Species group: Skinks
Other common names: New Guinea Blue-tongue Skink; Merauke Blue-tongued Skink (T. gigas evanescens); Kei Island Blue-tongued Skink (T. gigas keyensis)
Scientific name: Tiliqua gigas
The Indonesian Blue-tongued Skink is native to the southern coastal regions of New Guinea and surrounding Indonesian islands. They stay in scrubland type habitats.
Appearance / health:
These skinks grow up to 20 inches and are highly varied in color. They can be found in shades of grey to golden brown with dark brown bands across the back, and a lighter colored belly. Their distinguishing traits are their almost solid colored black legs, lots of dark lines on top of the head, and tip of their tongue is pale blue with a pink base. The subspecies are difficult to tell apart from one another. The Kei Island subspecies is more spotted in its banded pattern. The Merauke subspecies can grow much larger, up to 30 inches.
Behavior / temperament:
The Indonesian Blue-tongued Skink is often more skittish than other blue-tongues, although they do quickly get used to handling if done regularly. When threatened, they open their mouths and stick out their blue tongues to scare away the threat. They can deliver a strong bite.
Indonesian Blue-Tongued Skinks prefer large tanks with plenty of hiding places among plants, cork tubes, flat stone slabs, hide boxes, and hollow logs. A sand or fine gravel substrate is recommended, as well as cypress mulch, aspen shavings, or newspaper. A water container is also a must. Day temp: 82-90F; night temp: 64-68F; basking temp: up to 104F; humidity: 60-80%; lighting 12-14 hours, UV radiation required.
Indonesian Blue-Tongued Skinks require precise temperatures in their cages. When the temperature becomes too cold, they are inactive and slow. When it’s too hot, they are fidgety and constantly burrowing to hide from the heat. Water should be refreshed daily and the cage always kept clean. Under proper care and optimum conditions, Blue-Tongued Skinks have a life expectancy of about 20 years.
Indonesian Blue-Tongued Skinks are easy to feed because they are omnivorous. They eat insects (grasshoppers, crickets, beetles), snails, and small rodents, as well as fruits (berries, grapes), and leafy vegetables.
Blue-Tongued Skinks are live bearing. Gestation for a litter of 15 to 20 is about 100 days. Juveniles are autonomous at birth and will start to eat after a few days. Females of this species are often injured in the mating process.
Hard to Top This as a Lizard Pet
Lizard fans are fortunate indeed that Indonesian blue-tongued skinks are well established in the trade and relatively hardy (longevity approaches 30 years), as they may be about as close to a “perfect pet lizard” as one can hope for. Both novice keepers and well-experienced breeders can enjoy these calm beauties…even after a lifetime of working with rare reptiles in zoos, they remain one of my favorites.
They do need a bit of space – a 55-75 gallon aquarium, at least, can house a mature adult – but they are well-worth any trouble you might expend on their behalf. While quite calm in demeanor, their “stiff” bodies and glossy, almost slippery scales necessitate care when handling, as they are easy to drop. Otherwise, regular human contact will be taken in stride. Their temperature needs – a range of 78-88 with a basking site of 90 F – are easily met, and humidity should be kept high, but with dry basking sites available. Most appreciate a thick cypress mulch substrate in which to burrow, but they soon give up all pretense of shyness, and focus only on their next meal.
Blue tongues have very accommodating appetites, which makes it easy to provide them with a varied, balanced diet – not often the case with lizards in general! The bulk of their diet - 60% or so - should be comprised of a mixed salad of greens and vegetables, to which has been added a small amount (i.e. 10% by volume) of fruit. Kale, bok choy, dandelion, mustard and collard greens, beets, various beans, squash, carrots, yams, apples, figs, papaya and other seasonally available produce should be offered, with variety being a key point. Animal-based protein can be provided by canned tegu diets, if you prefer, live crickets, roaches, super mealworms, butter worms and wild-caught invertebrates..
From findiviglio Nov 15 2015 3:11PM