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  • Blue Tongue Skink


      Tiliqua scincoides

      Overview Blue Tongue Skinks are native to Australia and make great pets! They are docile, tame, and friendly and don’t cause allergies like some house hold pets. They are also easy to maintain and to setup.

      Description: Blue Tongues are a large terrestrial lizard measuring up to 40 centimetres long and 700 grams in mass. It has a stout body and short legs they can be variable in colour but generally has a banded pattern, they get their name from the cobalt blue tongue they have wic they stick out if threatened. They are diurnal, active during the day. and ovoviviparous, (the eggs hatching inside the female's body);usually having 5 to 25 live young per litter. They can live over 30 years. 

      Classed as a pest species with some regional councils in New Zealand.


      Enclosure : As Blue tongue Skinks get fairly large when they reach full size. At 60cm when fully grown they need a big enclosure. But since they grow quite slowly they can be kept in smaller enclosures to begin with.

      Number / Body length / Enclosure length x width x height

      1-3 / Juveniles - 0mm-160mm / 900 x 300 x 300 mm

      1-3 / Sub Adults - 200-300mm / 1200 x 500 x 400 mm

      1-2 / Adults - 300mm + / 1800 x 600 x 600 mm


      Blue Tongue Skinks can have a wide range of substrate, what you choose depends whether you are going to be feeding your Skink in its enclosure or out of it.

      Aspen - This substrate is quite good and their burrowing habits are met and is a relatively safe substrate,

      Artificial grass - I recommend this substrate as it is totally safe and is easy to clean and you can feed in the enclosure, just ensure the edges have no loose fibres they can ingest (I usually use a lighter to melt it).

      Coir coconut fibre - this is a good substrate as it is digestible and Blue Tongue Skinks can burrow into it, but it is quite moist.

      A 40% sand 60% topsoil mix is excellent if going for a more Bioactive setup.


      Plants make the vivarium more natural for the Blue Tongue Skinks, Carex and Tussock grasses are fairly robust or use fake plants as Blue Tongue Skinks may eat real plants and they could be poisonous or dangerous.


      Rocks and logs look nice in your Blue Tongue Skinks vivarium but make sure they are sterile, this can be done by boiling for a few minutes, don’t use any chemicals. Make sure they are not sharp and can’t fall on your Blue Tongue Skinks.

      Make sure your blue tongue has a cave, have one on the cool end and the warm end.


       Blue Tongue Skinks are active during the day so they must have uvb/uva light!

       There are special reptile lights that mimic the sun and give out these rays, an ordinary bulb won’t do!  One of the most commonly used bulbs is the “repti glow” they have a range of U.V ray wave lengths, these range from the weakest to the strongest 2.0, 5.0, 8.0 and 10.0 the higher the number the more U.V rays. T5 flourescents either 7 or 12% are considered the best available lighting.

       Since Blue Tongue Skinks live in the forest the 5.0 is best but it depends what type of Blue Tongue Skinks you are keeping.

       UV bulbs need to be replaced once a year.

       Make sure you read the manufacturers guidelines and warnings


      Eastern Blue Tongue Skinks need a temperature gradient of around 29-24 c and the basking temperature 35 c, make sure there is a cool and warm end so they can regulate their own temperature. For heat sources you can buy special heat lamps from pet stores they get really hot they must have a ceramic fitting since they will melt an ordinary lighting fixture. Heat mats are not necessary as they can get all their heat from their heat lamp and they can cause a serious fire hazard I had one that was sitting on a tile and it still burnt through the plastic, cracked the glass tank bottom, and turned the carpet underneath to ash.

      Water and Humidity

      Clean water should always be accessible in an appropriate water dish. Blue-tongued skinks are not good swimmers and must be able to easily exit the water bowl or be able to tip the bowl  over. As they are from semi-dry areas and require low humidity with adequate ventilation. Humidity levels ranging between 25 and 40 percent use a hygrometer to monitor humidity levels.


      A blue tongues diet should consist of 50% veggies, 40% Protein (meats and insects), and 10% fruit.

      Veggies:  you can use puha(water cress), broccoli, tomatoes, zucchini, peas,mustard greens,grated butternut squash and dandelions (should be mixed with other veggies).

      Protien- Tinned dog food, dog chow, crickets, snails (no need to take the shell off), mice (don't leave in at night or unsupervised as they are known to bite as a defence or gnaw on lethargic reptiles the same applies for crickets and locust) ,mealworms, earthworms, tiger worms, cockroaches, lean red meat, mince, and raw or boiled egg.

      Fruits:  you can use, apples, strawberries, bananas, pear, figs, melon, plums, kiwifruit and raisins. - Avoid citrus, avocado, eggplant, rhubarb and high-sodium canned meats/foods.

      - Calcium supplements with vitamin d3 are great for your reptile but DO NOT OVER DOSE AS IT COULD BE FATAL!

      Handling and Temperament

      While many reptiles do not like to be handled at all, and some merely tolerate it, blue-tongued skinks are very personable and often seem to enjoy being scratched on the head or chin. They seem to enjoy the attention.


      Blue Tongue Skinks are active during the day but tend to sit in their caves a lot. You can encourage them out by removing their caves for an hour or so each day. They each have their own personalities and their own tastes and what they like and dislike. Unless you have a really large enclosure Blue Tongue Skinks should not be kept with other reptiles, feeding habits and enclosure requirements make them incompatible.

      Some like to be handled but some don't also always wash your hands before and after handling as all reptiles have the possibility to carry salmonella.

      Keeping blue tongues together can be good or bad. Blue tongues in groups to me, tend to be more active alert and entertaining but there is a downside. Blue tongues skinks are solitary by nature usually only coming together to breed, thus they aren't friendly to each other two males put together can create territorial problems and they will fight. Also having mixed sized blue tongue skinks meaning the heavier, fatter and larger ones may crush small innocent blue tongues. It is really up to you but if you see any aggression i advise you separate them.





      A state of hibernation that worries most reptile keepers,  some reptiles go into this when food supplies dwindle in the wild, at the onset of autumn or winter your lizard may refuse to eat for long periods of time, or become increasingly inactive and lethargic, how and where they brumate can be varied for different individual reptiles within a species. Brumation can last anything from one week to 4 or more months, during this period their metabolism slows right down and some may wake have a drink and go back to sleep again. Don’t try to force water or food on the reptile during this period and try to minimise disturbing it also, though a quick check to ensure it is alright is okay.  Let your animal decide what it wants and needs, youngsters often times do not brumate the first year but adults do,, once they wake up they may take a couple of days to get back to their normal behaviour and eating.


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