How to Keep Your New Blue-Tongue Skink

Aqualand's inside scoop on Tiliqua gigas (probably)

 
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Blue-Tongue Skink Factoids

Origin

New Guinea (probably)

Temperature

75 to 85 with a warmer basking area

Size 12 to 24 inches

Substrate

Cypress, aspen, or bark chips.  Likes to dig.

Temperament Easily tameable

Security

Not skittish but likes a hide box

Foods

Omnivore -- Julienne salads.  Hold the dressing.

Water Give yours a large bowl to loaf in

Supplements

Depends on what you feed

Lighting

Almost all lizards need full-spectrum

 

 

LA
One mellow fellow.

LA
Not all blue-tongue skinks are equally mellow.

LA
Especially if you tick him off.

Origin:  Most blue-tongue skinks probably come from New Guinea.  They also are found in Australia and Tasmania, but since Australia pretty much prohibits the export of all animals ours probably come from New Guinea. 

LA
Room temp or cash register temp works fine most of the time.

Temperature:  Since you dropped some big bucks on your blue-tongue skink, you better keep him warm.  You can warm them up like an iguana.  Shoot for a 75 to 85 degree gradient.  Then add a basking light at one end to make it even warmer.  Make sure he can get away from the hot spot.  You don’t want to dry him out.

LA
Depending on how you measure this blue-tongue skink, he's 12-inches long.

 

Size:  Blue-tongue skinks grow to 24-inches depending on whether you measure yours from snout to vent or from snout to end of tail.  And since you wont know his full growth for 15 years, lets just say he grows to a nice handleable size.

LA
Here he sits atop (usually under) cypress mulch.

Substrate:  What you put on the bottom of your blue-tongue skinks cage can make a big difference.  Never use cedar.  We killed a bunch of box turtles with cedar once.  Lots of substrates work well.  If you make it thick, you will not see your skink.  He knows that if had burrowed deeper in the first place, he would not be depending on you to buy his lunch.

Security:  He digs under his substrate for security.  If you skimp on your substrate, hed appreciate a hide box to ...  well, hide in, get away from you, snooze in, or just get away from the pressures of this modern world.  If you put a moist substrate in his hide box, he also gets the humidity he craves.  High humidity also helps your blue-tongue skink shed his skin.

LA
Looking fierce in his spare time.  Looking for tasty fingers?

LA
Blue-tongued skinks are probably the mellowest lizard.  Expensive even at finger size.

Temperament:  Blue-tongue skinks would be as popular as bearded dragons if they didnt cost five to ten times as much.  Blue-tongues have a very nice personality, once they get to know you.  At first they run from you, open their mouth threateningly, and hiss louder than a herd of Madagascar cockroaches.  

LA
Checking out one of the omnivore commercial foods.

LA
No doubt that this guy likes the cubed food.

LA
This guy's wrestling with a Madagascar hissing roach.  Peach baby food in front.

LA
Whipping it back and forth knocked his aspen substrate into his peach baby food.

LA
But he licked the platter clean (except for the aspen).

LA
Checking out the unsweetened apple sauce.

LA
Here he's checking out the berry-flavored apple sauce.

LA
Grated carrots also hit the spot.

LA

Omnivores:  “Omnivore” means he eats both plant and animal matter.  Young blue-tongue skinks like the wiggly foods -- crickets, mealworms, other bugs, and probably an entire laundry list of other live foods.  But make sure you give them plenty of salad bar foods.  They also like fruit.  We like the convenience of the food cubes that come in pouches.  They keep well in the fridge until you need them.  Frozen vegetables can cause some real problems so avoid feeding them on a regular basis.  Occasional small feedings of nearly anything rarely hurt.

LA
Don't give this guy too many vitamins.

Supplements:  If you feed a good variety of foods, you likely will not need supplements.  However, a good calcium/vitamin powder on his MREs once a week couldnt hurt.  Just add the powder lightly.

 

Water:  Give your blue-tongue skink a really large water bowl.  You want one he can slide into and relax.  He also defecates in the water, so change it often.

LA
Ever try photographing a moving tongue?

LA
It's easier to photograph that tongue when he's upset.

Lighting:  You can’t name many lizards that do well without full-spectrum fluorescent lighting -- fluorescent so you get the UVB your blue-tongue skink needs to grow his bones.  Very few of the incandescent bulbs can crank out UVB.  They still say full-spectrum.  They are not. 

LA
Good looking and well mannered.

LA
Blue-tongues get along fine with people -- not so well with other lizards.

LA
Looking frowny but really a mellow fellow.

Last Words:  If blue-tongue skinks were not so expensive, they would be one of the most popular lizards in the world.  LA

© 2005, © 2006  LA Productions

3600 Sixth Avenue

Corner of Sixth & Euclid Avenues

Des Moines, IA 50313

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