Blue Tongue Skink
Blue tongue skinks are part of a huge family of skinks. They have distinctive features like a big triangle head, stumpy legs and a bright blue tongue
Blue tongues originate in Australian. In some areas, blue tongues make useful garden wildlife as they eat snails, slugs and other garden pests
The Northern Blue Tongue Skink is the largest blue tongue, they can grow up to 60cm.
They can be hard to sex and its usually easier to compare several of the same size to work out the gender. Males have a larger head than females and a thicker tail base
HOUSING YOUR BLUE TONGUE:
Blue Tongue Skinks enjoy a terrestrial enclosure with floor space to exhibit their natural behaviours in the wild. They enjoy hiding under rocks and wood but this should be placed at floor level, avoid stacking rocks or décor which can fall and injure the skink.
Skinks require a forest type enclosure with a suitable substrate such as cypress mulch, fir bark or aspen and soil based substrates should be avoided as they can be toxic to skinks. Ensure there is not too much humidity so mulch may need to be dried out if it causes a high level of humidity in the tank.
Set ups are available for Blue Tongue skinks, we recommend a minimum of a large reptihome or 4ft tank. There are larger terrestrial tanks available which offer more depth and floor space for the skink. You can choose to get a smaller tank and upgrade as required but the larger tanks can be adapted for hatchlings with additional décor preventing the need for upgrading at a later date.
Skinks need both heat and UVB in order to receive the correct parameters which they would in the wild. They also require calcium plus D3 which aids in healthy bone development. A water and food bowl should be provided with fresh water daily.
Spot cleaning can be carried out as required, we advise a full clean every 4 weeks or sooner if needed.
Blue tongues require a mixed diet of 50% vegetables, 40% protein and 10% fruit and should be fed every other day when young and every 2-3 days as adults.
HANDLING YOUR BLUE TONGUE:
Blue tongues can be skitty and take time and patience when handling. We recommend beginning handling your skink in the palm of your flat hand inside the vivarium in case it panics and runs away. Once you have handled your skink inside the tank a few times, we recommend handling over a flat surface so that the skink does not fall from your hands.
Skinks are friendly lizards who will happily sit in your hands. Never approach your skink from above as they would be cautious of predators in the wild coming from above. Always gently scoop your skink from underneath, without restricting its movements. Always wash your hands before and after handling your skink to avoid transferring any chemicals on to its skin.
Genus, Species Tiliqua sp.
Adult Size 18-24 inches (species dependent)
Habitat Warm woodlands
Lifespan 10-20+ Years
Diet Protein 40%, Fruits 10% and veg 50%
Ambient Temp (f) 75-82
Basking Temp (f) 90-100
Humidity (%) 40-80 (species dependent)
Locality Australia Difficulty 3
Breeding Age Males 14-15 months, Females 24 months
Social Structure Live alone except breeding times
SEXING YOUR BLUE TONGUE:
Blue tongues are difficult to sex but can be easier if a group of skinks is available to compare. Often males will display mating behaviour or aggression towards other males making their sex clear from their behaviour.
Males tend to have larger heads and bulkier tails but once again this is hard to distinguish without another skink to compare with. Sexing is easier with sexually mature skinks once again down to the visible mating behaviour with other skinks.
Skinks live alone and should only be put together for breeding purposes or to check sexes– both should be supervised as skinks can become aggressive to one another.
Eyes– Eyes are clear with no sign of puss, inflammation or milky appearance. Eyes are free of black spots in corners which could signify mites.
Skin– The skin is clear of shed and there are no cuts or scrapes on the skinks skin. There are no areas where décor has caused injury and the animal has no dry shed retained on its feet or tail.
Limbs– All the limbs are moving correctly and the skink is able to walk and move normally. Skinks can suffer from a condition called MBD (metabolic bone disease). This occurs when they do not have enough calcium D3 and causes their bones to grow abnormally, eventually restricting their movements. MBD cannot be reversed so always dust livefood/veg with calcium D3.
Weight– Skinks should be fed the recommended percentages of food in order for them to receive a healthy diet. If over fed on protein, skinks can become overweight and this can cause a variety of health issues both external and internal.
If you notice that your skink is starting to look overweight, then adjust the diet by feeding smaller portions and trying to stick to the correct ratio or protein, veg and fruits.