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Blue Tongued Skink care sheet

Housing: a wooden vivarium of at least 46" in length

Heating: basking temperature of 100oF - 110oF, cool end of 80oF

UVB Lighting: desert strength 10%-12% UVB fluorescent tube during the day

Diet: omnivorous mix of vegetation and protein from live insects and meat

Decoration: dry substrates and decor so not to raise humidity levels

A blue tongued skink is best kept in a large wooden vivarium. This is because wood is an excellent insulator of heat and so a wooden vivarium will make it easier to control the crucial temperatures required inside the habitat. Other enclosures such as glass terrariums are far too efficient at releasing heat making it difficult to get up to temperature and keep this temperature consistent throughout the year. The wooden vivarium should have good ventilation to help remove humidity and replenish the air in the enclosure.

The blue tongued skink's vivarium should be at least 1150mm (46") in length. There are 2 main reasons for this; firstly blue tongued skinks are not small lizards and can easily grow to 450mm in length. They require a proportionate amount of space to live happily. Secondly, the vivarium needs to have a sufficient length to allow for the creation of a temperature gradient. The enclosure needs to be intensely hot at one end, but have enough distance for the temperature to drop at the cool end.

 

During the day blue tongued skinks require a very hot basking temperature. This is achieved by using clear spot bulbs at one end of the vivarium. To accomplish the required basking temperature of 100oF- 110oF we use 2x basking bulbs (50w in a large Vivexotic vivarium). A narrower basking area can be achieved by using one higher wattage bulb instead. Basking bulbs should be on for 10- 12 hours per day.

At night blue tongued skinks require a drop in temperature and darkness. The basking lights should be switched off. A night time temperature of 80oF is created by using a ceramic night bulb. These radiate heat but produce no light. This bulb should be protected with a bulb guard and controlled by a good quality thermostat. The thermostat will automatically turn on the ceramic heat bulb at night when the temperature in the vivarium drops. Temperatures should be monitored daily using a thermometer.

 

Blue tongued skinks are from arid areas of Australia. Animals that actively bask in hot climates naturally receive a high dose of UVB from the sun. Their UVB tube should reflect that. A fluorescent UVB tube should be used inside the vivarium with a reflector so no UVB is wasted. The tube should be at least 10% UVB for desert species. There are 2 different types of fluorescent tube, T8 and T5. T5 tubes are the new technology providing double the range (24'') and lasting twice as long (12 months) so if possible we would recommend the upgrade.

This skink requires UVB in order to synthesise vitamin D3 inside their skin. The vitamin D3 helps the chameleon to absorb calcium which crucial for bone structure and growth. Without the UVB the skink may not be able to use the calcium in it's diet.

It is recommended that T8 bulbs are replaced every 6 months and T5 bulbs every 9 months.

 

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Blue tongued skinks should always be kept on a dry substrate so not to increase the humidity inside the vivarium. Whilst any loose substrate has the potential to be accidentally swallowed, we have found this to not be a problem with coarse beech woodchips and that is what we keep our blue tongued skinks on. It is also very easy to clean.

The blue tongued skinks vivarium can be decorated with artificial plants for a more natural look. Desert plants look very effective and also provide further perches for the skinks. Trailing plants are very good at disguising electrical wires and equipment, as well as providing cover for young lizards.

 

The blue tongued skink is an omnivore. It's diet should consist of livefood, salad and meat. We have found that brown crickets are the most readily accepted, but you can also use black crickets, dubia cockroaches or locusts (hoppers).

When feeding salad we find these to be the best ingredients: dandelion, clover, honeysuckle, leafy salads, watercress, curly kale, brussel tops, spring greens, coriander, parsley, rocket, carrot, parsnip, courgette and bell peppers. The bulk of the vegetation should be leafy greens.

To provide a meatier meal we would occasionally feed pinky mice, cat food and snails.

A water bowl may be used providing it does not raise the vivarium humidity too much. Blue tongued skinks can also be bathed weekly in shallow luke warm water for 10 minutes.

 

To provide the skinks with optimal nutrition and to keep them in the best of health, they will require diet supplementaion in the form of calcium, vitamins and minerals. These are most commonly available as powders

Calcium should be provided daily and dusted directly onto the skink's food. Vitamins may be added daily for young skinks, but adults will only require them every other day.

Any livefood for the blue tongued skink should also be 'gut-loaded' with an insect food. This basically involves feeding the livefood a nutrient rich diet before they are fed to the skink. Our livefood is delivered to you already gut-loaded but this should be continued at home.

 

If you keep a male and female together, they may breed. You do not need to do anything to encourage this, providing they are healthy and the conditions are good, it will happen naturally. You need to consider whether you want this to happen. What will you do with the babies?

The blue tongued skink is a livebearing species and as a result will not lay eggs that need to be incubated. Instead the female will simply get larger until she gives birth to her clutch roughly 3-6 months later. The babies require exactly the same set up as their parents.

 

This is our 'How to Set Up a Bearded Dragon Vivarium' video. We uploaded it to Youtube in 2008 and so far it has over 300,000 views!

It is a complete guide that will show you how we keep our bearded dragons and blue tongued skink's at Northampton Reptile Centre. It is based on our experiences accumulated over our 20 year history. This is the setup that makes the beardie vivarium foolproof.

The technology has moved on since we made this video, for example we now have T5 UVBs. But this is still a relevant guide that will show you how best to use your equipment to create a great bearded dragon or Blue Tongued Skink vivarium.

 

'How To' Video Guide