Blue tongue skink care sheet
Blue-tongue skinks for sale are forest floor dwelling lizards with large, smooth, flat scales; a wide head and a bright blue tongue. These lizards can grow to around 50 to 60cm in length and can live for longer than 10 years. They are omnivores and will eat a very wide range of foods including plant matter and live insects. In the wild, they will also eat carrion and any mammals, reptiles, birds or amphibians they can find, though snails are their main food source and should be included in captivity.
Before acquiring a baby blue tongue skink (BTS) you must be sure that you are able to provide the correct care and associated costs for its whole life. There are many species and subspecies including beautiful Northern blue tongue skinks for sale available so you must be sure to have correctly identified the species you keep. Some are farmed in their native range but you should only obtain a skink bred in captivity in this country.
Blue tongue skink Temperature
Reptiles are ‘ectothermic’ meaning they use their environment to warm up and cool down, so you need to create a ‘thermogradient’. This means positioning the heat source at one end of the vivarium, leaving the other end cooler, so the reptile can move around to regulate its body temperature. Create a ‘basking zone’ for your skink – the warmest area in the vivarium. Use a suitable wattage halogen heat lamp or ceramic (non-light emitting) heater, pointing downwards.
Heat lamps must be guarded to prevent burns or injuries in case the bulb shatters. A thermostat must be used with all heat sources. This is a simple device that measures the temperature and prevents the vivarium overheating, via a probe placed above the substrate. Adjust the thermostat temperature and check with a digital thermometer that the basking zone is between 30 to 32oC, up to 35oC for younger skinks. The cool end should measure 22 to 25oC. The temperature should only drop to 20 to 22oC at night so you may need to fit a ceramic heater with a thermostat.
Blue tongue skink for sale Humidity
A hygrometer should be purchased to measure the humidity at the cool end, which should normally be around 40 to 45% for Tiliqua gigas. Australian species, on the other hand, such as Tiliqua scincoides, need drier environments so always be sure to check your species’ humidity requirements. You can boost humidity by spraying the enclosure with clean water. If it is too high, the vivarium will need more ventilation.
Blue tongue skink for sale – UV Light
Reptiles use natural daylight to set their day and night patterns. The blue-tongue skink has fairly thick skin that offers it some protection from the sun in the wild, so we need to provide an adequate source of light including ultraviolet (UV). Blue-tongue skinks can see part of UV light, called UVa, essential for their colour vision. Another very important part is UVb, which allows the lizard to make vitamin D3.
This allows the lizard to store and use calcium, an essential mineral. UV energy cannot pass through glass, so placing the enclosure near a window will do nothing but increase the overheating risk. A reptile UVb lamp must be used inside the vivarium alongside the basking lamp. In a vivarium of 60cms high, a 6% UVb tube, around half the length of the vivarium should be used. The UV lamp should be attached to the roof of the vivarium with the correct length reflector. Light and shade need to be provided to allow the animal to self-regulate, so make sure the tube is in the hot side. This will leave the cool end more shaded. UVb output decreases over time, so the UV lamp should be changed according to the instructions – usually annually.
Blue tongue skink light timer
Turn off all lights at night to simulate night-time; a 10- hour light/14-hour dark, or 12-hour light/12-hour dark cycle is needed to keep your skink healthy. This can be controlled using a simple plug-in timer. Cleaning Poorly maintained enclosures can become dirty quickly and create a health risk for you and your pet. BTS droppings are quite wet and will be made up of fecal waste (the dark part) and urates (the white part). Waste should be ‘spot cleaned’ as soon as it appears.
The vivarium should be completely cleaned with a reptile safe disinfectant once a month. Carefully wipe the walls, glass, and decoration. Reptiles can carry Salmonella, so wash your hands before and after cleaning or handling to prevent the spread of infection.
Blue tongue skink Diet
Water is essential to the health and wellbeing of the blue-tongue skink. A large, shallow dish should be provided at all times with clean, fresh water placed in the cool end. Some skinks will drink standing water but if not, you should lightly spray the vivarium with water every day or every other day, depending on the humidity, to allow the skink to collect droplets of water to drink as they do in the wild. Replace the water every day and if your skink goes to the toilet in the bowl.
Feeding your baby Blue tongue skink
It is essential to provide a varied diet of appropriatelysized live insects, such as crickets, ‘calciworms’, ‘waxmoth larvae’, fruit beetle grubs, dubia cockroaches, silkworms and locusts every day. Remove uneaten crickets or locusts as they can bite the skink. You need to research the safe plants and vegetables to feed and provide these at all times. Avoid feeding too much spinach as this prevents calcium absorption. Also avoid too much kale as this can affect hormone production. Remove uneaten green food every day and replace with fresh. It is vital that the feeder insects are ‘gut-loaded’ with safe vegetables and hydrated well for their own welfare and so that the nutrients are passed onto the skink.
Blue Tongue Skink Substrate
Substrate is the name for the floor covering in your vivarium. It is important as it permits natural behaviours. You need to use a thick layer of substrate – about 4 inches – as blue-tongue skinks like to burrow. You can use a mixture of coco bark and coconut coir and could add some sand for the Australian species. Always use reptile-safe sand such as clean children’s play sand rather than builders’ sand, which has sharp edges. Do not use unnatural or indigestible substrates such as ‘calci-sand’, beech chips, corn cob granules or crushed walnut shells.
They are dangerous because they can clog the digestive tract and cause a blockage in a condition called ‘impaction’.
Keeping multiple pet skinks for sale together
It is advised that you keep skinks separately due to their territorial nature. When housed together, they can bite each other’s feet or even kill each other. Handling Blue-tongue skinks can tolerate human interaction and handling after settling in. They do have a fairly strong bite and need time to get used to you. Never grab them as this can cause stress. The skink should be gently scooped up with both hands so all four legs are supported.
If your skink backs away from you or opens its mouth to display its tongue, it is better to wait for another time. Reptiles should not be removed from the vivarium for so long that their core temperature drops. Around ten to fifteen minutes is a safe period for this, depending on the temperature outside of the vivarium. Blue-tongues have quite sharp nails so take care that they do not get them stuck in carpet or clothing.