It may be alarming to see your blue tongue skink trying its hardest to push or slide against the glass of its enclosure. Is it sick? Is it injured? Why is your blue tongue skink glass surfing?
Blue tongue skinks glass surf when the tank is either too small or too large. It may also be a temperature issue wherein the tank is too hot. Blue tongue skinks also glass surf when they are stressed and lack enrichment. Lastly, they also glass surf when trying to find a mate.
So no need to panic! More often than not, when blue tongue skinks glass surf, you can easily correct the behavior by changing the conditions of the enclosure. Keep on reading to find out more information on what you can do when your blue tongue skink glass surfs!
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What Is Glass Surfing?
Glass surfing behavior for blue tongue skinks is when they try to push or slide against the glass of their enclosure. They can also be seen pacing back and forth while a part of their body is rubbing against the glass.
For some, it may look like their blue tongue skink is calling for their attention, while for others, it looks like something is stuck on its mouth or body and it is trying to rub it off using the glass.
5 Reasons Why Your Blue Tongue Skink Is Glass Surfing
Let us take a closer look at why your blue tongue skink is glass surfing, as well as the things that you can do to make it stop doing so.
1. The Enclosure Of Your Blue Tongue Skink Is Too Small
If the enclosure of your blue tongue skink is too small, then it surely does not have enough space to explore, and there is also no space for enrichment objects.
As they are fairly large active reptiles, they are glass surfing as a call for more space. A blue tongue skink should have a 20-55 gallon tank.
Note: We show you how big each of the blue tongue species can get here.
At the very least, the enclosure dimensions should be 43″x24″x18″, with at least a floor space of 8 sq. ft.
What You Can Do
It is best to move your blue tongue skink to a larger enclosure. Keep in mind that even baby blue tongue skinks thrive in a large enclosure.
If you still do not have a large tank ready, you can make use of a large bin. However, taking your blue tongue skink out of its enclosure for it to get some enrichment in a makeshift bin, only to take it back may stress it too much.
So just do this if there is no other option.
2. The Enclosure Of Your Blue Tongue Skink Is Too Large
This is usually an overlooked reason as everyone knows that blue tongue skinks would truly enjoy a large tank.
However, there are still those instances when they feel overwhelmed by the amount of ground that they can explore, especially if it is not filled with hides, enrichment objects, or foliage.
A large glass enclosure also paves the way for your blue tongue skink to see clearly what is happening outside its enclosure. If the room is too busy, it can feel stressed or even threatened.
What You Can Do
It is not advisable to switch to a smaller tank as, eventually, your blue tongue skink may appreciate the extra space. Alternatively, you can add more accessories, enrichment objects, and foliage inside the tank.
Tip: We show you 15 plants that are perfect for blue tongue skink tanks here.
If your blue tongue skink still glass surfs even after adding those implements to the tank, you can try to cover a part of the tank with a cloth.
This will create the illusion that the tank is more compact.
Doing so will also encourage your blue tongue skink to explore its surroundings as it does not feel too overexposed. Some owners have found success in adding a bit more substrate in the part of the tank that is not yet explored.
As blue tongue skinks love to burrow, they can be encouraged to explore the other parts of the tank if there are more burrowing opportunities there.
3. The Enclosure Of Your Blue Tongue Skink Is Too Hot
It is very easy to get the heating requirements of your blue tongue skink wrong. The reason behind this is that they need high basking temperatures.
What happens is that the heat that emanates supposedly from the basking area, creeps into the cool area.
Therefore, the cool area no longer maintains its coolness.
The biggest sign that this is the reason why your blue tongue skink is glass surfing is when they try to call your attention by glass surfing, and then they move to their water bowls, which are usually placed in the cool area.
It is important to deal with this problem immediately as this may lead to dehydration, lethargy, or even death. In this study, it was observed that blue tongue skinks have biological safeguards in place to deal with such.
This is why when your blue tongue skink starts to glass surf due to temperature issues, the conditions are already at an extreme level that they have already exhausted their built-in bodily safeguards.
What You Can Do
It is best to put hides in the different areas of the enclosure. Put at least one on the warm, middle, and cool sides. Further, you should always check the temperature in both the warm and cool area.
You can use a handheld thermometer to accurately check specific spaces. This one from Etekcity can scan from great distances and it also has long battery life.
4. Your Blue Tongue Skink Is Bored
Blue tongue skinks love to explore, hide, and burrow. Therefore, if their enclosure lacks enrichment objects, it is left with nothing to do and will be stressed.
They are intelligent and active reptiles that need to do some sort of activity in order to stay happy. In this study, it was found that blue tongue skinks respond well to enrichment and are also healthier.
When certain hides and enrichment objects were taken, some skinks started to glass surf.
What You Can Do
Add more hide and enrichment objects inside the enclosure. You can make use of log hides and fake plants.
You can also add more substrate and embed the hide so your blue tongue skink can be encouraged to dig through the substrate and burrow.
Tip: If you fear your blue tongue skink might be kind of bored, read our article on the signs that show that your blue tongue skink is absolutely happy and healthy.
5. Your Blue Tongue Skink Is Trying To Find A Mate
If it is nearing the end of the colder months and your blue tongue skink went into brumation or pseudo-brumation, it may be glass surfing as it wants to search for a mate.
It may still display this behavior even if you do not have other skinks around.
What You Can Do
You really cannot do anything to dissuade glass surfing behavior if this is the reason. You can minimize it by covering the entire enclosure with a cloth.
This will make your blue tongue skink think that there is no means to go outside the enclosure, thus giving up its search for a mate.
If the behavior still continues, always check the face and body of your skink just to make sure that they are not injuring themselves.
Usually, they stop glass surfing when it is made clear to them that they cannot go out.
More often than not, blue tongue skinks glass surf due to enclosure issues. Always make sure that they have the right heat settings and that their enclosure is large enough and filled with enrichment.
Always pay attention to the body language of your blue tongue skink when it glass surfs, if everything in the tank is well-maintained, then it may be an underlying issue that is not visible. It is best to consult your vet if the behavior persists.