I promise I won’t make this too pic heavy, though I’ve probably taken more photos than I should of him and it’s only been four days! On Saturday my blue tongue skink arrived and he’s been settling in well so I thought I’d take some photos and do a bit of an introduction to him. I already did a post on his fake rock background, if you’re interested you can find it here, which he seems to be enjoying exploring at the moment.
I think I’ll start out by saying a bit about the lizards in general as they’re not one I’ve seen around much as pets here in the UK. Blue Tongue Skinks can have quite long lives in captivity, there are some people in Australia who have had pets that are 30+ years old, so it’s definitely something to consider if you ever think about getting one. They can grow to be about two feet long and the different subspecies do have different sizes and weights, Norbert is a Northern Blue Tongue Skink so he’s one of the bulkier subspecies and the largest weight wise, though not the longest.
In general Blue Tongue Skinks are good lizards to have as a pet if you like to interact with your animals. Some subspecies have certain characteristics that come out more than others making them a bit feistier or less social and they do all have their own characters so they’re individual and some may be more friendly and interested in human interaction than others.
Unlike a lot of lizards blue tongue skinks don’t need insects, in fact a lot of places seem to recommend that the majority of protein in their diet be meat or dog food (though that’s debatable and not something I’ll go into here). They tend to have a 50% protein, 40% veg and 10% fruit diet and when they’re fully grown don’t eat that often. I’m planning on feeding him some as he gets older but, as they’re not his main diet, I’m waiting until he can eat enough for it to be worth it and then see if he likes any that are recommended. They tend to go for carrion in the wild and they aren’t the fastest with their little legs but it can be fun for them to chase something and hunt when they’re in captivity.
There are two definite species, I think they’re species anyway, that have subspecies within them. These are each based in different parts of the world; Australia and Indonesia. As it’s illegal to export Australian species these will always be captive born and bred, Indonesian species aren’t always so and there are a lot sold as captive bred that come from females imported carrying eggs. It’s definitely something to consider if you want one for a pet.
Although I would normally recommend adopting animals I have to say I did decide to get Norbert from a breeder. As the first skink I’ve ever had, and only the second reptile, I wanted to get him from a breeder who I could trust. I did have a look around at ones to adopt first but so many have them down as the wrong species and the difference between looking after an Australian species and Indonesian species can be very different and cause health problems. I’d rather go into it knowing I have this subspecies and have the setup correct than have to mess around and get the humidity up for a surprise Indonesian one.
Although there’s some debate on this I’ve decided to go with using a UV light, we don’t get the most UV here in the UK and he’s always got it, plus there are enough hiding spots if he needs to get out of it. He’s also got a basking spot which he seems to spend a lot of time under and enough substrate on the floor so he can bury himself if he wants to. He’s tended to sleep buried but spends the rest of the day out and about exploring.
I have to say that so far, it’s only been four days as I said, he’s settling in well. He’s spent a lot of today exploring and has even crawled over my hand when I was relocating the thermostat probe so I think he’ll be tame enough to try and get out fairly soon. I’m giving him some time to settle in so he’s happy in his surroundings before I pick him up, but here’s a photo of him the breeder sent when he was smaller and his face is just so cute in it, to me anyway!
If you have found this because you’re looking for a Blue Tongue Skink I’d recommend a lot of research. I’ve found that the people on the Blue Tongue Skinks message board have been very helpful and the search tool on there is a great way to find questions you might want to ask. Also there’s a great food chart and general care sheet on there that seems to cover pretty much everything there is to know if you’re researching them as a pet. People do all have different opinions on how to keep them, I’m just going by what I’ve found is the most common and might be making changes as I go and learn with him.
I hope you’ve liked this post. I won’t be doing a lot on Norbert as I’m definitely not an expert but I thought I’d do a bit of an introduction to the species as a whole as well as him individually.