Blue Tongue Skink Care Guide
The Species: Blue Tongue Skinks (Tiliqua scincoides scincoides) also known as Eastern Blue-Tongued Skinks or Eastern Blue-Tongued Lizards, named after its bright blue tongue which it extends and flattens whilst hissing as a defensive technique. These animals are native to Australia and Indonesia inhabiting bushlands, coastal heaths, forests, woodlands, montane forests, grasslands and tropical environments. Blue Tongue Skinks are solitary by nature and are only usually housed together for breeding purposes.
Enclosure: Blue Tongue Skinks are terrestrial and should be housed inside a vivarium, ideally made from wood however glass is also an acceptable material as long as the sides and back are blacked out to prevent them from rubbing their nose against the glass. A minimum vivarium size of 4x1x1ft is acceptable however an ideal size would be 6x2x2ft.
Being a tropical species, these animals need suitable substrate made from soil based substrates. Recommended substrates are Arcadia Earth Mix or however other ProRep Bio Life Forest however alternatives work well. Arid substrates, calcisand and newspaper are considered unacceptable substrates to use. Reptile Carpet, paper towels and newspaper is acceptable if quarantining or rehabilitating these animals.
Various decor and apparatus should be included to provide as natural of an enclosure as possible. Woods, rocks, foliage and caves are all suitable to use for this species along with a large bowl for water and a feeding dish should be readily available as well.
Heating: These animals should be kept at a temperature range of 21-35 degrees celsius (70-95 degrees farenheight). They should be provided with a hot and cool end and with a basking spot to reach peak temperatures. Heating should be provided by a heat lamp on a thermostat with a cage guarding the lamp to prevent the animal from burning themselves, all heating should be on a 12 hour cycle, turning off at night to provide a natural drop in temperature.
We do not recommend using heat mats for Blue Tongue Skinks as they do not reach the temperatures required as easily and can become fire hazards inside wooden vivariums. Suitable bulbs are ceramic, true infra red or white/yellow light bulbs however any bulb producing a red light should not be used as they can cause the animals to go blind after extended usage.
Lighting: Blue Tongue Skinks, along with majority of other reptiles require UVB lighting to simulate sunlight and prevent deformities and MBD (Metabolic Bone Disease) from setting in. This lighting should cover approximately 3/4 of the enclosure to ensure that the animal receives adequate levels of UVB as much as possible. These lizards should have a 12% UVB bulb and they should be replaced every 6-12 months to ensure that the UVB doesn't run out within the bulb. All lighting should be on a 12 hour cycle to provide a natural day/night sequence.
Humidity: Being an tropical species, Blue Tongue Skinks should have lower levels of humidity of approximately 60-80% and should ideally not raise above that. When in shed, it is best to keep the humidity higher, closer to 80%.
Diet: Blue Tongue Skinks are omnivorous meaning they eat both vegetation and protein. Protein in their diet should consist of insects and other invertebrates such as locust, crickets, cockroaches, snails and morio worms etc. however it is important that they also eat a suitable amount of vegetation.
Vegetation should consist of kale, salad leaves, and other vegetation in moderation such as some fruits, carrots etc. Foods to avoid are mealworms, iceberg lettuce, cucumber and other foods with a low level of nutrition as these foods can cause MBD to set in.
It is important to supplement your Lizard's food which will help in preventing MBD, calcium is the main priority supplement however others are also important such as Vitamin A. We recommend Arcadia's supplements provided on rotation including Calcium with Magnesium, Earth-Pro A Supplement. Both of these will provide a complete level of supplements.
Water is also an extremely important aspect to an animals diet and constant water access should be provided in a water bowl and should be changed daily, we generally recommend RO water or mineral water due to tap water containing chlorine which can be harmful to some animals.