Do Blue Tongued Skinks Make Good Pets?

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Blue Tongued Skink belongs to one of the most prominent lizard families known as Scincidae. One fascinating feature of all subspecies and species of this skink family is the famous berry-blue tongue. Originally from Australia, there are about ten different species in the Scincidae family. Some of the most popular ones include Pygmy, Blotched, Western, Merauke, Centralian, Tanimbar Island, and Indonesian blue-tongued skinks.

Given that Skinks mainly feed on snails and slugs, they are favorite pets among farmers in Australia. Most fascinating is that skinks can also comfortably thrive in other areas because of their hardiness, pleasant nature, and low maintenance requirements.

Are Blue Tongued Skinks Good Pets?

With their friendly personalities, it is easy to see why Blue Tongued Skinks are often considered good pets. However, they should not be kept as pets by anyone who does not have the proper experience or knowledge of how to care for skinks or other reptiles.

Keeping Blue Tongued Skinks

Remember that although they may require a bigger enclosure compared to other species, Blue Tongued Skinks are generally docile and makes an ideal pet choice for everyone in the family. Before adopting one, here are essential requirements you should consider.

– Diet & Feeding

Skinks are strictly omnivores and thrive better on a meat and plant diet. However, ensure that you feed them on a well-balanced diet of 50% fresh vegetables, 30% animal-based protein, and 20% flowers plus fruits.

Some of the most nutritious meals for Skinks include rodents, fish, beef, baby rats, mice, invertebrates, grated carrots, kale, okra, corn, turnips, and beets. You can also throw in some freshly cut flowers and fruits like roses, strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries.

Although you can give frozen veggies and fruits to your lizards, remember that excess may not meet their dietary requirements because they contain minimal thiamine. That said; avoid giving your lizards acidic fruits, rhubarb, and avocado skin as they may cause diarrhea and other complications. You can either give them raw or cooked for animal proteins, depending on your pet’s preference. Bear in mind that the food quantity mainly depends on your Skinks age and size.

Generally, young sinks and babies require regular feeding six days a week. On the other hand, you can offer fresh food to adult skinks every day of the week. Moreover, remove uneaten food portions every day to prevent contamination.

– Enclosure Setup

Like other reptile pets, you can keep your Skinks in well-sized aquariums or vivarium made from wood, glass, or plastic. Depending on your preference, ensure that the enclosure has enough ventilation and easy to clean or access.

In addition, it should have lockable, escape-proof, and free from dangerous sharp edges.  A 120 by 60 cm cage for an average-sized Skink makes a comfortable home to your scaled friends. Optimum humidity levels for several Skinks species vary from 40 to 60%.

Additionally, offer an ambient temperature of 75-82 degrees around the cool side and 90-100 degrees in the warm end. Bear in mind that Skinks have short, sturdy legs and may not jump or climb high. Therefore, it is entirely unnecessary to install very high branches in the enclosure.

Do not forget to throw in some wood shavings, old newspapers, or reptile carpets to absorb liquid and prevent your reptiles from harming their claws. Since Blue tongued skinks are pretty territorial, avoid placing males in one cage.

– Health Problems

Although your scaly friends are relatively hardy, keeping them in a clean environment for a long healthy lifespan is vital. Likewise, take time to monitor common symptoms displayed when Skinks become stressed or ill. For instance, if your pet suddenly stops eating or prefers spending hours hiding, that should be one source of concern.

One of the most common Skinks ailments is a shedding complication known as Dysecdysis. Usually, this happens when the reptile’s aquarium is not humid enough. For this reason, spray the cage regularly during the day.

Other than that, Skinks suffer from raw nose mainly caused by rubbing hard on surfaces. Also, some develop claw development problems, mouth rot, dehydration, scale rot, and external or internal parasites.

All in all, if your Skinks experience high fever, face swelling, excess salivation, or tongue and lip swelling, seek medical attention right away. Importantly, contact a dependable exotic veterinarian annually for extensive medical assessments.

– Lifespan

Even if various Skink species have a different lifespan, proper diet and environmental status play a significant role in extending it. In the wilderness, most of them live for about 15 to 18 years. Contrary, Skinks kept in captivity enjoy an elongated lifestyle of up to 30 years.

It is vital for a pet that lives this long to focus on providing them with a better quality of life. Typically, all you need to do is keep them in optimal setups, offer nutritious meals, and meet their medical needs.

Do Blue Tongued Skinks Like to Be Handled?

While most pet reptiles detest regular handling, Skins are somewhat submissive and would not mind a scratch on their chin and head. Still, some species are comparatively aggressive, like Tanimbar Island. However, it is pretty standard for Skinks to puff and hiss when threatened. If excessively frightened, some curl up in a C position with their tongues out of the mouth.

It is common to notice these habits when you introduce Skinks in a new environment. Luckily, the tendency declines with time as your pleasant pet becomes accustomed.

Do Blue Tongued Skinks Bite?

Regardless of their pleasant temperament, Skinks may bite if they become excessively agitated or stressed. Luckily the bites are not venomous and may not cause significant repercussions.

Still, it is worth noting that some species may break the skin and draw blood. If your pet has large teeth, there is a high possibility of a deeper cut than a smaller species.

Do Blue Tongued Skinks Smell?

Skinks can’t produce a foul smell because they do not have sweat glands. Probably, the only thing that stinks in your pet’s cage is the urine and feces. Thankfully, if you practice a regular hygiene routine, this should not be a reason to fret about.

Wrap Up

Often, gardeners keep Blue Tongued Skinks to help them eradicate slugs and snails from their plants. Most impressive is that Skinks are equally intelligent, have a likable personality, and sometimes display emotions to familiar people. The beauty of it all is that they quickly adapt to captivity and become amicable and submissive pets.

Reptiles, Skinks

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