Blue tongue skinks are a reptilian species of lizards known for their blue tongues that reside in Australia, New Guinea, and Tasmania. If you are considering raising a skink on your own or purchasing some to breed, you have to make sure that you have the right materials to care for it.
To care for a blue tongue skink, you need to have the time and the right materials to effectively care for one. You have to have an enclosure to keep it in, the ability to maintain the ideal temperature for it to thrive, and the right food to satisfy your skink’s dietary needs.
Skinks can live for about 15 to 20 years if they are placed in an environment that suits their needs. Keep on reading and follow the steps listed below to ensure your blue tongue skink has a long and happy life.
Raising a blue tongue skink requires more than giving it food and water. You need to make sure that your skink is in a healthy environment filled with items in ideal conditions that would help it thrive within its enclosure.
To meet these requirements, you’re going to need a suitable habitat, a heat source, a UVB light lamp, and foods that fulfill its omnivore diet.
The first thing you need to do is secure a place for your blue-tongued skink to reside in.
The ideal enclosure for a single skink is a glass tank big enough for your skink to have multiple places to hide and ample room to run around in. Note that if you are getting more than one blue-tongue skink, you will need to invest in separate tanks.
Baby blue tongue skinks that are six months or younger should be kept in 20-gallon tanks or larger. If you are raising adult blue tongue skinks, you can keep them in a 40-gallon tank or larger. Make sure to get a tank with a secure lid because this will hold your heat lamp over the tank and prevent items from falling into the enclosure.
The only time you should have two adult skinks in the same tank is if you plan on breeding them. (They will attack each other otherwise.) The tank should have no more than one male and one female blue tongue skink inside the tank.
You will need to supervise the pair so you can separate them if they start fighting. You will also need an area for the female to go to lay her eggs. Place an incubation box (such as this OMEM Reptile Breeding Box) inside the tank so that the female skink can have a safe place to lay her eggs.
Once you have your tank picked out, you will need to furnish it with bedding and places for your skink to hide in.
You should layer the bottom of the tank with bedding material that your skink can dig around in. The best options include wood shavings, cypress mulch, or shredded newspaper. If you notice your skink eating the bedding, try changing it to a different type of material.
You will need to place objects inside the tank that provide your blue tongue skink with shade and an area to bask in. Items such as driftwood, a basking log, and medium-sized rocks can serve as good objects to use.
Make sure to place the objects in a position where they will not fall over or collapse on top of your skink. Place a shallow bowl of water in the tank for your skink to drink and bathe in. The bowl should not be too deep, too small, or have slippery sides; otherwise, your skink can drown inside it.
Finally, place a hide box (such as this Pangea Reptile Hide Box) inside the tank, and put some mulch inside it. This will provide your skink with a place to shed its skin.
Once your tank is set up, you will need to make sure that the tank has a warm climate that fits the needs of your skink. Let’s discuss that below.
Blue tongue skinks are creatures that live in warm climates, so it is important that their habitat provides them with a warm environment.
You will need to keep the overall temperature of the tank around 75-82°F (24-28°C). It’s okay if the temperature of the tank dips to 70°F (21°C) when night arrives, but make sure it does not get any lower.
You will also need an area for your skink to bask in which usually requires a basking area such as a log and a heat lamp. The basking area should be around 90-100°F (32-38°C).
Note: You can use a tank thermometer (like this Zoo Med Economy Analog Dual Thermometer and Humidity Gauge) to monitor the temperatures within the tank.
Other than a heat source, your blue tongue skink will need a UVB light source. This is because blue tongue skinks are diurnal creatures, which means they are active during the day and sleep at night.
A UVB light will simulate the daytime while assisting your skink with producing vital nutrients such as calcium and vitamin D3. Follow the UVB light instructions for the amount of time the lamp should be on and the distance to place it from the tank.
If you need a UVB light, I recommend the Evergreen Pet Supplies 100 Watt UVA Bulb. It’s affordable, long-lasting, and suitable for all kinds of reptiles (including skinks). Before you buy this, just make sure it fits your light fixture.
When it comes to feeding your blue tongue skink, you have a lot of options to choose from.
A blue tongue skink is an omnivorous eater, so meats and vegetables make up a majority of its diet. It is important to make sure that you give your skink a variety of food to eat. This way, your skink can stay healthy, and its nutritional needs will be satisfied.
Your blue tongue skink needs to eat more vegetables than meat. Some vegetables that your skink can eat are collard greens, turnips, carrots, and squash. According to the Reptile Center, you will want to avoid giving your skink onions, spinach, iceberg lettuce, and other foods that are acidic or attract moisture.
Protein-based foods should make up 40% of your skink’s diet. Some of the proteins you can feed your skink are canned insects, snails, pinky mice, and live insects such as mealworms or super worms. According to WildLife Learning Center, skinks can even eat high-quality dog food.
You can also give your blue tongue skink supplements to avoid any dietary health problems.
Note: If you are raising a baby blue-tongued skink, hold off on the insects because these are harder for them to digest.
Give your skink as much food as it can eat in one sitting because you do not want to overfeed it. This can be bad for the skink’s health. If there are leftovers in the bowl, remove them after your skink has finished eating.
A blue tongue skink can provide you with a unique and fun experience when it comes to raising reptiles. If you’d like to raise a skink of your own, remember to follow these steps:
- Acquire a tank to house your blue-tongue skink. The tank should be large enough to provide your skink with lots of room. Decorate it with objects that give your skink shade and space to bask in.
- Get a light and heat source to keep your skink warm. You will need a heat source for basking and a UVB light to stimulate day time.
- Get an adequate food supply of meat and vegetables to maintain your skink’s diet. Make sure to give your skink supplements once in a while to keep it healthy.
Follow these steps and you can be certain that you are doing everything right to make your blue tongue skink comfortable.
- Amazon: Evergreen 100 Watt UVB Mercury Vapor Bulb
- Amazon: Pangea Reptile Hide Box
- Amazon: OMEM Reptile Breeding Box
- Amazon: Zoo Med Economy Analog Dual Thermometer and Humidity Gauge
- Amazon: Zoo Med Forest Floor Bedding
- Amazon: Zoo Med Repti Basking Spot Lamp
- Amazon: Zoo Med Reptile Calcium
- Northampton Reptile Center: Blue-tongue Skink Care Sheet
- Reptile Rapture: Blue Tongue Skink
- The Critter Depot: Your Blue Tongue Skink Care
- The Spruce Pets: Blue-Tongued Skinks
- Wildlife Learning Center: Blue-Tongued Skink