6308 Monona dr, Monona WI 53516
PINK TONGUE SKINK CaresheetCommon Name: Pink tongue skink
Scientific Name: Hemisphaeriodon gerrardii
Origin: Eastern Australia
Size: 17” 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 years of experience of caring for this species.
Yes, they get their name from the color of the adults tongue. Babies, however have black tongues that change as they grow. In the wild, pink tongue skinks are semi-arboreal. They like climbing in branches, scrabbling in and over rocks ledges as well as spending time on the ground. So you want to give them some height in your enclosure. Young pinks up to about 8 months of age can be housed in a 20 gal enclosure or Exo Terras 18" x 18" x 18". They are more slender than the blue tongues and shorter. Half of their length is a prehensile tail. So they can use it as extra “limb” when climbing. One adult can be housed in a minimum of a 24" long enclosure. Exo Terra's 24" x 18" x 18" or Zilla's 40 breeder critter cage both work well. If you want more than one you will have to go bigger. 1-2 females and one male usually works ok. However, you want to make sure they all have a nice separate hiding spot and are not fighting over the same hide/sleeping area. Two males will fight.
They like to dig so provide a loose substrate such as Zillas Jungle Mix. Also, provide climbing structures like magnetic ledges or upright pieces of cork.
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 pink tongue can move back and forth between the different temperatures depending on its needs.
A basking area of 90-95 degrees should be provided. The rest of the enclosure can be in the 75-82 range. At night, temps can drop to the mid 70s. 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, we suggest the use of 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.
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. Exo Terra bowls or Flukers rock dish are nice naturalistic non-porous water bowls.
Humidity should be around 50-60%. For these guys misting once a day in dry climates is fine. If you live in a moister area you may not need to mist everyday except while your pink tongue is in shed. Hand misters are usually sufficient. Another alternative is to provide a humid hide on the cool side.
Pink tongues are semi-omnivores. They eat a lot of proteins, very little greens, some fruits & flowers. Variety is good. Don't always feed them the same things. Adults can be fed 3 times a week. Young skinks are better fed every day or every other day. Depending on their appetite. 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.
Live bugs crickets, dubia roaches, mealworms, phoenix worms, etc
Canned insects, snails
Hard-boiled or scrambled eggs
Ground turkey (cooked)
Lean ground beef (cooked)
Boiled organ meats
Pinky mice (live or frozen/thawed)
Repashy’s Bluey Buffet, meat pie, or grub pie
Mazuri’s Omnivore diet (moistened in water)
Fruits to try:
Banana (in moderation)
Pink tongues are quite laid back and are a good beginner lizard choice. They tolerate a decent amount of handling. Just start slow with your new pet and gradually increase the amount of time you hold it. It won't be long before your pink tongue gets used to being held.