Pink Tongue Skink

If you are looking for a lizard that is easy to care for, the Pink-Tongued Skink is a great choice. They have a long life, are very hardy, easy to breed, and more! But what else do you need to know about this creature before adopting it? We solve everything here.

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Quick Facts About Pink Tongued Lizards

pink tongued lizard in the wild

Species Name:Hemisphaeriodon gerrardii
Common names:Pink Tongue Skink
Treatment Level:Low level/beginner
Lifetime:20 years
Adult Size:18”
Diet:Worms, bananas, mice, cat/dog food, chicken and beef
Minimum Tank Size:10 gallons
Temperature & Humidity:70-80 degrees Fahrenheit, basking area 90 degrees Fahrenheit, and humidity 70-80%

Do Pink Tongue Lizards Make Good Pets?

If you’re looking for a great low maintenance lizard for beginners, the Pink Tongue Skink might be just what you’re looking for. They have a mild temperament which allows for decent handling, but you have to be careful with their sharp claws. Even though they don’t use it much, if you push your Pink Tongue Skink, you may have an uncomfortable experience. But with a little practice and time, you can handle this easygoing lizard with ease, and care for this friendly reptile is minimal.

Appearance

Most Pink Tongue Lizards look very similar. They have a body color that ranges from silvery gray to light brown. They also have dark brown or black stripes running down their bodies.

While adults have pink tongues and that is what gives them their name, babies have black tongues that change color as they grow. Overall, this is a slender lizard with a broad head and sharp claws that you need to be aware of when handling it.

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How to Take Care of Pink Tongue Skink

Habitat, Tank Conditions & Settings

Tank

While the minimum tank size for one adult Pink-Tongued Skink is 10 gallons, there is little doubt that a larger tank will make for a happier pet with more room to roam. In fact, if you can get a tank between 20 and 30 gallons, you’ll be in much better shape.

Whatever size tank you use, make sure that it has a snug top so your Pink Tongue Skink can’t escape. These gentle lizards love a good challenge, and there’s nothing more exciting than trying to escape their cage!

You will need to thoroughly clean the tank at least once a week, but you will need to clean the water bowl every day to keep your pet healthy.

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Lightning

While the Pink Tongue Lizard has no special lighting requirements, an additional UVB light in one of the tanks is a good idea. If you combine it with a heating lamp, you won’t even need an extra bulb in your tank!

Heating (Temperature & Humidity)

Pink Tongue Skinks are cold-blooded, like reptiles, so it is important to regulate the temperature gradient in their tank. You need a heating lamp on one side of the tank that consistently maintains a temperature between 80 and 90 degrees Fahrenheit.

However, on the other side of the tank, the temperature should not drop below 70 degrees. As far as lizard cages go, these are relatively easy to set up.

Your Pink Tongue Skink needs a tank with high humidity to stay healthy. A humidity level of between 70% and 80% is ideal. To help with this, leave a bowl full of water in the tank at all times and spray your tank with Pink Tongue Skink several times a day.

Substrate

You Pink-Tongued Skink needs a cage that is as close to its wild habitat as possible. They have leaf litter and plenty of places to hide in the wild, and that’s what you want to fit in a tank. Spruce mulch is an excellent choice for this, but it’s up to you.

Tank Recommendations

Tank Type:20-30 gallons is ideal
Lightning:UVB rays
Warmup:Heat lamp between 80-90 degrees Fahrenheit, ample room to cool, and humidity levels between 70% and 80%
Best Substrate:fir mulch

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Feeding the Pink Tongue Lizard

For young pink-tongued lizards, you need to feed them every day, but three times a week is enough for an adult lizard. Never feed your lizards more than they can eat in one session.

However, there’s no amount of food you should give them — just remove any extra food after they’re done eating.

Pink Tongue Lizards have a varied diet and can eat earthworms, wax worms, mealworms, crickets, bananas, mice, cat food, scrambled eggs, mangoes, raspberries, chicken, beef and more! It’s best to give them a varied diet, so mix in as much as you want – just be sure to sprinkle in a healthy dose of live bugs.

Diet Summary

live insects:70%
Fruits:15%
Chicken, Beef, Eggs and other foods:15%

Keeping Your Pink Tongue Skin Healthy

As far as lizards go, the Pink Tongue Lizard is a relatively hardy breed. However, you will need to keep an eye on your pet to see if you notice any abnormal behavior. If your lizard seems more lethargic, has extra mucus, has lost its appetite, or has skin problems, it’s time to see a vet.

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This is not a problem that will usually go away on its own, so finding a vet with a thorough understanding of exotic animals is essential to getting your Pink Tongue Skink back on track. We highlight some additional potential health issues to look out for in your Pink Tongue Skink here.

General Health Problems

These include obesity, scale decay, respiratory infections, parasites, and mites.

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Lifetime

If you care for your Pink Tongue Lizard properly, there’s no reason your lizard can’t live between 15 and 20 years. However, this all depends on the quality of care you provide, including an adequate size aquarium.

While these lizards are great for beginners and can tolerate some faults, they can still shorten the life of your Pink Tongue Lizard over time. So make sure to learn from your mistakes, and you should have a lizard for most of your life!

Breeding

Unlike most lizards, the Pink Tongue Lizard has a live birth! If you want to breed Pink Tongue Lizards, the process is relatively easy. Ideally, you should have several females and males in the same cage, so make sure you have enough room for all of them.

Females have a gestation period of more than 100 days, and they will give birth to five to 67 neonates! Common litter is anywhere from 10 to 20, and you should transfer it to individual cages as soon as possible to prevent problems.

However, keep in mind that the mother will be eating after giving birth to them within a few minutes of giving birth, so don’t move her before she has finished this. Each neonate is delivered individually, with only a few minutes separating each birth.

Since breeding is easy, you should keep this in mind if you have a lot of Pink Tongue Lizards and don’t want your tank to be full of babies!

Are Pink Tongue Lizards Friendly? Our Handling Advice

The Pink Tongue Lizard is very polite and docile. They don’t mind you holding them, but it’s best to slowly increase the amount of time you hold them. This will give them more time to adapt and get used to it.

When your Pink Tongue Lizard shows signs of agitation, it is best to return it to its cage instead of forcing a longer interaction. They do have sharp claws, and although they don’t use them often, if they do decide to use them, it can definitely be painful.

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However, these are beginner pets for a reason, so you should be able to pick them up and walk with them eventually!

Shedding & Brumation: What to Expect

Pink Tongue Skink will shed its skin over time, and a high humidity environment will help with this. Keeping the water bowl slightly too full to moisten the surrounding substrate will also help!

When winter comes, it is best to lower the temperature of the aquarium from time to time. Do it only 1-2 degrees every few weeks, and never below 60 degrees. This will help match winter conditions in the wild.

Normally your Pink Tongue Lizards become a bit more lethargic during this time, but they still have quite a bit of energy. Finally, as winter draws to a close, raise the temperature a few degrees every few weeks instead of warming up the tank immediately.

How Much Does a Pink Tongued Lizard Cost?

Pink Tongue Skinks usually cost between $250 and $300. While these are a little pricey, they are larger lizards and have a longer lifespan, which helps offset the cost.

When you factor in the cage, food, and everything else you’ll need, you can quickly expect to spend well over $1,000 in the first year.

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  • Easy to maintain

  • Easy to breed

  • A little health problem

  • Extensive diet

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  • Expensive initial fee

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Conclusion

If you are interested in reptiles but have never owned one before, the Pink Tongue Skink is ideal for beginners. But keep in mind that they are not short-term investments, as they can live up to 20 years! As pets, they are easy to care for and don’t mind handling, making them great beginner reptiles!

SEE ALSO: Peter’s Banded Skink: The Complete Guide


Featured Image Credit: reptil4all, Shutterstock