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Blue Tongue Skink, Tiliqua intermedia

Blue tongue skink Tiliqua intermediaIntroduction Blue Tongue Skinks are distributed throughout the of Australia and New Guinea. They are one of the largest of the skinks, with the largest topping off at approximately 16 inches. It is a heavy bodied lizard with a broad triangular head. Their most unique feature is their bright blue tongue, which is displayed as a warning to would be predators. They are very docile and inquisitive lizards which makes them among the most popular pet reptile in the United States.

Acclimation and Quarantine Quarantine or acclimation enclosures need not be elaborate, instead they should be sterile and easy to clean. Plastic storage bins are often used for such enclosures as they are easy to clean, come in a variety of sizes, and most provide the security needed for a freshly acquired blue tongue. Paper towels, newspapers, or other easily cleaned materials may be used as the substrate. A hide box should be provided for additional security. A shallow ceramic water dish should be used as the water bowl as they ten to tip over anything plastic. This setup should be used until the skink is feeding regularly and appears to be in good health.

Housing We recommend that you house a single adult Blue Tongue in cage with a footprint of at least 18" x 36". Babies and small juveniles can be kept in a 20 gal. tank. They should be kept individually as these are naturally solitary animals and if housed together will fight savagely. In a large enclosure, you may be able to house a group of mature females, but always be ready to separate them. Be sure to provide branches and/or rocks to climb on as it allows them to bask and get closer to the beneficial UVB. Provide a hide box as well so they can escape the heat and get some solitude. For a substrate you can use almost any commercially available reptile bedding. Cypress mulch is perhaps the best one to use as it will allow the skink to dig, burrow and provide shelter. It will also aid in shedding as the skink moves through it. Mulch will also aid in maintaining a proper humidity.

Lighting and Heating Provide a basking spot for the skink that is between 90-95 degrees F, as they need to get their bodies around 90 degrees to digest their food. Blue Tongues also need an area to cool down when they get too warm. The opposite end of the tank should be 75-85 degrees. Night time temps should not be allowed to drop below 65 degrees. Blue Tongues need UVB exposure from a quality light. Blue Tongues synthesize vitamin D3 when exposed to UVB, Vitamin D3 is necessary for calcium to be metabolized. Animals that are not exposed to UVB can develop Metabolic Bone Disease. If MBD isn't treated in a timely fashion, skeletal deformities, kidney failure, seizures, and eventually death will occur.

Feeding This large skink is omnivorous and will eat a large variety of veggies, fruits, various blossoms as well as a wide range of insects and the occasional pinky or fuzzy. Insects should be coated with a D3/calcium supplement once or twice a week. We also like to supplement their diet with packaged diets. The best one I have found that most readily suits their dietary needs is Rep-Cal's Bearded Dragon formula. This diet is a little higher in proteins than they need so it should be a minimal part of their diet.

Water Provide your Blue Tongue Skink with a shallow water dish, but you must keep it clean as they will often time defecate in it. You can mist your skinks enclosure as well, they will lap up the water, and it will help with shedding.