Many Blue Tongue Skinks owners are unaware of how good their pets are at escapes and hiding in unbelievably tight spots. One of the crucial things is to find reasons why your Blue Tongue Skink is trying to escape. You should also know how to find it once something like that happens.
Blue Tongue Skinks have a strong instinct to escape, but you should recognize the trigger factors that force your pet to do that. The most common are stress, boredom, inadequate tank size, temperature, lighting, and humidity. You can also expect your reptile to leave the tank during mating season.
This article shows you why your Blue Tongue Skink tries to escape, how to stop that, and what you can do when it succeeds in its intentions.
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Why Your Blue Tongue Skink Is Trying to Escape
So let’s have a look at the reasons in detail:
1. Inadequate tank size
An average adult Blue Tongue Skink requires a horizontal tank of at least 55 gallons (210 l) to be satisfied and happy.
You should be prepared for your little fellow to grab the first chance to escape if its space is too tight and confined.
Some owners use a tank of 40 gallons (150 l) for young Blue Tongue Skinks and leave their pets in an inadequate environment even when they fully grow up.
You should be aware that an adult reptile needs enough space to move, particularly after including all the necessary accessories inside.
2. Inadequate living conditions
You might have set up your tank incorrectly:
Like other reptiles, Blue Tongue Skinks require adequate outside conditions to help them regulate their body temperature.
However, they won’t tolerate a too-hot tank, which can be one of the primary reasons your pet tries to escape.
|Temperature||Cooler end – 75 to 82 F (24 – 28 C) Basking area – 90 to 100 F (32 – 38 C)|
|Humidity||60% to 80%|
|Light||UVB lighting during the day|
The first sign that your reptile is too hot is that it is trying to climb the glass, but you can also expect to see it lethargic and confused while avoiding the warmest area.
As a result, most Blue Tongue Skinks end up dehydrated or give their best to run away from the terrarium.
The crucial way to prevent your pet from suffering is to provide a sizable tank since establishing the right temperature level in the tiny terrarium is practically impossible.
The next step is regularly controlling the inside temperature with an infrared thermometer. Once you notice it overheats, turning bulbs and heating devices off is necessary.
You then need to get heating devices with lower wattage or you need to regulate them with a thermostat if that is possible.
Blue Tongue Skinks significantly benefit from full-spectrum UVB lighting, but you should choose the right type. Never purchase the one with a plexiglass, glass, or plastic base under bulbs to protect your pet from burning.
Your reptile won’t tolerate colored lights or the light source positioned less than 18 inches (46 cm) from the outer tank wall.
The proper humidity in your Blue Tongue Skink tank is crucial for its respiratory and skin health. You should check the required values depending on the type you have.
Most Australian species enjoy humidity of approximately 40%, while Indonesian types thrive at about 60 to 80%. Any significant deviation will endanger your pet’s health and encourage it to attempt to escape.
3. Your Blue Tongue Skink is stressed
You can expect Blue Tongue Skink to escape when it is unhappy or under stress. Reasons for these feelings are various, including:
- Inappropriate handling (Read our guide on handling here)
- Fully exposed tank placed in a high-traffic area, particularly when you get a new pet
- Loud noises
- Monotonous and inadequate diet
- Lack of food
- Cage mates, particularly of the same sex
- Too small or poorly maintained tank
- A tank without substrate to burrow
If you are careful enough, you will notice that your reptile is under stress and prevent possible escape on time. The most common symptoms are:
- Head-hiding and hiding more than usual
- Atypical signs of aggression
- Changes in appetite
- Hyperactivity and persistent food-seeking
- Disturbed bathroom habits
- Panting and open-mouth breathing
- Sticking the body to the walls
Taking steps to reduce your reptile’s stress levels is in its best interest. A Blue Tongue Skink that isn’t stressed will happily enjoy its life without trying to escape.
4. Your Blue Tongue Skink is bored
Blue Tongue skinks are intelligent creatures that enjoy exploring and burrowing, so you should properly arrange the tank.
Add enough decorations and enrichment accessories to the tank, like logs, caves, and artificial plants. Always calculate the accessories you want to add before buying a tank of a particular size.
If your pet still looks bored and glass surfs despite plenty of gadgets added to the tank, you can try a simple but effective trick. Remove it from the tank and rearrange accessories, various plants, and decorations before returning it.
Doing that twice a year will be enough to keep your Blue Tongue Skink entertained. Meanwhile, let your skink hunt its food and give it some exciting time out of the terrarium.
In such conditions, it is unlikely your Blue Tongue Skink feels stressed and wants to run away.
5. It Is Mating season
You can expect your Blue Tongue Skink to become active during the breeding season in the early fall and try to escape while looking for a mate. As expected, it is particularly true for males.
Once brumation is over after a cold period, your pet will be ready to mate. In such a case, it will grab the first opportunity when you leave the tank uncovered to slip away.
What to Do When Your Blue Tongue Skink Has Escaped?
Once your Blue Tongue Skink escapes from its tank, you should give your best to find it.
As you can guess, your home doesn’t provide the adequate temperature, humidity, and lighting conditions this species requires.
Close the doors and windows
The first step is to ensure your Blue Tongue Skink can’t go out from your home by closing all windows and doors.
Although living outside of a tank is not suitable for this species, leaving an environment with at least minimum chances of finding it will be fatal for this little fellow.
Make your house safe for your skink
The next to do is to make your home safe for your Blue Tongue Skink as much as possible. Cover wires, remove tiny objects it can swallow, and turn off lamps and hot surfaces to prevent burning.
If you have a cat or dog, removing them from the area is crucial to avoid unwanted encounters.
Increase the inside temperature
Blue Tongue Skinks can spend days without food and water, but low temperatures are fatal for this species.
Therefore, you should turn the heating on to make the surroundings as adequate for your escaped pet as possible. However, be careful with potentially dangerous hot radiators.
Offer food and water
The quickest way to attract your Blue Tongue Skink out is to place water and its favorite food and treats in one spot. Sometimes cat and dog food and fruit, like bananas, raspberries, or mango, can do the trick.
Check your pet’s movements
As you know, Blue Tongue Skinks are the most active throughout the day. Therefore, you can follow your pet’s movement around the house by dusting flour over the floor in rooms closest to the tank.
Dust it in the morning and check traces during the day or evening.
Never give up!
You can expect your Blue Tongue Skink to crawl into a hidden place and refuse to show up regardless of your efforts.
However, you should never lose hope and stop looking for it. If you make your house safe and warm, your pet can survive for weeks, sometimes months, outside the tank.