Blue Tongue Skink Enclosure?

This care sheet applies specifically to the Northern blue-tongued skink, but most species and subspecies of blue-tongued skinks can be kept using these guidelines. Blue-tongued skinks are ideal for beginners, as they have loads of personality and great dispositions. Blue-tongued skinks are also an excellent choice for advanced hobbyists, as breeding them can be challenging and certain bluetongue species and localities are extremely rare.

Be sure to choose reptiles from a reputable source and look for active lizards with bright, open eyes. Baby blue-tongues should be housed singly in plastic reptile enclosures, terrariums or 20-gallon aquariums with full screen tops.

This 2-week-old baby northern blue-tongued skink can be kept in a 20-gallon terrarium or similarly sized enclosure. Aspen, recycled paper substrates, fir bark and cypress mulch (as long as it’s kept dry) can all be used safely with blue-tongued skinks. Cedar chips, clay cat litter, orchid bark and walnut shells should never be used, as these substrates may lead to toxicity, impaction or respiratory concerns.

Proper housing accessories include cork bark, Mopani wood, logs, large rocks and hide boxes or other shelters. Do not clutter the cage, as blue tongues enjoy plenty of open space. This young bluetongue will grow into a personable pet lizard that enjoys having its head and chin scratched.

A quality vitamin/calcium supplement with vitamin D3 is important, especially if you’re not providing a sufficiently varied and well-rounded menu. Sprinkle the supplement over your bluetongue‘s food every third feeding for adults and every other meal for young blue-tongues that are still growing. Feel free to try other types, but avoid citrus, avocado, eggplant, rhubarb and high-sodium canned meats/foods.

Indonesian, Tanimbar, Irian Jaya, Merauke and Kei Island blue-tongued skinks may prefer slightly higher humidity levels. Be sure to hold your bluetongue close to the floor or over a bed, sofa, etc., in case you accidentally drop the lizard. While many reptiles do not like to be handled at all, and some merely tolerate it, blue-tongued skinks are very personable and often seem to enjoy being scratched on the head or chin.

Blue-tongued skinks will consistently reward and surprise their keepers with their friendly and curious personalities. They are great for reptile enthusiasts of all levels, and the unique and intelligent blue-tongued skink just may be the ultimate pet lizard!

What is the best size tank for a blue tongue skink?

Terrarium Size. An adult blue tongue skink requires minimum 8 sq ft of floor space, or a 48″x24″x18″ enclosure. Skinks are extremely active and love to explore, so bigger is better. Even baby blue tongue skinks can be housed in an adult-sized enclosure as long as they have lots of hiding places to help them feel secure …

What kind of enclosure do blue tongue skinks need?

An adult blue-tongued skink requires, at minimum, an enclosure measuring 36 inches long by 18 inches wide by 10 inches tall, with a full screen top. Larger is even better. Remember, blue-tongued skinks are terrestrial and prefer floor space over climbing area.

How do you make a blue tongue lizard enclosure?

Use a glass aquarium, wooden box or plastic tub to house your lizard and consider their adult size. Talk to your local Petbarn team member about what size enclosure is sufficient. Use sand, gravel, or newspaper to create a suitable substrate. Keep branches low to the ground and stable.

Does a blue tongue skink need a heating pad?

It is important to create a thermal gradient (or a warm side) in the cage/enclosure. This can be done with an appropriate sized Zilla Heat Mat adhered to the bottom of the tank all the way to one side. Ideal temperatures for blue tongued skinks range from 75-80°F on the cool side and 80-85°F on the warm side.

Blue tongue skinks are a group of diurnal, terrestrial lizards found throughout Australia and parts of Indonesia. They can be easily recognized by their triangular head, heavy torpedo-shaped body, short legs, and distinctive blue tongue.

Blue tongue skinks are rapidly becoming very popular reptile pets due to their general hardiness and vibrant personalities. This care sheet will address the most common blue tongue skink species kept in the US:

4x2x2 Zen Habitats Reptile Enclosure with PVC Panels 5 dome heat lamp with a ceramic socket high-wattage PAR38 halogen flood bulb, white light plug-in lamp dimmer digital thermometer + hygrometer with probes 22-24 T5 HO desert UVB bulb and fixture light timer pressurized spray bottle substrate (bedding) sphagnum moss basking surface (ex: flagstone) caves x2 ( Zen Cave or Zen Corner Cave ) decorations (logs, plants, etc.) Leading experts recommend keeping blue tongue skinks in no smaller than a 120 gallon (48x24x24) enclosure. Blue tongue skinks can be very territorial, and may fight and severely injure one another if confined to the same space.

And as reptiles, they need UVB lighting to promote optimum health and wellness. For best results, install the bulb in a reflective fixture like the Zoo Med Reptisun T5 HO Terrarium Hood. Bulb and fixture should span 1/2 of the enclosures length and be mounted on the same side as the heat lamp.

Unlike humans, blue tongue skinks and other reptiles are cold-blooded, which means that they need external heat for their bodies to work properly. Place the probe for the thermometer directly under the heat lamp to read basking temps. Blue tongue skinks need specific levels of humidity in their environment for good health:

One of the easiest ways to boost and maintain humidity is by using a pressurized spray bottle as needed. Blue tongue skinks are burrowing lizards, so they need 4-6 inches of deep, soft substrate in their enclosure. They also need a substrate that is can retain moisture well, which plays a significant role in maintaining healthy humidity levels.

coconut husk cypress mulch reptile soil 80/20 topsoil/play sand mix Leaf litter and moistened sphagnum moss are great materials to layer on top of your substrate to encourage better humidity retention. Blue tongue skinks are omnivorous, which means that they need both plant and animal matter in their diet.

The key to success with blue tongue skinks (and most reptiles, for that matter) is to feed them as large a variety of foods as possible. Neither supplement should contain vitamin D. Dust calcium on all feeder insects, and sprinkle multivitamin on the skinks food 1-2x/month. Blue tongue skinks need ready access to clean drinking water in their enclosure.

Choose a bowl that is large enough for the skink to soak in as desired, but shallow enough to prevent drowning. When you first bring your new blue tongue skink home, resist the temptation to immediately start cuddling it. Youre huge compared to a skink, and they need time get used to you as well as their new living space.

Once your skink has stopped running away from your hand and seems calm in your presence, you can start holding them. Trust and friendship (as far as it goes for lizards) takes time and short daily handling sessions.

But just like any reptile, this species has some fairly strict dietary and environmental needs. And any owner thats interested in one needs to know what they are!

In it, youll learn everything you need to know about blue tongue skink care so you can help your pet live a happy and healthy life! Several subspecies are considered to be part of the larger blue tongue skink family.

The variation within the species has put the blue tongue skink in a very unique position. The most common variant youll see in the reptile trade is the Northern blue tongue skink. Like any other captive reptile, a blue tongue skinks health is directly affected by the level of care you provide.

A poorly maintained habitat and a lackluster diet will lead to stress, disease, and a shorter lifespan. These creatures are covered in scales and have a smooth shape that closely resembles a snake. In fact, its easy to mistake skinks for snakes when they are buried or partially hidden!

The popular Northern blue tongue skink has a light brown base color. You might see specimens that have dark brown and black stripes, those with light-colored skin, and those with large spots. The average blue tongue skink size is pretty big compared to other popular lizard species in the reptile trade.

However, the exact size you can expect is going to depend entirely on the subspecies you choose. Expert Tip: Most are going to be on the larger end, so its best to plan accordingly and make sure that you have plenty of space. Like any other reptile, blue tongue skink care requires you to follow some rather strict guidelines if you want your pet to live a long and happy life.

These animals live in distinct habitats in the wild that cater to their biological needs and lifestyle. When youre keeping one in captivity, your goal should always be to replicate their environment and provide a biologically appropriate diet. While this might sound daunting, blue tongue skink is actually pretty simple (especially compared to a lot of other species).

Blue tongue skinks are largely terrestrial which means they dont spend too much time climbing in the trees. The best type of enclosure for a blue tongue skink is a glass reptile tank with a screened lid. The screened lid will promote ventilation, which helps to manage humidity levels a bit.

Expert Tip: You can also choose a reptile enclosure with swinging front doors. This design makes it easy to handle your reptile and gain access to the interior. Planning the perfect habitat for a blue tongue skink is much easier than most people think!

Blue tongue skinks may try to eat the substrate, which could lead to impaction issues. Blue tongue skinks arent huge climbers, but they do enjoy basking on a raised rock every once in a while. If they do, youll need to invest in a heating pad or ceramic emitter to keep temperatures stable.

This will be a heated part of the habitat that the lizard will use to increase their body temperature when they feel cold. UVB lighting is meant to replicate the effects of the suns rays, which are crucial for good health. When kept indoors, many reptiles that dont have exposure to UVB rays develop bone diseases.

You can install a UVB light over the enclosure and leave it on for 12 to 14 hours per day. You wont be able to see the UVB light, so make sure that youre changing out the bulb every 6 months for good measure. Owners will typically mix up food ingredients regularly to ensure that the lizard is getting all the nutrients and vitamins they need.

Some will even plan out meals ahead of time and break down the nutrient profile for better control. Mealworms Crickets Thawed frozen mice Boiled chicken High-quality canned dog or cat food Ground turkey Youll be happy to know that blue tongue skinks arent susceptible to any major illnesses that are specific to the species.

In fact, we consider blue tongue skink care to be something anyone can manage (no matter how much experience they have).

An adult blue tongue skink requires minimum 8 sq ft of floor space, or a 48x24x18 enclosure. Skinks are extremely active and love to explore, so bigger is better. Even baby blue tongue skinks can be housed in an adult-sized enclosure as long as they have lots of hiding places to help them feel secure. (For more info on creating hides, visit this page.)

Blue-Tongued Skink (

This care sheet applies specifically to the Northern blue-tongued skink, but most species and subspecies of blue-tongued skinks can be kept using these guidelines. Blue-tongued skinks are ideal for beginners, as they have loads of personality and great dispositions. Blue-tongued skinks are also an excellent choice for advanced hobbyists, as breeding them can be challenging and certain bluetongue species and localities are extremely rare.

Blue-Tongued Skink Availability

Northern blue-tongued skinks are available seasonally, with most litters dropped June through August. Other species, including Indonesian blue-tongued skinks (

Blue-Tongued Skink Size

The Northern blue-tongued skink is the largest bluetongue. The total length of an adult usually ranges between 18 and 24 inches.

Blue-Tongued Skink Life Span

Kept properly, blue-tongued skinks can live for 15 to 20 years, and possibly longer.

Blue-Tongued Skink Enclosure

Baby blue-tongues should be housed singly in plastic reptile enclosures, terrariums or 20-gallon aquariums with full screen tops. An adult blue-tongued skink requires, at minimum, an enclosure measuring 36 inches long by 18 inches wide by 10 inches tall, with a full screen top. Larger is even better. Remember, blue-tongued skinks are terrestrial and prefer floor space over climbing area.All blue-tongued skinks, both juveniles and adults, are best kept singly. You may be able to house females together, or a male and female pair, but observe them very closely. If they fight, keep them in separate cages. Males should never be kept together.

Blue-Tongued Skink Lighting and Temperature

Reptiles control their body temperature through thermoregulation, and it’s crucial for your blue-tongued skink enclosure to have a warm end and a cooler end. Place all heating and lighting at one end of the enclosure, so if your bluetongue gets too warm, it can move toward the cooler end opposite, and vice versa if it gets too cold. A thermometer at each end to monitor temperatures is recommended.Blue-tongued skink enclosures should have ambient temperatures on the cool side from 75 to 82 degrees Fahrenheit. The warm end should include a basking area of 90 to 100 degrees. This can be accomplished using an under-tank heating device, such as a heat mat or heat tape, and/or an overhead incandescent basking light or heat emitter. If both under-tank and overhead heat are provided, the overhead heating devices should be turned off at night. Daylight bulbs should be on a maximum of 12 hours each day. The cooler end of the enclosure can drop to 70 degrees at night.Though there are documented cases of blue-tongues being raised successfully without exposure to full-spectrum lighting, I do recommend UVB lighting in blue-tongued skink enclosures. The UVB lights should be on eight to 12 hours a day. Any UVB bulb will also provide UVA, which is beneficial to blue-tongued skinks.

Blue-Tongued Skink Substrate and Accessories

Aspen, recycled paper substrates, fir bark and cypress mulch (as long as it’s kept dry) can all be used safely with blue-tongued skinks. Cedar chips, clay cat litter, orchid bark and walnut shells should never be used, as these substrates may lead to toxicity, impaction or respiratory concerns. Whichever substrate you choose, be sure your skink does not ingest it. Accidental ingestion can be deterred by using a feeding dish. Blue-tongues spend their time on the ground, so keep the substrate clean and maintained.Blue-tongues may climb over rocks and logs, but they are not agile climbers. Be sure they cannot fall from any high areas, such as stacked rocks or branches, in their enclosures. Proper housing accessories include cork bark, Mopani wood, logs, large rocks and hide boxes or other shelters. Do not clutter the cage, as blue tongues enjoy plenty of open space. Elaborate decorations are unnecessary and will be rearranged by blue-tongues.

Blue-Tongued Skink Diet and Feeding

Blue-tongued skinks are extremely hardy lizards that will thrive on just about any diet, but a well-balanced diet will result in a more active, healthier blue-tongued skink.Blue-tongues are omnivorous and should be fed a combination of proteins, vegetables/greens and fruits. Variety is important. Switch protein sources and provide diversity when feeding canned foods. For each feeding, a ratio of 50 percent vegetables/greens, 40 percent protein and 10 percent fruit is ideal. Adult blue-tongued skinks should be fed every two to three days. Young blue-tongues do best when fed every other day. Feed them as much as they will eat in one sitting. After your skink has stopped eating, uneaten food should be removed immediately.A quality vitamin/calcium supplement with vitamin D3 is important, especially if you’re not providing a sufficiently varied and well-rounded menu. Sprinkle the supplement over your bluetongue‘s food every third feeding for adults and every other meal for young blue-tongues that are still growing.Below is a list of menu items that are appropriate for blue-tongued skinks. Feel free to try other types, but avoid citrus, avocado, eggplant, rhubarb and high-sodium canned meats/foods.

Proteins:

Canned super premium dog/cat foodDry super premium dog/cat food (moistened)Canned insect products (any variety, but snails are a favorite)Mealworms and superwormsHard-boiled eggsBoiled chickenGround turkey (cooked)Lean ground beef (cooked)Pinky mice (live or frozen/thawed, but only occasionally)

Fruits and Veggies:

Collard greensTurnip greensMustard greensSquash (including spaghetti, scallop, butternut, acorn, Hubbard, etc.)PeasBrussel sproutsCarrotsDandelions (pesticide free)Hibiscus flowers (pesticide free)MangoRaspberriesFigsPapayaCantaloupeStrawberriesBlueberriesIf feeding canned dog/cat foods to your blue-tongued skink, be sure to feed only super premium foods that contain no by-products and no meat/bone meal. Many foods are available with fruits and vegetables included; they are not a substitute for fresh foods, but they are preferred over 100-percent-protein cat/dog foods. Cat foods usually contain twice the protein of dog foods, so if you plan to offer either to your blue-tongues, I recommend dog foods over cat foods. If a skink is emaciated, cat/kitten food will help add weight. Cat food may also be fed to breeding skinks.Be sure to read the nutrition information on manufactured foods. I recommend avoiding corn-based foods, as well as foods that contain artificial colors, by-products (including chicken by-products) and meat/bone meal, as well as any foods that contain water as the main ingredient.

Blue-Tongued Skink Water and Humidity

Clean water should always be accessible in an appropriate water dish. Blue-tongued skinks are not good swimmers and must be able to easily exit the water bowl. Also be sure the water bowl cannot be easily tipped over. Northern blue-tongues are from semi-dry areas and require low humidity with adequate ventilation. Humidity levels ranging between 40 and 60 percent are ideal for Northern blue-tongues. Indonesian, Tanimbar, Irian Jaya, Merauke and Kei Island blue-tongued skinks may prefer slightly higher humidity levels. Use a hygrometer to monitor humidity levels.

Lifespan

There have been reports of specimens making it well past the 20-year mark! However, those lizards are more of an exception rather than the rule.Like any other captive reptile, a blue tongue skink’s health is directly affected by the level of care you provide. A poorly maintained habitat and a lackluster diet will lead to stress, disease, and a shorter lifespan.

Appearance & Colors

While it’s technically considered to be a lizard, blue tongue skinks are a class of their own. They have an unmistakable shape that’s very different from what you’d see with other lizard species in the trade.Blue tongue skinks are large and heavy. These creatures are covered in scales and have a smooth shape that closely resembles a snake. In fact,The legs of these amazing lizards are small, too. They’re quite stubby and easily tuck under the body.The head of the blue tongue skink is large and triangular. These animals have very strong jaws. Depending on the particular subspecies, they may also have large red or yellow eyes.Of course, we can’t forget about the blue mouths! True to their name, the blue tongue skink has an eye-catching blue mouth and tongue.Oftentimes, the lizard will use it to ward off potential predators. You might even see it if you accidentally do something to make them make uncomfortable!As for color, there’s a bit of variation between subspecies. The popular Northern blue tongue skink has a light brown base color. Hues of orange, chestnut, and even red can be found throughout the back.Other variants have distinct color morphs. You might see specimens that have dark brown and black stripes, those with light-colored skin, and those with large spots.

Average Size

The average blue tongue skink size is pretty big compared to other popular lizard species in the reptile trade. However, the exact size you can expect is going to depend entirely on the subspecies you choose.The Northern blue tongue skink is one of the largest available.On the smaller end of the size spectrum, some subspecies only get to be about 12 inches long.

Blue Tongue Skink Care

Like any other reptile, blue tongue skink care requires you to follow some rather strict guidelines if you want your pet to live a long and happy life.These animals live in distinct habitats in the wild that cater to their biological needs and lifestyle. When you’re keeping one in captivity, your goal should always be to replicate their environment and provide a biologically appropriate diet.While this might sound daunting, blue tongue skink is actually pretty simple (especially compared to a lot of other species). Their needs are relatively easy to manage and they don’t require any intense husbandry.

Enclosure Size

When you’re choosing an enclosure, it’s important to consider how these animals act in the wild. Blue tongue skinks are largely terrestrial which means they don’t spend too much time climbing in the trees.This means floor space should be your top priority!If you have the space in your home to go larger, aim for an enclosure that’s closer to 48 inches long, 24 inches wide, and 24 inches tall.The best type of enclosure for a blue tongue skink is a glass reptile tank with a screened lid. The screened lid will promote ventilation, which helps to manage humidity levels a bit.

Habitat Setup

Planning the perfect habitat for a blue tongue skink is much easier than most people think!With other lizard species, you have to choose the perfect decorations and plants. But with the blue tongue skink, that’s not the case.Because you’re not going to be using a ton of decorations, you’ll need to pay closer attention to the essentials.Starting with the substrate, use a dry, semi-soft material. Something like aspen, cypress mulch, recycled paper, or even a peat moss/sand mixture.Avoid using anything too hard. Blue tongue skinks may try to eat the substrate, which could lead to impaction issues. The same goes for potentially toxic substrate materials like cedar chips or cat litter!You may also want to add a hide box. You can make one yourself out of wood or purchase a premade box that’s crafted out of plastic.Either way, this box should be big enough for the lizard to get into when they’re feeling a bit overwhelmed.

Temperature & Lighting

Blue tongue skinks self regulate their body heat. As a result, you’re going to have to create a gradient temperature arrangement in the enclosure.That means that one side of the tank/cage will be hotter than the other.
On the opposite side of the enclosure, you can create a basking area. This will be a heated part of the habitat that the lizard will use to increase their body temperature when they feel cold.Using a heat emitter or overhead incandescent light,In addition to standard lighting, blue tongue skinks will also need UVB lighting. UVB lighting is meant to replicate the effects of the sun’s rays, which are crucial for good health. When kept indoors, many reptiles that don’t have exposure to UVB rays develop bone diseases.Those UVB rays are necessary for metabolizing calcium. You can install a UVB light over the enclosure and leave it on for 12 to 14 hours per day. You won’t be able to see the UVB light, so make sure that you’re changing out the bulb every 6 months for good measure.

Humidity

In the wild, blue tongue skinks live in semi-dry environments. They need some humidity, but not too much of it.Ideally,Purchase a hygrometer and use it regularly to stay on top of humidity levels. Too much humidity can cause respiratory infections and skin issues.The lights you use should be enough to decrease humidity. If you need to increase levels, just mist the enclosure once a day.

Water

You’re not going to see blue tongue skinks drinking very often. They stay hydrated a bit differently than other animals.Still, providing a large water dish is essential. The dish should be large enough for the skink to soak in!You might see your lizard crawling into the dish and laying motionless for a bit while they rehydrate. This is perfectly normal.

Behavior & Temperament

Blue tongue skinks are omnivores. They have pretty healthy appetites and aren’t particularly picky about the things they consume. This means they will readily accept most foods without any issues.Variety is very important when it comes to the diet of a blue tongue skink.Owners will typically mix up food ingredients regularly to ensure that the lizard is getting all the nutrients and vitamins they need. Some will even plan out meals ahead of time and break down the nutrient profile for better control.As a good rule of thumb,There’s a lot that you can feed blue tongue skinks. Here are some good options for proteins:Here are some fruits and vegetables you can try in their diet as well:

Handling Them

Overall, blue tongue skinks are quite docile with humans. They have a reputation for being one of the most personable reptile species around.Some skinks will even show signs that they enjoy head rubs!Of course, you should always exercise caution before handling reptiles. Blue tongue skinks are no different. When they feel anxious, these lizards will hiss and flash their blue mouths. They are perfectly capable of biting, so you should never handle them forcefully.Give the lizard some time to acclimate to its new environment. Once they get more comfortable in the enclosure, you can start handling them.The more you handle the blue tongue skink, the more it will get comfortable with the process. If you do things right, you may get to the point where the lizard wants you to hold them!

Terrarium Size

An adult blue tongue skink requiresFront-opening enclosures are considered best for housing reptiles, and skinks are no exception. Since there’s no screen on top, they don’t dry out easily, which is important to trapping humidity to facilitate shedding and general health. Skinks are strong and clever, so whether you’re using a front- or top-opening cage, it must be securely latched to prevent escape.Blue tongue skink enclosures are generally made of wood, glass, or melamine.These are my picks for the