properly.
The blue-tongued skink lizard (Tiliqua scincoides scincoides) grows to be 45 to 60 cm in length. Little animals, insects, carrion, and plant matter are among the foods they consume in the wild.
They are good pets and may be found in suburbs. They adapt well to captivity and may be kept as such. They birth live youngsters and typically produce 6-12 offspring, although higher numbers have been documented.
Omnivorous skinks will consume a variety of fruits and vegetables, as well as insects, snails, and even smaller lizards. They are simple to feed because of their diet.
Read on to learn how to care for this unusual-looking and gentle pet.
What Is A Blue-Tongued Skink?
This lizard is found in Australia, New Guinea, and Tasmania and is scientifically known as the Tiliqua scincoides. They may be discovered in warm-forests and grasslands, although they are mostly discovered in desert-like ecosystems.
They like to hide under brush or dig into log crevices to avoid predators and are ground dwellers who prefer to burrow.
This pet’s name comes from its appearance. They look like snakes with short and stubby legs, and they are long, sturdy, and stocky lizards. The Blue-Tongued Skinks’ distinct blue tongue is perhaps the most striking feature.
The typical diet of Blue-Tongued Skinks is fairly ordinary. They feed infrequently and consume foods that are readily available, such as fruits and veggies, instead of coming out of their hiding places to eat.
Their native climate will swing between chilly and exceedingly hot, while being constantly humid, making it a more difficult reptile to look after. In captivity, this can be challenging to control.
If you handle a Blue-Tongued Skink often, he or she will be quite friendly. They might become terrified, bashful, or hostile when their cage is approached otherwise.
Males have been known to become aggressive with each other and even towards females. These skinks prefer to live alone.
Blue-Tongued Skink Size
Blue-tongued skinks are medium-sized lizards with short, stubby tails and limbs, as well as triangular heads. They are rather hefty-bodied. Due to their short and stubby legs, they are slow-moving lizards that don’t like to climb much.
The species you acquire will have a big impact on the size of your pet blue-tongued skink, however they will grow to be about 20 inches long and sometimes longer. The following is a breakdown of the average size of each blue-tongued skink species:
The length of a western blue-tongued skink is about 19.5 inches (50 cm). These skinks are relatively uncommon and are usually not maintained as pets.
Pygmy blue-tongued skinks are the tiniest and rarest of the skink species, measuring only 4 inches (10 cm) in length.
The length of a blotched blue-tongued skink may reach 23.5 inches (60 cm).
The Tanimbar Island skink is a little creature, reaching lengths of 15 to 17 inches (38 to 43 cm).
The largest and heaviest species, northern blue-tongued skinks can reach a maximum length of 24 inches (61 cm).
Common blue-tongued skinks reach a length of 19 inches (48 cm) and are also known as eastern blue-tongued skinks.
Centralian blue-tongued skinks range in size from 15.5 to 17.5 inches (40 to 45 cm).
Skinks from Merauke may grow to be 25 to 30 inches (63.5 to 76 cm) in length.
Indonesian blue-tongued skinks measure approximately 19.75 inches (50 cm) in length on Kei Island.
Blue-Tongued Skink Behavior and Temperament
The body of blue-tongued skinks is flattened and expanded, making them resemble snakes in appearance. They are ground dwellers. They make wonderful starter pets because they are submissive, quiet, gentle, and easily domesticated.
These calm pet lizards have blue tongues, short legs, and dull teeth and are native to Australia. Blue-tongued skinks spend their lives on the ground in the wild.
Please be aware that skinks have powerful jaws and teeth, as well as a bite that can be quite painful. Nevertheless, they are not aggressive. Blue-tongued skinks may spit and display their tongues when they sense threatened, despite their typically calm temperament.
Letting small children interact with a skink without proper supervision is discouraged. Try to avoid provoking or startling them.
Blue-tongued Skink Care Basics
At a bare minimum, an enclosure 3 feet long by 18 inches wide (a usual size supplied at pet shops) should be kept to accommodate a single adult blue tongue. The only thing that matters is the amount of space.
While smaller cages are suitable for newborns and juveniles, they will grow at a rapid pace, so it’s best to go with a permanent adult cage rather than have to replace a smaller cage a few months later.
Because blue tongues are terrestrial ground-dwellers and not tree climbers, remember that floor space is more important than height. Their tiny, stocky legs say it all!
Providing a barrier between your skink and the heat lamp on top of the enclosure is provided by a tight-fitting screen top, which allows for proper air flow. Of course, it will also keep animals like cats, mice, and even spiders and other insects from entering.
By putting an incandecent heat lamp at one end of the enclosure, you’ll need to create a temperature gradient. Blue-tongued skinks need to be kept between 70 and 80 degrees on the chilly end and 90 and 100 degrees on the hot end. The most precise temperatures can be determined using a digital temperature gun.
Common Health Problems
Blue-tongued skinks are considered to be healthy reptiles that are hard to care for in general. Metabolic bone disease is the most common health issue in captivity for skinks (and other reptiles). This problem typically occurs due to insufficient UV lighting or insufficient nutrition and is most common in animals with a phosphorous-to-calcium ratio imbalance.
Weakness, fractures, tremors, lethargy, and overall dysfunctions are all symptoms of this condition. Skinks, like other lizards, may be deficient in vitamin A, which can be fatal if not treated.
Mouth rot1, which is characterized by a foamy or cheesy secretion that comes from the mouth, teeth, and lips, is another common issue for blue-tongued skinks and other lizards.
It should be treated by a professional if it is caused by an eating injury or stress. Make sure there’s a veterinarian in your area that specializes in exotic pets like lizards before you purchase your blue-tongued skink.
How To Handle A Blue-Tongue Lizard
Because of their propensity to be handled, blue-tongued skinks have become popular pets. They may be tamed with a little care. To reduce stress and the risk of dropping or injuring your blue-tongued, it’s important to support the center body of their blue-tongued.
Human fingers may sometimes be confused for food, and a unintentional bite with their strong jaws may be quite unpleasant. Blue-tongued skinks are known to bite humans on occasion.
Never grasp a skink by the tail. Tail autotomy is a mechanism that some skinks use to lose their tail. Although the tail will regrow, it will be at a great expense of energy and not be the same as before, indicating that tail autotomy is a defense mechanism.
Blue-Tongued Skink Health
The blue-tongued skink is a tough, easy-to-care for lizard in general. Keeping them as healthy pets necessitates constant monitoring, cleanliness, and dedication since they live in such a different habitat from humans and other animals.
Before bringing your skink home, it’s in your and your new pet’s best interest to locate a knowledgeable Reptile Veterinarian. Reptiles, especially those with lifespans as long as the skink, may need veterinary care at some point.
You’ll need to contact a variety of vets and choose one who specializes in “exotics” and has experience with blue-tongued skinks.
Feeding Blue-Tongued Skink
A diet rich in tiny rodents is often given to captive blue-tongues. They quickly grow obese and lethargic as a result of this. It’s probably no better for them than it is for a human.
Blue-tongues, which are adapted to an omnivorous diet, are opportunistic feeders. Fruits, vegetables, insects, and other low-fat animal protein are all consumed.
Berries, kiwi fruit, some banana, melons, grated carrots, grated broccoli, crickets, roaches, grasshoppers, king mealworms, low-fat canned cat or dog foods are all options for a more suitable diet for your skink.
Fresh drinking water should always be available in a large shallow container.
A high quantity of calcium is required by fast development youngsters and ovulating blue-tongued skinks. D3-calcium supplementation should be administered twice weekly. Give vitamin-mineral pills at least once every two weeks to adult males.
Tank and Enclosure
To escape the heat and predators, blue-tongued skinks like to burrow into the sand.
In order for your Skink to thrive, they will need a big enclosure. They prefer to spend time on the ground and do not climb as much as other lizards, so a glass tank with plenty of floor space is ideal.
If the skink has everything they need, this tank should be at least 40 gallons in size. It may be as big as 60 gallons if necessary.
While a hood will be required to hold a heating element, the tank’s height should be selected carefully.
Live plants, logs, and rocks (including a bigger rock for the tank to rest on) should be included in the tank since they seldom stray far from their shelters and require a lot of room.
The adult enclosure should be no less than 120-180 cm long (4-6 feet) and 45-60 cm high (1.5-2 feet), with bigger being preferable. Air circulation, temperature, and humidity must all be controlled in order to maintain good ventilation. It must be secured, and it’s a good idea to keep it away from draughty places.
Lighting needs, humidity, hiding places, basking places, air circulation, and environmental enrichment should all be taken into account when selecting the enclosure. The materials used in the enclosure should not absorb moisture, and it should be cleaned and disinfected on a regular basis.
F10 SC, a 1ml concentrate for every 250 ml of water (1:250 dilution) disinfectant, is the preferred option to utilize. Before anything else, everything must be removed. Depending on the companies’ product recommendations, the solution must remain on the area for at least 15 minutes to achieve the required disinfecting time of the organism in question.
By themselves, blue-tongued skinks should be kept. Even youngsters are known to battle, resulting in grave injury to one other.
Heat and Light
Lighting and heating are the most crucial aspects of your skink’s new habitat. Skinks must be able to control their own body temperatures by having a gradual change in heat.
A daytime temperature between 86 and 95 degrees Fahrenheit (30-35 C), as well as a nighttime temperature that doesn’t fall below 70-75 degrees Fahrenheit (21-24 C), will be required.
You can keep the right temperatures in your vivarium by using a number of thermometers with digital readouts. At the hot end, the substrate should be around 95°F (35°C), and at the colder end, it should be around 86°F (30°C).
Full-spectrum lighting with UV has been found to be beneficial for blue-tongued skinks in research. Choosing the best UV type for your skink is the trickiest part. Make sure you buy lights that emit both UVB and UVA, and don’t be afraid to consult your dog supply shop for advice.
Plastic, glass, and plexi-glass may get hot enough to burn your skink if they are found underneath the bulbs. Outside the enclosure, aim the light/heating source at least 18 inches away from any exterior surface.
A Skink Terrarium
A skink’s terrarium (also known as a tank) must be quite big at first. Skinks prefer huge tanks in comparison to other lizards, and a 55-gallon tank is the smallest suitable size for them.
The footprint of a modest desk would be roughly eight cubic feet, which is roughly the size of this sized tank. If possible, try to get a bigger tank! The active creatures known as skinks.
In a bigger terrarium, your skink will have more places to explore and think about life. It’s easier to maintain terrariums that open from the front rather than the top.
Blue-Tongued Skink Lifespan
As you can see, blue-tongued skinks come in a variety of shapes and sizes, with each species and subspecies having its own lifespan and traits. The skink family, on the other hand, is long-lived in general. Be ready to commit at least twenty years if you’re thinking about acquiring a pet blue-tongued skink.
A captive skink can live between fifteen and twenty years, but some have been known to survive thirty-two years.