Blue-Tongue Skink Pet Care
The Blue-Tongue Skink is native to Australia. The most common type seen in pet stores and at reptile shows is the Eastern Blue-Tongue Skink. They are typically light brown, striped with dark brown bands. The average length of these skinks ranges between 17-21 inches, with some reaching 24 inches. These lizards tend to be tolerant of handling, rivaling the tolerance of a bearded dragon. But just like any animal, they are all different. I have had a few blue-tongue skinks that needed a bit of time to calm down before being handled.
The information provided below is how I have cared for my blue-tongue skinks. There are many care sheets out there and many of them are useful. I am just giving a personal account of these wonderful reptiles.
Blue-Tongue Skink Habitat
Blue-Tongue Skinks need a large terrarium. The best tanks you can get are either a 40 gallon breeder tank or a 110 quart Sterilite container. These tanks offer a large surface area for you skink to move around comfortably. I use the bedding that many rabbits and guinea pigs use. It almost looks like wet cardboard. I use this because it does not promote mold growth, it is digestible, and it can hold humidity well too. Another aspect I really enjoy about it is that it does not stick to your skink like coconut fiber or sand, making handling a less messy experience. The substrate is also excellent at absorbing excrement and makes spot cleaning easy. I provide a water bowl large enough for the skink to soak in and a hide box as well. They do not climb and seem to spend most of their time burrowed.
Blue-Tongue Skink Lighting
Blue-Tongue Skinks require an overall ambient tank temperature around 80 degrees. The cool side of the tank should not get below 70 and the warm side, under the basking spot, should be around 90-92 degrees. Be sure to give your skink this temperature gradient so he can thermoregulate properly. Underneath the basking spot, I place a rock for the skink to bask on effectively. The tank also needs UVA/UVB lighting as well. Although many skinks may hide most of the time, the UV rays help the skink to digest and absorb its food.
Blue-Tongue Skink Humidity and Water Needs
The humidity levels for blue-tongue skinks are not terribly hard to keep. Providing a large water bowl, large enough for the blue-tongue skink to completely soak, should be enough to keep the tank at a humidity of 25-40%. If you are not sure, a light, morning mist can also be done daily. If you notice you skink is about to shed, a moderate misting will help aid in the shedding. As with leopard geckos, skinks have similar problems with toe shed completion. Read my Leopard Gecko Shedding Problems hubs for tips on how to help your skink shed completely.
Blue-Tongue Skink Diet
Blue-Tongue Skinks are omnivorous, meaning they eat both meat and vegetation. For the best diet, try giving your skink 50% vegetation and 50% animal protein. For the vegetation, offer collard greens, mustard greens, turnip greens, greens beans, and squash. You can give fruits such as mango, blueberries, and cantaloupe, but fruits only need to be 10% of the vegetation diet. In all honesty, many of my skinks do not eat fruit. As far as the protein, skinks can be given crickets, roaches, earthworms, and pinkie or fuzzy mice. Base most of the diet on crickets, roaches, and earthworms and give mice as a treat or if your skink is pregnant. Other than that, I do not offer mice that often. My skinks love earthworms the best and then roaches. Crickets can be too quick for some adults. A quick note about earthworms: do not use worms you find in your garden or outside. Earthworms that are wild caught tend to have pesticides or fertilizer in them which will poison your skink once consumed. Many bait shops and pet shops offer worms. It is also popular to offer wet cat food to your skink. This is ok once in a while too. I am a very naturalistic feeder, so wet cat food is only given as a treat. Wet dog food does not have the high protein content like cat food does, so avoid the wet dog food.
Blue-Tongue Skink Temperament and Handling
Blue-Tongue Skinks are generally docile lizards. Many Blue-Tongue Skinks tolerate handling well. Some will need a bit more work to calm down and accept handling readily, and some will always want to bite before being held. I have had some skinks that will allow me to scoop them up without any problems. I also have a skink, my favorite, who will always try to bite me when I touch him before I pick him up. He will try a bite, flash his tongue, and then he calms down. After that, he tolerates the handling well.
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