If you’re interested in getting a blue tongue skink or you already have one then this post is for you. In this guide, we are going to discuss all about Blue Tongue skink and their care
Blue tongue skinks are awesome lizards, they have so much personality, usually very friendly and very easy to handle and care for. They are also great beginner pets. If you don’t have much reptile experience that is okay because they’re great anyways they still love you no matter what.
Types of Blue Tongue
There are two main types of Blue Tongue skinks in the pet trade; the northern Blue Tongue skink and the Indonesian Blue Tongue skink. However, their care is relatively the same but there is a difference where they come from.
All northern Blue Tongue skink are mostly captive bred at least in North America, Europe and Asia because they are not exported anymore. I don’t know how it is in Australia because they are a native species there so I’m not going to speak on that just because I don’t really know what goes on there.
Indonesian Blue Tongue skink are on the other hand are most often imported, wild-caught or farmed. If you are getting a Indonesian species and it’s not marked as captive bred then it is most likely wild caught.
The most important thing when it comes to owning a blue skank is their enclosure. In my opinion a blue-tongued skink needs at least a 75 gallon enclosure. Many people recommend 40 breeders but in my opinion it’s just too small. Blue tongue skinks can grow up to 30 inches from head to toe. They are clearly quite big lizards so a 40 gallon breeder is literally only a few inches longer than their body.
When it comes to what you are going to put inside the enclosure it’s not super complicated however, it does vary a bit between northern and Indonesians blue tongue skinks.
Indonesian species require much higher humidity than northern blue tongue skinks. Indonesian specie will typically prefer humidity from 60 to 80% whereas northern tolerate much lower humidity from 30 to 40%.
Based on the fact that Indonesian and northern blue tongue skinks require different humidity levels inside their enclosure so the substrate you use may vary. For an Indonesian you can use cypress mulch, Raptor bark, eco earth, Spagna moss or a mix of all these. Make sure whatever you are using as a substrate hold humidity well.
Blue tongue skinks love to borrow that’s why we recommend at least 3 to 4 inches of substrate.
For a northern on the other you can go with something like Aspen because it doesn’t need to hold humidity as much. Cypress mulch is also good substrate for northern blue tongue skinks.
Blue tongue skinks are very curious animals and they like to explore. They should have lots of enrichment in their enclosure. We recommend putting a few plants for them to climb on.
For blue tongues it’s super important to provide them a number of hiding places. Because the love to hide when they are stressed out.
In blue tongue enclosure you will need a water dish. It is important that your skink has a water bowl to drink out of as I find they drink a lot of water. The water dish doesn’t need to be very big where they can soak in. As long as it is big enough to hold a decent amount of water for your reptile to drink out of that it’s just fine. You will also need a food dish inside your blue tongue skink enclosure.
When it comes to lighting and temperatures you need to know that your skin should have a warm side and a cool side in their enclosure. It’s important you don’t have the heat source somewhere in the middle of the tank as this doesn’t provide a very efficient heat gradient. You need to place the heat source on one side of the enclosure.
When it comes to picking out your heat source, I would definitely recommend going with some type of overhead heating rather than a heat pad. Skinks like to bask so overhead heat source is definitely preferred. You can choose either a basking bulb or you can go with the ceramic heat emitter.
Indonesians blue tongue skinks like higher temperatures then northern do. An Indonesian skink will like to bask around 100 degrees or sometimes even higher up to 110 degrees whereas northern like to bask in more like 90-degree heat.
Blue tongue lighting can be a controversial subject as there are many different opinions. Some people believe that Blue Tongue skink absolutely need UVB to survive and other people believe that it is not necessary for their survival at all. I personally do choose to provide UVB to my blue tongue skinks. It’s important that you do your research and figure out what you believe.
There have been many keepers and breeders who have kept Blue Tongue skink for many years without using UVB at all and they do just fine. Because of that in my opinion I don’t think they need UVB to survive but I do agree that it is beneficial.
Compared to most reptiles blue tongue skinks have kind of strange diets. Usually when people think of a reptiles diet they think of things like insects and maybe rodents if you’re thinking of snakes but on the terms of lizards most people are probably going to think insects. While Blue Tongue skinks will eat insects it’s is definitely not the staple of their diet.
In the wild blue tangs are scavengers meaning they will pretty well eat whatever they can find that’s edible. They are omnivores meaning they do eat both meat and vegetation. You need to follow the 40 50 and 10% rule. Their diet should be of 40% protein 50% veggies and 10% fruit.
The best thing to feed them is dog food. Some people think that’s super strange that they eat wet dog food and honestly, it’s kind of is strange but it is super good for them. Dog food is pretty much made up of what blue tongue skinks need. It has the meat in it for protein, it has vegetables in it. It really does have a lot of what they would be eating in the wild so, honestly what dog food is the best thing you can give them.
You also want to make sure you supplement their food with calcium and vitamins. Blue tongue skinks can also have treats, they love eggs but eggs shouldn’t be fed too often because I think that they are too high in fats and proteins.
Fruits also shouldn’t be fed very often. They should only make up a small part of their diet but they make great treats.