Blue tongue skinks are unique reptiles that require physical and mental stimulation. Therefore, it is essential for them to be tamed in order to provide them with their needs. You would not want your blue tongue skink biting you when you are just trying to feed it, right?
Blue tongue skinks need to be given privacy for one to two weeks before taming them. You should then establish trust with the blue tongue skink for it to know that you are not a threat. Once trust is established, this is the only time that you can start handling training.
Taming a blue tongue skink can be tricky as their intelligence is above average than other reptiles. One cannot simply earn their trust by offering them food. First and foremost, you need to establish a bond of trust with them. Keep on reading to find out our tips and tricks on taming a blue tongue skink!
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How To Tame A Blue Tongue Skink
Here are the steps that you can do to tame your blue tongue skink.
1. Give Your Blue Tongue Skink Time To Adjust
Once the quarantine of your blue tongue skink is done and it is now inside its enclosure, you should leave it alone except for giving food and cleaning the tank. You should not interact with it, more so try to handle it as you may get bit.
If you are curious about how painful a bite from a blue tongue skink is, you can take a look at this article.
This is done in order for your blue tongue skink to familiarize itself with its new environment, and establish it as a safe ground.
Wild caught blue tongue skinks should be left alone for two to three weeks while captive blue tongue skinks should be given privacy for 10 days to two weeks.
- It is vital that they be given at least two hides. During this time, they may feel anxious and seek a hiding spot.
- If you notice that after a week, your blue tongue skink is still finding it difficult to adjust, you can cover the tank with a cloth and gradually remove pieces of the cloth from different sides as they start to adjust.
- Make sure that your other pets are not able to go near the tank as this will cause more stress to your blue tongue skink.
2. Establish Trust With Your Blue Tongue Skink
After you have given your blue tongue skink time to adjust to its surroundings, it is now time to establish trust with your blue tongue skink. This is the time when you prove to your blue tongue skink that you should not be seen as a threat.
You can do the following tricks:
- Gently sit near the tank for 30 minutes up to an hour.
- You can read a book or talk to your blue tongue skink. Make sure to use a calm voice.
The goal is to make your blue tongue skink get used to your presence. If you also consistently talk to it, they will get used to the sound of your voice.
Observe how your blue tongue skink reacts to your presence. For the first few tries, you may notice that it will just stay in the hide. There is an improvement when you notice that it starts to become curious about your presence.
There will come a time when your blue tongue skink will go out of its hide when you approach or sit beside its tank.
It may not come near the side where you are, but this means that your blue tongue skink no longer perceives you as a threat. Once this is done, it is time for the next step.
3. Offer Treats To Your Blue Tongue Skink
Once your blue tongue skink is used to your presence you can start offering treats to it. Even if it hides when you open the tank, you can still hand feed it.
You can use a feeding tong like this one so that the ends are soft and will not intimidate your blue tongue skink. You can give it the following treats:
- Dubia roaches
- Boiled egg
If you notice that your blue tongue skink pulls away when you try to hand feed it, do not force it to take the treat. Instead, place it on the ground near the area where your blue tongue skink is hiding.
Alternatively, you can entice your blue tongue skink with the treat by using feeding tongs and then placing it in a food bowl. Wait for your blue tongue skink to eat from the food bowl, then repeat the process.
In due time, your blue tongue skink will learn to approach the feeding tongs and take the treat from them. You can then transition to using your hand to offer a treat.
4. Handle Your Blue Tongue Skink
Once your blue tongue skink automatically receives treats from the feeding tongs or even your hand, you can start handling it. During this time, your blue tongue skink should not hide or run away by your mere presence.
Only proceed with handling if your blue tongue skink is not anxious with you around. If it still hides when you open the tank or when you offer treats, keep on gaining its trust and offering it treats.
Important note: When your blue tongue skink puffs up or hisses at you when you try to handle it, refrain from doing so. You might get bitten as it is not yet ready to be handled. Go back to gaining its trust and offering of treats.
Reminders before handling your blue tongue skink:
- Wash your hands. Certain lingering smells can trigger the eating and defensive mechanisms of a blue tongue skink.
- Make sure that the area is quiet.
- Be calm and do not make sudden movements.
- Gently open the door of the tank.
- You can choose to offer a treat before handling it.
- You can use these gloves to protect your hands and it will also help you grip your blue tongue skink better.
Here are the steps for handling your blue tongue skink for the first time:
- Place your hand near your blue tongue skink to assess its reaction. If it hisses, puffs up, flicks its tail, or opens its mouth, slowly retreat your hand. This means that it is not ready to be handled. Otherwise, if it does not react defensively, then gently try to grab it from the side of its body. Do not grab it from its head.
- Support the entire body of your blue tongue skink by lifting it from its chest and with your other hand, support its front and hind legs.
- Slowly and gently take it out of the tank.
- Choose to sit somewhere close to the tank and just hold your blue tongue skink for one to three minutes.
- During this time. you can talk to your blue tongue skink and also offer it treats.
- After the time is up, slowly and gently stand up. Make sure that your blue tongue skink’s body is completely supported, then put it back gently inside the tank.
Important: Never grab your blue tongue skink by the tail. When grabbing the body, make sure to not rub its head. Blue tongue skinks are sensitive when it comes to their head, they will act defensively when it is touched without them being completely tamed.
Just like in the video above, some owners tried petting their blue tongue skinks first while they are busy eating their treat before they completely grab the body.
This can also be done. However, blue tongue skinks are more open to being grabbed completely as opposed to petting.
Here are petting reminders:
- Do not pet the head of your blue-tongue skink. They become defensive when their heads are touched. Reserve head petting to a time when they are completely tame.
- You can gently pet the chin, back, and neck.
- Do not pet your blue tongue skink when it is your first time successfully grabbing it and taking it out of its tank. Just choose one when you are still starting out. Either pet it or grab it and settle down somewhere quiet.
5. Consistently Do Handling Training
Congratulations on handling your blue tongue skink for the first time! Now all you have to do is to consistently do handling training.
For the first time, you can handle your blue tongue skink for one to three minutes. On the next day, you can increase the time by one or two minutes.
Keep on increasing the number of minutes that you handle them so that they will get used to handling.
Blue tongue skinks are reptiles that tolerate and even enjoy handling.
If you want to know how often you can handle your blue tongue skink, you should read this article, and you will be well on your way to watching tv with your blue tongue skink.
How Long Does It Take To Tame A Blue Tongue Skink?
It can take three to four months to tame a blue tongue skink. The reason for this is that before you can start building trust and handling training, you should first give your blue tongue skink some time to get used to its environment.
Another reason for the long taming process is that you should also quarantine your new blue tongue skink for one to two months before you transfer it to its forever home.
Wild caught blue tongue skinks need to be left alone for two to three weeks for them to acclimatize to their new surroundings.
It may even extend up to four to six weeks, it depends on how well they adjust to their new life in captivity.
As for captive blue tongue skinks, you should leave them alone for 10 days up to two weeks. After this grace period has been observed, only then can you start with the taming process.
Can All Blue Tongue Skinks Be Tamed?
Yes, it is possible to tame all types of blue tongue skinks, even wild-caught ones. Although we do not suggest that you get a wild caught blue tongue skink, in the event that you do have one, it is still extremely important to gently tame them.
Even if you have the Tanimbar blue tongue skink which is notorious for being feisty and defensive, with proper taming and handling, you can completely calm it down and bond with it.
Keep in mind that wild-caught blue tongue skinks easily get stressed compared to captive blue tongue skinks.
Therefore, it is a bit more difficult to tame and handle them as they become defensive easily. So you have to take a slower and gentler approach in terms of taming a wild-caught blue tongue skink.
On the other hand, captive blue tongue skinks are more accustomed to humans. Initially, they may hide from their new owners, but it takes less time for them to trust and bond with their owners.
Can Blue Tongue Skinks Form A Bond With Their Owner?
There are still no studies indicating that blue tongue skinks form a companionship bond with their owners.
However, it is noteworthy to know that once blue tongue skinks are completely tamed, they enjoy being handled by their owners and can spend hours bonding with their owners.
Some blue tongue skinks even come up to the doors of their tanks when their owners approach their tank. They even make a certain stance where they are readying their bodies to be grabbed.
With these instances alone, we can theorize that, in some way, blue tongue skinks also look forward to handling and bonding with their owners.
This relationship can be cultivated by consistent handling, spending time with your blue tongue skink, and also by giving it a bath.
We may never know if they like or love us, but what we do know is that with a bond of trust, they are willing to spend time with us.
It takes a lot of patience and hard work to tame and gain the trust of your blue tongue skink. You really have to wait weeks or even months for it to get used to you.
Just follow the lead of your blue tongue skink and never force it to be held when it does not want to be held. Be mindful of its body language so you can tell when you can progress in the next steps of the taming process.