Oct 162011
 

Blue Tongue Skink: Tiliqua scincoides

Adult Size
~20 inches, around eight of which is tail.

Life Span
10 to 20 years in captivity.

Male/Female Differences
There is no reliable way to sex juvenile skinks. Adult skinks are still quite difficult. Males tend to be bigger and thicker especially around the head and neck.

Compatibility
Skinks can be housed together without fear of aggression, however the mating ritual of skinks can be quite aggressive. This occurs only once a year and pairs are completely compatible the rest of the year.

Origin
Northern Australia

Climate
Warm tropical or savannah

Day Cycle
Diurnal (awake during the day)

Temperature
Mid 80’s during the day, with a drop to the mid to low 70’s at night.

Lighting
Like all lizards, Blue-Tongue Skinks need a source of UVB in order to synthesize vitamin D and properly metabolize calcium.

Humidity
Skinks appreciate moderate humidity. Light daily misting is excellent.

Habitat/Territory
Woodlands, grasslands, and brushlands. They are ground dwellers and burrowers.

Substrate/Bedding
Cypress Mulch (Bed-A-Brick) or wood chips provide the most natural environment. Cage carpets are also very effective and easy to keep clean.

Hiding Place/Den
Skinks are big burrowers and love artificial hiding places. These can be purchased premade or constructed yourself by stacking rocks or driftwood.

Cage Type
10-20 gallon tanks are suitable for babies. Adults should be housed in 40 breeder tanks, or something of similar size and dimension, with a large amount of ground space.

Diet
Skinks are true omnivores and should be fed a diet consisting of about 60% meat items (e.g. crickets, superworms, pinkie mice) and 40% plant items (e.g. dark leafy greens, berries are especially relished)

Supplements
A calcium supplement should be provided, and a reptile vitamin containing
vitamin D³.

Diet Precautions
Do not feed frozen vegetables, as this can lead to thiamin deficiency. Do not overfeed vegetables high in phosphorus, such as broccoli, spinach, or kale.

Feeding
The lizard should be fed every day. Most people find the most convenient way to be sure your lizard is getting all it needs is to alternate crickets one day with worms and greens the next.

Water Source
The water bowl should be large, as skinks like to bathe in their water, and should be changed often, as they have a tendency to defecate in it.

Grooming
Very little in the way of grooming is required. A weekly soak in tepid water would help to keep the lizard clean and hydrated.

Oral and Foot Care
No special requirements.

Proper Handling
Your skink should be scooped from underneath and behind, so as not to frighten it. It should be held firmly but gently with two hands.

Habitat Maintenance
Remove feces and change water daily. Substrate should be changed every four to six weeks, or when it begins to smell.

Health Concerns
Calcium deficiency or lack of proper lighting can lead to metabolic bone disease, characterized by soft, weak jaw or limbs, a slouched posture, inactivity, or refusal to feed.

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