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Caring for Blue-Tongued Skinks

Are you considering adopting a pet lizard? You may want to consider getting a blue-tongued skink. These pretty lizards are gentle, easy to care for, and fascinating to watch! I’m your Marion, IA veterinarian, and I offer some basic care tips for blue-tongued skinks in this article.

Temperament

One reason that blue-tongued skinks are so popular with beginners is that they are quite easy to handle. You’ll want to hold and pet your reptilian pal frequently, to keep him tame and social. Many of these cute lizards really like hanging out with their owners! They are fairly hardy and not particularly fast, so they can be good options for children’s pets.

Basics

Blue-tongued skinks are native to Australia. They come in several different colors, and can be very pretty. As you may have guessed from the name, they have blue tongues. Their average size is about 18-22 inches when fully grown. These guys can live up to 20 years, so, before adopting one, make sure you are able to commit to keeping your pet for that entire time.

Cage

Like most reptiles, blue-tongued skinks live in enclosed habitats. Your reptilian buddy will require a terrarium that is at least 3’ x 18”. We recommend getting one with a mesh top. In order to provide the proper environmental habitat, you’ll need to get some heating and lighting equipment. One end of your tiny dinosaur’s cage should be warmer than the other is, so you’ll need to set up zones. Your little friend will need a nice, smooth basking rock, and lots of places to hide and dig. It’s also important to offer a suitable substrate, such as butcher paper or reptile carpet. Avoid sand and/or pine or cedar based substrates. Ask your vet for more information.

Diet

Your new pet’s diet will consist of both meat and produce. For meat, your pet can have cooked beef or poultry; worms and insects; high-quality canned dog food; and perhaps the occasional mouse. For produce, offer lots of dark, leafy greens, like mustard greens, collard greens, kale, and dandelion greens. Never give your skink a new food without researching it first to be sure it’s safe. Ask your vet for specific nutritional recommendations, including menu options, portion sizes, and safe and unsafe foods.

Do you have questions about caring for blue-tongued skinks? Please contact me, your Marion, IA veterinarian, anytime.

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