Blue Tongued Skinks

Image of a blue toungued skink.

Blue tongued skinks are quite and gentle, and quite easily tamed and handled. It is reported that even wild blue tongued skinks will sometimes allow themselves to be picked up without a struggle. Popular as pets, blue tongued skinks or "skinks" are moderately sized lizards native to Australia. They live in a variety of habitats, including grasslands, forests, rainforests, and deserts. They are now found all over the world as pets. They are not inexpensive to care for as they have, like many other lizards, strict nutritional and environmental requirements that need to be met for them to thrive. Fairly large at mature size of around 20 inches (snout to vent length of 12 inches), a good sized tank/cage will be required. The expected life span of a blue tongued skink is anywhere from 10-20 years, although with good attention to nutrition and the ideal environment, the high end of that range should be expected. However, they are social and easy to tame and handle, and show a range of fascinating behaviors that make them interesting to watch.

Care

  • Need a large enclosure such as a 40-55 gallon tank.
  • Being ground dwellers they don't need branches for climbing, but still need a secure lid.
  • Substrate: aspen wood shavings, cypress mulch, or even newspaper. Make sure they are not ingesting wood substrates.
  • Temperature: gradient from 75-85 F (24-29 C) with a basking spot of 95 F (35 C). A combination of undertank heating and a basking light on one side of the tank works well. Make sure the appropriate temperature gradient is provided by measuring temperatures in various spots around the tank. Night temperature can drop to about 70 F (21 C).
  • Light: in addition to the incandescent basking light, provide a full spectrum UVA/UVB light for 10-12 hours per day.
  • Water: provide a large shallow sturdy water dish. Skinks like to bathe in their water but often defecate there so frequent cleaning is required for the water dish.
  • Hides: a couple of sturdy hiding spots should be provided for skinks, which like to burrow and hide. Cork bark, wood, rocks, PVC pipes, or other hides can be used. Make sure wood pieces or rocks are firmly places so they will not fall on the lizard. A humidity hide (e.g. a plastic storage box with moss or cypress mulch to holds moisture) will help with sheds.

Feeding

  • Skinks are true omnivores, which should be reflected in their diet.
  • Variety is the key to providing a nutritious diet, and a calcium/vitamin D supplement should be added to the food.
  • Vegetables/fruits: beans, summer or winter squash, carrots, parsnips, leafy greens. Can be shredded or pureed and added to meat portion of diet. Fruits can include strawberries, bananas, melon, etc.
  • Meats: low fat canned dog food is a good staple in the diet. This should be supplemented with other items such as superworms and pinkie mice (larger for adults).

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Office Hours

Our Regular Schedule

North Shore Animal Hospital

Monday:

8:00 am-6:30 pm

Tuesday:

8:00 am-6:00 pm

Wednesday:

8:00 am-6:30 pm

Thursday:

8:00 am-6:30 pm

Friday:

8:00 am-6:00 pm

Saturday:

8:00 am-1:00 pm

Sunday:

Closed

Testimonials

  • "The staff are always very good- friendly, caring and efficient and always follow up to see if there are any questions or new developments. I always feel that my pets are both well cared for and cared about. Thank you for all of your help."
    -Scott Farnsworth
  • "For a first time Dog owner, I am extremely grateful that the clinic answers all of our questions and ensures our puppy is growing in a healthy manner. All of the staff are nothing short of Wonderful!"
    -Andy Donovan
  • "North Shore's staff is extremely friendly and knowledeable. They go above and beyond to make their furry patients feel safe and calm. My dog is extremely cooperative and happy while she is in their care. I highly recommend their services."
    -Erica Frazier
  • "We have been coming to North Shore for at least 15 years. Our cats have always been treated with respect and kindness. From the moment we step through the doors, we are treated as guests!"
    -Terry Preischel
  • "As a new pet owner, I had lots of questions. The staff answered all of my questions. The staff was so friendly and kind to myself, dog and children. I was expecting to feel uncomfortable as a new pet owner, but my first visit was beyond my expectations."
    -Erica Pie