Why own a blue tongue skink?
Ø Blue tongue skinks (BTs) may be the easiest of all lizards to keep.
Ø They are great pets for reptile enthusiasts of all levels.
Ø They have tons of personality and great dispositions.
Ø BTs have simple caging requirements and uncomplicated diets.
Ø Live food is not required, so there is no need to run to the pet store and buy crickets.
Ø They are very curious, which is a mark of intelligence.
Ø They are extremely hardy and docile.
Ø BTs have a life expectancy of 15-20+ years.
Ø BTs are often listed as one of the top five reptile choices for children and beginners.
Ø Many reptiles don’t like to be handled, some tolerate it, but BTs seem to enjoy the attention.
Ø They will consistently reward and surprise their keepers with their friendly and curious personalities.
Ø They are the ultimate pet lizard!
Blue Tongue Skink Care Sheet
Care sheet for the Northern blue tongue skink (Tiliqua scincoides intermedia).
This care sheet applies specifically to the Northern blue tongue skink but most species and sub-species
of blue tongue skinks can be kept using these guidelines.
Blue Tongue Skink Introduction
Blue tongue skink Availability
Northern blue tongue skinks range in price from $150-$250 for babies and adults. High colored or rare examples may be more. Rare blue tongue skinks such as Centralians and Shinglebacks will cost $1500-$5000 each.
Blue tongue skink Size
Blue tongue skink Life Span
Blue tongue skink Housing
Baby blue tongues should be housed in specialty plastic cages, terrariums or 10-20 gallon glass tanks with full screen tops. Babies should always be kept separately. Adult blue tongue skinks require an enclosure at least 36”L x 18”W x 10”H with a full screen top. Blue tongues are terrestrial and prefer floor space over climbing area. Larger enclosures will be appreciated. Blue tongue skinks are best kept separately. You may be able to house females together, or a male and female pair, but observe any cage mates very closely. If they fight, then keep them in separate cages. Males should never be kept together.
Blue tongue skink Lighting and Temperature
Blue tongue skink enclosures should have temperatures on the cool side of 75-82°F and the cool side can drop to 70°F at night. The warm end of the enclosure should have a basking area of 90-100°F. This can be accomplished with an under tank heater, an incandescent basking light (or heat emitter), or a combination. Overhead lamps are appreciated as they allow the skink to bask. All heating and lighting devices should be placed on the warm end of the enclosure. If an under tank heater is provided, overhead heating devices can be turned off at night. Daylight bulbs should be on a maximum of 12 hours each day.
Conflicting opinions about the blue tongue skink’s need for full-spectrum lighting are held. There are several documented cases of blue tongues being raised successfully without any exposure to full-spectrum lighting. I do suggest UVB lighting in enclosures and UVB is generally recommended for keeping blue tongue skinks. UVB lights should be on 8-12 hours each day. Any UVB bulb will also provide UVA which is beneficial to blue tongue skinks.
Blue tongue skink Substrate and Accessories
Blue tongues may climb over rocks and logs but they are not good climbers so be sure they cannot fall from high ledges. Proper housing accessories include cork bark, Mopani wood, logs, large rocks and hide boxes or shelters. Do not clutter the cage as blue tongues enjoy plenty of open space. Any elaborate decorations will be rearranged by skinks.
Blue tongue skink Diet and Feeding
A quality vitamin/calcium supplement with vitamin D3 may be important, especially if the diet is not varied and well-rounded. A sprinkle over the food every third feeding is sufficient for adults (every other meal for young blue tongues). Varying opinions occur about the need for this supplementation, but it is usually recommended.
Below is a list of menu items for your blue tongues. Feel free to try other possibilities but avoid citrus, avocado, eggplant, rhubarb and high sodium canned meats/foods.
· Canned super premium dog/cat food
· Dry super premium dog/cat food (moistened)
· Canned insect products (any variety, but snails are a favorite)
· Mealworms and Superworms
· Hard-boiled eggs
· Boiled chicken
· Ground turkey (cooked)
· Lean ground beef (cooked)
· Pinky Mice (live or frozen/thawed, but only occasionally)
FRUITS & VEGGIES:
· Collard Green
· Turnip Greens
· Mustard Greens
· Squash (including spaghetti, scallop, butternut, acorn, Hubbard, etc.)
· Brussel sprouts
· Dandelions (pesticide free)
· Hibiscus flowers (pesticide free)
Several brands of dog/cat food are available with good ingredients. If feeding canned dog/cat foods, be sure to feed only super premium foods with no by-products and no meat/bone meal. Many foods are also available with fruits and vegetables included, which is not a substitute for fresh foods, but is better than 100% protein foods. Cat foods usually contain twice the protein of dog foods. I suggest dog food diets for blue tongues over cat foods. If a skink appears thin or has just been rescued from improper conditions, cat/kitten food will help add weight. Cat food may also be fed to breeding skinks. Be sure to read the label on all foods and see the notes below.
Many reptile (and even dog/cat) foods on the market contain little or no nutrition, despite what they advertise with the false information on their packaging or television. See the guideline below for foods with little or no nutrition (don't believe their packaging). If they contain any or all of the ingredients listed below, they are a low quality food.
Below is a simple guideline for foods NOT to use:
· Corn based foods
· Foods containing artificial colors
· Foods containing by-products (i.e. chicken by-products)
· Foods containing meat/bone meal
· Water as main ingredient
Blue tongue skink Water and Humidity
Blue tongue skink Handling and Temperament
Blue tongue skink Final Words
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