Blue Tongue Lizard

Reptiles are becoming increasingly popular in America because they have long life spans and are relatively easy to raise. The Blue Tongued Skink is an extraordinary animal that, as you may have guessed, has a bright blue tongue, but there are many other interesting facts you may not know. Keep reading as you dive deeper to learn as many facts about the Blue Tongue Lizard as you can.

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Quick Facts about Blue Tongue Lizards

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Species Name:T. gigas
Common names:Blue Tongue Skink
Treatment Level:Currently
Lifetime:15 – 18 years
Adult Size:18 – 24 inches
Diet:Meat, vegetables, insects, fruit
Minimum Tank Size:20 gallon tank
Temperature & Humidity20% – 40% humidity, 70 – 80 degrees

Do Blue Tongue Lizards Make Good Pets?

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Yes, a Blue Tongue Skink would make a great pet and suitable for children. Aside from its attractive blue tongue, it’s great because it doesn’t matter when you hold it, so you don’t have to teach your child to stay away. In addition, it becomes quite large and has a long life. Once you get the habitat, it is inexpensive and easy to keep this pet. It’s also quite smart.

Appearance

There are several types of Blue Tongue Skink, and they all have a slightly different appearance.

Adelaide Dwarf Blue Tongue Skink Adelaide

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You can find this Skink in South Australia. Scientists believe that it became extinct until the 1990s. There is currently a breeding program to help restore the population. It has a mottled color pattern of white, brown, black, brown, and gray. Usually grows to 3.5 – 6 inches.

Australian Blue Tongue Lizard

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The Australian Blue Tongue Lizard can grow up to 15 inches. It is usually brown, orange, black, and gray, but can be found in other colors as well, including light blue.

Blue Tongue Skink

Blotched Blue Tongued Skink is usually lighter in color with darker spots, but the pattern can be reversed causing the body to darken with light spots. It is one of the largest varieties and can reach 20 inches or more.

Centralian Blue Tongue Skink

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The Centralian Blue Tongued Skink is another larger Skink that can reach 17 inches or more and has an almost stubby appearance. It’s often bright yellow in color, so it’s one of the easier skins to spot.

Indonesian Blue Tongue Skink

The Indonesian Blue Tongue Lizard only grows to about 11 inches but has a significant tail that can increase the total size of the animal by up to 20 inches. It has a yellow-orange body with black markings which can be bands or spots.

Irian Jaya Blue Tongue Skink

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The Irian Jaya Blue Tongue Skink is another large reptile that can exceed 20 inches, but is very rare and may be a hybrid. It can be one of several colors but is most often brown.

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Shingleback Blue Tongued Skink

Shingleback is a fighter of the Skink variety. It has armored scales and a tough, rugged appearance. They are usually dark brown or black, but you can find them in a variety of colors, and they are usually a little over seven inches long. It is a tough animal that stores fat in its tail, so it cannot release it like other varieties.

Western Blue Tongue Skink

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The Western Blue Tongue Lizard has a wide range but is a threatened species in many areas, so it may not be easy to spot. It can grow to 15 or 20 inches and is slow moving. It has a light colored body with broad brown bands.

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How to Take Care of a Blue Tongue Lizard

Tank Recommendations
Tank Type20 gallon glass vivarium
LightningHeat lamp provides UVB
WarmupHeat the lamp to keep the temperature above 70 degrees
Best SubstrateBased on environment

Habitat, Tank Conditions & Settings

Some varieties of Skink are smaller, but most will require a larger tank at least four feet long, two feet wide, and at least one foot deep to give your reptile enough room to move. Also, it will need a screened top, so it doesn’t come loose, and the front opening will help you access the reptile. You can use glass or wood, as both will work well.

Lightning

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You will need to use a heating lamp to increase the temperature in your terrarium to over 70 degrees. We recommend brands that will provide your pet with essential UVB rays, which will provide your pet with the essential nutrients it normally gets from the sun. However, you’ll need to change your bulb frequently because it stops producing UVB rays long before it goes out.

Temperature

As we mentioned earlier, you need to keep the temperature in your terrarium between 70 – 80 degrees. A heating lamp is a great way to increase the temperature, and it also provides a basking area that your pet will enjoy.

Humidity

Humidity should remain between 40% and 60%. It should stay on the higher side when removing the skin. It also helps keep your Skink hydrated. A regular spray bottle will help you control the humidity level. Using a spray bottle to mist the reptile every few hours while keeping an eye on the ergometer will give the best results.

Substrate

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The substrate you use will depend on the type of Skink you have. For example, Desert Sinks will want a dryer, more sandy substrate, whereas those from wetter areas will do better with mulch. Most Lizards like to dig, so you should make sure the substrate is a few inches thick.

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Feeding the Blue Tongue Lizard

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Most Blue Tongue Lizards have a diet similar to that of other reptiles. It will mainly eat insects such as crickets, wax worms, snails, and more. They will also eat fruits and vegetables and are less picky about what they eat when they are hungry. Younger, still developing Blue Tongue Lizards must eat a lot of insects to build strong muscles, but once they are mature you can feed them a diet consisting of 40% fruit and vegetables.

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Diet Summary
fruits30% of food
Insect70% of the diet
Meat5% of the diet – mice
Supplements RequiredCalcium Vitamin D3

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Keeping Your Blue Tongue Skink Healthy

Blue Tongue Lizards are relatively easy to maintain health as long as the habitat is large enough and the temperature and humidity are right. Lower humidity can cause the skin to stick and be difficult to remove, especially around the eyes.

General Health Problems

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Parasite

Parasites are a common problem for Blue Tongued Skinks. Usually get the parasites by eating foods that contain them. Wild-caught food is the easiest way to accidentally pass parasites on to your pet, and we recommend captive-bred food whenever possible.

Metabolic Bone Disease

Another big problem for many captive reptiles, including the Blue Tongue Lizard, is Metabolic Bone Disease (MBD). MBD occurs when your reptile doesn’t get enough calcium in its diet. This can cause your pet’s bones to become soft and brittle and may even cause your pet to be unable to move. Cleaning up insects and other food that you serve to your pet with calcium and Vitamin D3 supplements will help prevent the onset of this disease.

Lifetime

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You can expect your Blue Tongue Lizard to live between 15 and 18 years if you are able to maintain the right habitat. These reptiles are quite hardy and have few health problems as long as you provide plenty of calcium.

Breeding

Breeding the Blue Tongued Skink is as easy as placing a male and female in a terrarium during the spring. Mating rituals can seem cruel, and males can claw and bite females to help them gain position. However, if you feel there is a possibility of injury, it is best to separate it and try again with a different partner. If mating occurs and you see the female getting bigger within a few weeks, breeding was successful, and she will give birth to live babies.

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Are Blue Tongue Lizards Friendly? Our Handling Advice

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Yes, Blue Tongued Skink is quite friendly and doesn’t mind when you handle it. In fact, frequent handling can help them recognize you, and they will become more relaxed and less likely to take a defensive stance.

Shedding & Brumation: What to Expect

Your Blue Tongue Lizard can shed quite often, especially while it’s still growing. If you notice your pet rubbing against a branch or a rough surface, it’s likely that it’s starting to fall out. We recommend increasing the humidity with more frequent sprays to help the skin peel off more easily. The water plate will allow your pet to submerge himself for more relief.

How Much Does a Blue Tongue Lizard Cost?

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You can expect to pay between $150 and $2,000 for your Blue Tongued Skink, depending on the breed you choose. The Indonesian and Australian Blue Tongue Lizards are much more affordable than the Centralian or Shingleback varieties. However, breeders are getting much better at creating captive-bred reptiles, and these pieces will likely fall in the next few years.

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Care Guide Summary

excess

  • Submissive nature

  • Likes to be held

  • Simple diet

Counter

  • Expensive

  • Hard to find

  • Requires a large habitat

reptile-dividerConclusion

The Blue Tongued Skink is an attractive animal that makes a great pet for anyone interested in keeping reptiles. He likes to be handled and is usually quite calm, so this is a great choice for children. It’s also low maintenance once you’ve set up the habitat, and it will only require feeding and heating lamp replacements to live long.

We hope you have enjoyed our review of this interesting reptile and have found the answers you need. If we’ve convinced you to get one for your home, please share this guide with Blue Tonged Skink on Facebook and Twitter.


Featured Image Credit: Tiliqua scincoides scincoides (Image Credit: JJ Harrison, Wikimedia Commons CC SA 3.0 Unported)