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BLUE TONGUE SKINK

blue tongue skink
















Reptile Rapture,
6308 Monona dr, Monona WI 53516

608-221-0094, www.reptilerapture.net

BLUE TONGUE SKINK Caresheet

Common Name: Blue Tongue Skink
Scientific Name: Tiliqua scincoides,
T. g. evanescens, Tiliqua sp.
Origin: Australia and surrounding
Size: 18" - 24" head to tail
Lifespan: 15 - 20 years

You will find many ways on the internet on "how to" take care of this animal. This care sheet is showing the way we found works best for us from our many years of experience of caring for this species.

HOUSING
In the wild, blue tongue skinks spend more of their time on or near the ground. So floor space is more important than height in your enclosure. Young blues up to about 6 months of age can be housed in a 20 gal long enclosure or Exo Terras 18" x 18" x 12". They are best kept singly. Sometimes two females will get along, but not always. One adult can be housed in a minimum of a 36" long enclosure. Exo Terra's 36" x 18" x 18" or Zilla's 30 breeder critter cage both work well. If you have the space, you can go bigger.

They like to dig so provide a loose substrate such as Zillas Jungle Mix. Also, provide a hiding place for them to feel safe when they are sleeping. This can be as simple as a piece of driftwood that is raised enough for them to go under or a reptile hide like Zillas bark bend.


LIGHTING & TEMPERATURES

These skinks come from a harsh environment and as such are quite hardy creatures. However, like all reptiles, they are dependent on thermoregulation to control their body temperature. This essentially means you need to provide a hot side and a cool side to your enclosure. All the heat elements should be on one side and the other will be the cool side. This way your blue tongue can move back and forth between the different temperatures depending on its needs.

A basking area of 90-100 degrees should be provided. The rest of the enclosure can be in the 75-82 range. At night, temps can drop to as low as 70 degrees. Use a good quality temperature gauge, like Zoo Meds digital temp gauge or Exo Terras Thermometer. The easiest way to increase the heat in your enclosure is with a Reptile basking bulb and/or an Exo terra or Zoo Med heat pad.

In addition to heat, blue tongues need UVB lighting to help them absorb calcium and to synthesize vitamin D3. Since they are not out in natural sunlight in our homes, we must provide UVB light in the form of a special fluorescent bulb designed to produce UVB rays.

The best bulbs are the mercury vapors such as Exo Terra's Solar Glo bulbs, ZooMed's Powersun, or Solar bright bulbs. These provide heat and UVB all in one bulb. You can also use separate basking (heat) bulb and UVB bulbs. If you use these you will want the Zoo Med 5.0 or Exo Terra UVB 100 variety.


HUMIDITY
Always provide a nice sized water dish with fresh water. Skinks like to drink, quite a lot. You might have to change the water everyday if your lizard defecates or kicks bedding into it. Scrub the bowl at least once a week to keep bacteria slime from building up.

Northern blues like 25-40% humidity, while more tropical varieties like the Indonesian, Irian Jaya, and others like 40-45% humidity. Misting the enclosure once a day will usually provide enough moisture for your blue tongue, but a nice humidity gauge can help you in this area. Hand misters are usually sufficient but if you don't care to remember to mist, an automatic mister like the Exo Terra monsoon is a nice option. Exo terras reptile fountain provides bubbling water and will also help raise humidity levels. Exo Terra bowls or Flukers rock dish are nice naturalistic non-porous water bowls.


FEEDING
Blue tongue are omnivores. As such, they have quite a varied diet. They will eat proteins, vegetables/greens and fruits. Variety is important. Don't always feed them the same things. Adults can be fed 2-3 times a week. Young skinks are better fed every other day. When you feed, you can give as much as they want in one sitting. Feed on a shallow dish, not directly on the substrate. Remove any uneaten food.

Make sure to supplement your skinks food at least every other feeding with calcium and vitamins such as Repashy Calcium Plus or Zoo Med Reptivite with D3.

SUGGESTED FOODS
Proteins:
Live bugs crickets, dubia roaches, mealworms, hornworms, etc
Canned insects, snails
Shrimp
Hard-boiled or scrambled eggs
Chicken (cooked)
Ground turkey (cooked)
Lean ground beef (cooked)
Boiled organ meats
Pinky mice (live or frozen/thawed)
Fruits and Veggies:
Turnip greens
Mustard greens
Collard greens
Peas
Carrots
Squashes
Dandelions (pesticide free)
Hibiscus flowers (pesticide free)
Banana (in moderation)
Apricots
Mango
Raspberries
Figs
Papaya
Cantaloupe
Strawberries
Blueberries


TEMPERAMENT
Blue tongues can be quite friendly and are a good first lizard choice. They tolerate quite a lot of handling. Start slow with your new pet and gradually increase the amount of time you hold it. It won't be long before your blue tongue gets used to being held.