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Blue Tongued Skink

Name Tiliqua gigas
Type Diurnal Lizard Burrows & Tunnels will climb
Where am I from? Australia, Indonesia
Handle-ability Can become very tame
Length/size ave 12 to 20 inches
Suitable for Beginner, robust lizard
Life span Ave 10 to 15 years

The blue tongued skink is widely regarded by lizard owners as their favourite pet lizard. Many lizard enthusiasts think of the blue tongued as much more intelligent than your average lizard.

Some say it's the look in their eyes, while others say they have proof-behaviourally speaking-of their Intellect.

They also seem to be rather appropriate for kids. Their legs are quite short, making them somewhat slow and easy to catch. They also seem to tame a little easier than your average lizard.

Housing

A skink is a mostly terrestrial lizard, spending their time on the ground and in fact burrowing quite frequently.

A minimum sized cage should be at least 48 inches long by 18 inches deep by 18 inches tall. Two hides need to be placed in the tank, one on the hot side one on the cold. Your blue tongued skink needs to be able to self regulate its temperature. This cuts down on the amount of stress your pet lizard will go through.

A temperature gradient is somewhat easily attained by putting your heat lamp at one end of the cage. This is where the 48 inch long tank comes in handy, because with a decent length -the temperatures can vary more easily.

The blue tongued likes to burrow, and probably the best substrate to use is Aspen shavings. There are a couple of different kinds, one being a shredded type, the other being a shavings type (larger pieces). You want the shavings type. The shredded type have rather small pieces and possibly could get ingested while your blue tongued skink attempts to eat his food.

While a blue tongued doesn't climb much, you might want to provide a short-easy to climb- fake rock structure to give your pet lizard some exercise and to give your skink something to engage with.

Even though a blue tongued skink's disposition is rather calm and friendly, never house skinks together. They, like most other lizards, are very territorial and will attack each other, possibly causing serious harm.

Lighting/temperature

A Blue tongued needs a UVB light source. Most lizards need a UVB light to produce vitamin D3 in which to absorb calcium.

A basking spot must be provided with a temperature range of 95° to 103°. The cooler side of the tank can drop from 75° to 80°.

Humidity levels must be maintained. Humidity levels should fall in the range of 20% to 45%. You might want to purchase a device that measures the humidity level.

A sturdy shallow bowl of water should be provided for your blue tongued skink. This will obviously provide water to your skink, as well as help you maintain the humidity level. Be sure and change the water every single day, as your skink will most definitely defecate in the water.

Food

A blue tongued skink is omnivorous. Their diet consists of roughly half greens and other veggies, half prey items -like butter worms, silkworms and the occasional pinky mouse; and small portions of various types of fruits.

The greens can consist of turnip greens, mustard greens, collard greens and bok choy. The fruits can consist of strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, apples and bananas.

As far as the insects, you want to make sure you gut load them 24 to 48 hours before you feed them to your skink.

Once a week, you should dust the insects or salad with a vitamin supplement and a calcium supplement.

For the insects and the salad, make sure the food is smaller than the skink's mouth. Chop the salad and fruit up into lizard sized pieces to provide a more manageable meal.

Blue tongued should be fed roughly every other day. If they don't show enough interest in their food, try switching to something you're not currently offering. Cooked chicken and turkey meat can be offered to get their appetite going. Offering the occasional small frozen mouse, or small live mouse can be offered once in a while.

Brumation

Brumation is the reptile equivalent of hibernation. In certain lizards natural habitats, winter season can bring about a lack of food. A blue tongued skink will usually enter into its Brumation around November and reawaken around February or March. Every skink is a little bit different from the next, so the more -fellow blue tongued owners you can find to get advice, the better.

If you purposely encourage your blue tongued skink to brumate, by lessening his food and lowering his temps, then make sure he has digested all of the food in his belly. You ideally need to make sure your skinks stomach is empty before you encourage him to brumate. This prevents any leftover food from rotting in his stomach, as he will not be able to digest it with the colder temps.

If you are serious about buying a blue tongued skink, then make sure you read several more care sheets and try to find a book or two to better prepare you for owning the fascinating lizard known as the blue tongued skink.