Blue Tongue Skink Care

Blue Tongue Skink Care

Blue Tongue Skink (Tiliqua spp.)

Popularity: Make good pets

Origin: Australia, Indonesia and New Guinea

Native habitat: Varies

Size: Up to over 2 feet

Lifespan: 15-20 years

Appearance: Considering the size of its body, the Blue Tongue Skink has very tiny feet and legs. It has a colorful cobalt blue tongue it uses in a dramatic fashion to startle, distract, and ward off predators. Their head is blunt, broad and triangular. They have a deep pink interior mouth. Coloration and markings are dark, mottled bands across the width of the body on a light brown grayish background.

Diet: Omnivorous – insects, gastropods, flowers, fruits and berries

Activities: Terrestrial, diurnal

Defense Mechanisms: The Skink uses its bright blue tongue to startle and ward off would-be predators.

BASIC CARE:

Housing and Furnishings

Blue Tongues need lots of room, so good housing would be a 55-gallon aquarium tank with a secure top and adequate ventilation. They need hiding places such as a hide box, rock caves or half logs. Some climbing branches should be included in the enclosure. They are not social, so house them alone to prevent fighting.

Substrate

Good substrate is aspen shavings, mulch or reptile bedding. Leave one end of the tank a little damper, or have a humidity retreat box with damp sphagnum moss or a damp towel in it. They like to borrow, so accommodate them by making the substrate deep enough for that.

Temperature

Maintain daytime ambient temperatures in the 75 to 85 degree F. range during the day. They can be below the 60s at night. Maintain nighttime temperatures by using ceramic heat emitters. Create a basking area of 95 to 100 degrees. Use a variety of combinations of overhead lamps and under-tank heat pads to maintain temperatures. Screen them off or position them outside of the tank to avoid burning the reptile. Use thermometers to measure temperatures in all three ranges.

Lighting

Give your Blue Tongue Skink at least 5% UVB rays for 10-12 hours per day with full spectrum fluorescent bulbs designed specifically for reptiles. The UVB light source should be within 12 inches of the animal. The lizard needs a day/night cycle, so make sure they also get 12 hours of darkness by turning the lights off at night.

Feeding

Feed the Blue Tongue a diet of 60 percent fruits and vegetables and 40 percent insects. Good choices include beans, squash, leafy greens, bananas, melon, super worms, cricket, roaches and horned worms. Rinse, dry and cut fruits and vegetables before serving. Feed adults 3-4 times a week: babies less than 3 months daily. If an adult gets chunky, cut back on feedings. Provide calcium and vitamin supplements as part of the diet. Leave a large, shallow bowl of fresh water in the tank for drinking and bathing and change it every day.

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