The Blue Tongue Skink (genus tiliqua) includes a range of several species of skinks. All of these species have a blue tongue. The most common and readily available species make great beginner or starter lizard pets! The uncommon species such as the centralian and shingle back skinks are incredibly difficult to find and can be cost prohibitive for most buyers so this care sheet will concentrate on the more readily available ones.
Feeding a blue tongue skink is a simple affair. They are omnivores and so need a balanced diet of vegetables, animal proteins, and fruits. The break down of these items should be mostly vegetables like leafy greens. The next biggest part of a meal at about 30%-35% percent should be proteins like bugs or cooked lean meats. Many keepers use premium canned dog or cat foods as their source of protein! The rest 5%-10% percent of the meal should be fruits like berries or papayas. Avoid very acidic or fatty fruits. Vitamin supplements are also recommended.
Blue tongue skinks grow to be fairly large lizards. They will top out at around 18-24 inches. Their caging needs to reflect this. Adult blue tongue skinks will need a 40 gallon breeder tank which is a 36″ x 18″ x 16″ tank. They can be very successfully kept in a rack system. Blue tongues are short legged and not very good climbers so avoid going high with decorations because falling can be a hazard for these lizards. They also like to hide so include 2 hides that they can fit their whole bodies in.
They are great short legged lizard pets!
The rest of the cage should be free open space for the blue tongue skink to walk around and explore. They will need a water and food dish. The water dish should be big enough for the lizard to soak themselves in. The substrate can range from natural substrates like forest floor and reptisoil or just paper substrate. Avoid certain substrates like sand, cedar/pine, kitty litter, and some others which are hazardous to the health of the animal. When keeping a blue tongue skink keep in mind they are solitary animals so do not house them together to avoid fighting.
Temperature and Humidity
The Australian species of Blue tongue skink requires a pretty low humidity range at about 25%-40%. The Indonesian species require higher humidity at 40%-45%. All of these species need a cool and warm end of the enclosure. The warm end needs to be upper 70°-low 80° F (24.4°-28.8° C). The warm end needs to range in the mid 90s Fahrenheit (around 30° Celsius). Blue tongues do not require UVB lighting although it can be beneficial and it is encouraged to provide it especially if you are not giving them vitamin supplements. To achieve the correct temperature use either a heating lamp and slate slab combo or a heating pad on the warm end. It is important to give them belly heat so if you go with a heat lamp, the slate or ceramic slab is an important addition. Make sure you have devices like hygrometers and thermostats on both ends to monitor the humidity and heating throughout the enclosure.
Should You Buy a Blue Tongue Skink?
Blue tongue skinks, when socialized, make very friendly and chill pets! They readily accept being held and are normally relaxing with owners. They also come in a assortment of color morphs if you want something other than the natural patterns. The Australian species can be pricier because they can no long be imported. This comes with a benefit since they are guaranteed to be captive bred. Indonesian blue tongues are still being imported and can be cheaper but it is important to buy from a reputable distributor. A good price for one of these fantastic lizards as babies will be around a $200-$300.
Required items for Blue Tongue Skink care (Click links for our reviews of recommendations):
- Enclosure: 40 Gallon or equivalent
- Lamp for UBV and/or heating
- Under the tank heat mat or slate slab
- 2 Hides large enough for the blue tongue skink to fully fit into
- Substrate (aspen, cypress mulch, reptisoil, ect.)
- Water Bowl
- Food Dish