Acquired: Online breeder / seller,
Bred animal myself,
Worked with pet (didn’t own)
New York, United States
Posted Nov 15, 2015
Lizard fans are fortunate indeed that Blotched blue-tongued skinks and their relatives 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.