Table of Contents
Q: What do blue-tongue skinks eat in the wild?
A: In the wild, blue-tongue skinks have a varied diet that includes insects, snails, small animals, flowers, fruits, and other vegetation. Their diet largely depends on their environment and what’s available seasonally.
Q: What is a balanced diet for a captive blue-tongue skink?
A: A balanced diet for a captive blue-tongue skink should include a mix of protein (like insects and lean meats), vegetables, and some fruits. The ratio can be approximately 50% vegetables, 40% protein, and 10% fruits.
Q: How often should I feed my blue-tongue skink?
A: Juvenile skinks should be fed daily, while adults can be fed every 2-3 days, depending on their size and activity level.
Q: Can blue-tongue skinks eat fruits and vegetables?
A: Yes, blue-tongue skinks can eat a variety of fruits and vegetables. Leafy greens, bell peppers, squash, and carrots are good vegetable choices. Fruits like berries, apples, and bananas can be offered occasionally.
Q: What protein sources are best for blue-tongue skinks?
A: Crickets, mealworms, earthworms, and dubia roaches are excellent insect choices. They can also consume lean meats like ground turkey or chicken in moderation.
Q: Are there commercial diets available for blue-tongue skinks?
A: Yes, there are commercial diets available specifically formulated for blue-tongue skinks. However, these should be supplemented with fresh foods to ensure a varied and balanced diet.
Q: Do blue-tongue skinks require calcium or vitamin supplements?
A: Yes, especially if they are not getting UVB lighting. A calcium supplement without vitamin D3 can be sprinkled on their
Q: How do I gut-load insects for my blue-tongue skink?
A: Gut-loading means feeding the insects a nutritious diet before offering them to your skink. You can feed them high-quality insect
Q: Can blue-tongue skinks eat dog or cat
A: While some keepers use high-quality wet dog or cat
Q: Is it safe to feed wild-caught insects to blue-tongue skinks?
A: It’s generally safer to feed store-bought or bred insects to avoid potential pesticides or parasites present in wild-caught insects.
Q: How much water do blue-tongue skinks need?
A: A shallow dish of fresh water should always be available. They might not drink frequently, but they will when they need to.
Q: What foods are toxic to blue-tongue skinks?
A: Avoid feeding them avocado, rhubarb, and chocolate, as these are toxic. Also, minimize or avoid offering high-oxalate foods like spinach and beet greens.
Q: How can I encourage picky blue-tongue skinks to eat?
A: Offering a variety of foods can help. You can also try slightly warming the
Q: What signs indicate a nutritional deficiency in blue-tongue skinks?
A: Signs might include lethargy, reduced appetite, soft bones or fractures (indicative of calcium deficiency), and irregular shedding.
Q: Can blue-tongue skinks eat eggs?
A: Yes, they can eat soft-boiled or scrambled eggs occasionally as a protein source.
Q: How can I ensure the
A: Purchase organic produce, or thoroughly wash and peel non-organic fruits and vegetables before offering them to your skink.
Q: Do blue-tongue skinks eat flowers or plants?
A: Yes, they can consume certain edible flowers like hibiscus and dandelion, but always ensure that any plant matter offered is safe and non-toxic.
Q: How much
A: Juveniles need to eat more frequently, usually daily, and in smaller amounts. Adults eat larger quantities but less frequently, usually every 2-3 days.
Q: Is it safe to feed dairy products to blue-tongue skinks?
A: Dairy should generally be avoided as reptiles can have difficulty digesting lactose.
Q: Can I feed my blue-tongue skink raw meat?
A: Raw meats can be a part of their diet, but ensure they are lean cuts. However, it’s crucial not to make raw meat a staple and always ensure it’s fresh to prevent any bacterial issues.
Q: What is the ideal size for a blue-tongue skink enclosure?
A: For an adult blue-tongue skink, the minimum recommended size is a 40-gallon breeder
Q: What type of substrate is best for blue-tongue skinks?
A: Cypress mulch, aspen shavings, coconut coir, and reptile carpet are all suitable substrates. It’s essential to avoid pine or cedar as these can be toxic to reptiles.
Q: How do I set up heating for a blue-tongue skink?
A: You can use under-tank heaters or basking lamps to achieve the desired temperatures. Ensure there’s a temperature gradient, with a basking spot at one end and a cooler end at the other.
Q: Do blue-tongue skinks require UVB lighting?
A: Yes, blue-tongue skinks benefit from UVB lighting as it helps them metabolize calcium and is essential for their overall health. A 10-12% UVB bulb should be provided for 10-12 hours a day.
Q: How can I ensure proper humidity levels for my blue-tongue skink?
A: Depending on the species, humidity levels should be maintained between 40% and 60%. You can achieve this by misting the enclosure, providing a large water dish, or using a humidifier.
Q: What kind of decorations or hides should I include in a blue-tongue skink’s enclosure?
A: Provide hides at both the warm and cool ends of the enclosure. Natural decorations like rocks, driftwood, and logs are also beneficial for climbing and hiding.
Q: How often should I clean the blue-tongue skink’s habitat?
A: Spot clean daily for feces or uneaten
Q: What plants are safe for a blue-tongue skink’s enclosure?
A: Safe plants include pothos, spider plants, and haworthia. Ensure any plants introduced are pesticide-free.
Q: Can blue-tongue skinks be housed with other reptiles?
A: It’s not recommended. Blue-tongue skinks can be territorial, and housing them with other reptiles can lead to stress or injury.
Q: How can I create a temperature gradient in my skink’s enclosure?
A: Place the heat source at one end of the enclosure, creating a “hot” side. The opposite end will naturally be cooler, offering the skink a choice of temperatures.
Q: How important is ventilation in a blue-tongue skink’s habitat?
A: Ventilation is crucial to prevent mold growth and ensure fresh air. Screen tops are commonly used to provide ample ventilation.
Q: Can blue-tongue skinks be kept in bioactive enclosures?
A: Yes, bioactive setups, which include live plants and beneficial microorganisms, can be excellent for blue-tongue skinks as they help in natural waste breakdown.
Q: What is the ideal temperature range for a blue-tongue skink?
A: The cool side should be around 70-75°F (21-24°C), and the basking spot should reach 95-105°F (35-40°C).
Q: Do blue-tongue skinks need a basking spot? If so, what temperature should it be?
A: Yes, they need a basking spot. The basking temperature should be between 95-105°F (35-40°C).
Q: How deep should the substrate be for blue-tongue skinks?
A: A depth of 2-4 inches is suitable, allowing them to dig and burrow.
Q: Can blue-tongue skinks be housed in outdoor enclosures?
A: In suitable climates, they can be kept outside, but ensure the enclosure is secure from potential predators and the skink is protected from extreme weather conditions.
Q: How do I provide water for my blue-tongue skink?
A: Offer a shallow water dish large enough for the skink to soak in. Change the water daily.
Q: Are there specific materials or decorations to avoid in a blue-tongue skink’s habitat?
A: Avoid sharp decorations, toxic plants, and substrates like sand, which can cause impaction if ingested.
Q: How can I ensure the enclosure is escape-proof for my skink?
A: Ensure the lid or door is securely fastened. Regularly inspect the enclosure for gaps or areas where the skink might squeeze through.
Q: How can I provide enrichment in the habitat for my blue-tongue skink?
A: Rotate decorations and hides, provide foraging opportunities with their
Q: Why does my blue-tongue skink flick its tongue out?
A: The skink flicks its tongue to gather information about its surroundings, picking up scent particles to interpret its environment.
Q: Why is my blue-tongue skink hissing at me?
A: Hissing is a defensive behavior. It might feel threatened or scared, and hissing is its way of warning potential threats.
Q: Do blue-tongue skinks burrow?
A: Yes, blue-tongue skinks like to burrow for safety, comfort, and to regulate their body temperature.
Q: Why does my skink wave its tail?
A: Tail waving can be a sign of agitation or defensive behavior, signaling that it feels threatened.
Q: Are blue-tongue skinks social animals?
A: They are solitary creatures and often prefer being alone. Keeping multiple skinks together can lead to aggressive behavior.
Q: Why is my blue-tongue skink basking so much?
A: Basking helps them thermoregulate and digest their
Q: Do blue-tongue skinks play?
A: While they don’t “play” in the same sense as mammals, they do exhibit explorative behaviors and can be quite curious.
Q: Is it normal for a blue-tongue skink to hide a lot?
A: Yes, hiding provides them a sense of safety. Providing multiple hiding spots in their enclosure is essential.
Q: Why does my skink puff up its body?
A: Puffing up makes them appear larger to potential threats, serving as a defense mechanism.
Q: Can blue-tongue skinks recognize their owners?
A: While they may not recognize owners in the same way mammals do, they can become accustomed to regular handlers and be less defensive over time.
Q: How can I tell if my blue-tongue skink is stressed?
A: Signs of stress can include frequent hiding, hissing, tail waving, reduced appetite, and erratic behavior.
Q: Do blue-tongue skinks make any noises?
A: Yes, they can hiss when threatened and might produce low grumbling noises occasionally.
Q: Why is my skink pacing its enclosure?
A: Pacing can indicate stress, discomfort, or simply a desire to explore. Ensure its habitat is appropriately enriched and sized.
Q: Do blue-tongue skinks bite?
A: They can bite if they feel threatened, but with proper handling and trust-building, bites can be infrequent.
Q: Is it normal for my blue-tongue skink to be active at night?
A: They are diurnal, so they’re usually active during the day. However, occasional nighttime activity is not uncommon.
Q: Why is my blue-tongue skink digging?
A: Digging can be related to burrowing behaviors, a need to lay eggs (in females), or simply exploring their environment.
Q: Do blue-tongue skinks have a shedding behavior?
A: Yes, like other reptiles, they shed their skin as they grow. It’s essential to ensure they have a moist environment during this time to aid shedding.
Q: My skink is rolling over onto its back; what does this mean?
A: This is not normal behavior and can be a sign of illness or distress. Consult with a vet if this occurs.
Q: Can blue-tongue skinks swim?
A: While they are not natural swimmers, they can wade in shallow water. Always ensure any water in their enclosure is shallow to prevent potential drowning.
Q: Why is my skink’s tongue blue?
A: The blue tongue serves as a defense mechanism. When threatened, they can open their mouth wide and show their blue tongue, which may deter potential predators.
Health and Wellness
Q: How long does a blue-tongue skink typically live?
A: With proper care, blue-tongue skinks can live for 15-20 years or more.
Q: How can I tell if my blue-tongue skink is sick?
A: Signs can include lethargy, loss of appetite, irregular shedding, weight loss, difficulty breathing, and discolored feces.
Q: My skink isn’t eating; what should I do?
A: Appetite loss can be due to various reasons, such as stress, temperature changes, or illness. It’s essential to monitor the situation and consult a reptile vet if the issue persists.
Q: How often should I feed my blue-tongue skink?
A: Typically, juveniles are fed daily, while adults can be fed every 2-3 days, but it varies based on the specific species and individual needs.
Q: What is metabolic bone disease in blue-tongue skinks?
A: This disease results from a lack of calcium or improper UVB lighting. Symptoms can include weak limbs, jaw softening, and kinks in the spine.
Q: How can I ensure my skink gets proper UVB exposure?
A: Using a high-quality UVB bulb in their enclosure and allowing natural sunlight exposure (safely, without the risk of overheating) can help.
Q: What should the temperature be in a blue-tongue skink’s enclosure?
A: Basking areas should be around 95-100°F (35-38°C), and cooler areas should be around 70-80°F (21-27°C).
Q: Why is my blue-tongue skink shedding irregularly?
A: Irregular shedding can result from inadequate humidity, poor nutrition, or health issues. Ensure they have a moist environment during shedding periods.
Q: How often should I clean my skink’s enclosure?
A: Spot cleaning should be done daily for feces and leftover
Q: My skink has mites; how can I treat this?
A: Mite treatments for reptiles are available in pet stores or through a vet. Regular cleaning and disinfection can prevent mite infestations.
Q: What is an ideal diet for blue-tongue skinks?
A: Their diet should include a mix of protein sources (like insects and lean meats), vegetables, and fruits. Always consult care guides or a vet for specific dietary requirements.
Q: How can I tell if my skink is overweight?
A: An overweight skink might have fat deposits around its limbs and neck, and a body that looks disproportionately round.
Q: My blue-tongue skink is sneezing; is this normal?
A: Occasional sneezing can be normal, but frequent sneezing, especially with other symptoms, can indicate a respiratory infection.
Q: Can I give my skink a bath?
A: Yes, occasional shallow baths can help with hydration and shedding. Ensure the water is lukewarm and never leave your skink unsupervised.
Q: Are there any toxic foods I should avoid giving my skink?
A: Yes, avoid giving them avocado, rhubarb, and certain plants. Always research before introducing new foods.
Q: How do I ensure my skink has enough humidity?
A: Monitor with a hygrometer, mist the enclosure regularly, and provide a water dish. A moist hide filled with damp moss can also help.
Q: What are common parasites that can affect blue-tongue skinks?
A: Common parasites include mites, ticks, and internal parasites such as worms. Regular vet check-ups can help detect and treat these issues.
Q: How do I handle my skink safely without causing stress?
A: Handle gently without sudden movements. Start with short sessions and increase over time as your skink gets used to you.
Q: My skink has a wound; what should I do?
A: Clean the wound with an antiseptic solution and monitor for infections. Consult a vet, especially if the wound is deep or doesn’t heal.
Q: How can I tell if my skink is dehydrated?
A: Dehydrated skinks may have wrinkled skin, sunken eyes, and reduced urine output. Ensure they have access to fresh water and consider increasing enclosure humidity.