Considering a Blue tongue lizard as a pet is a terrific choice. They are very easy to look after, friendly and are considered to be one of the most intelligent lizards. Blue tongue skink is just another name sometimes used.
They are great for kids as they can be readily handled and played with. Their average lifespan is around 20 years, and with the correct care as listed below, there are no reasons why they shouldn’t be a part of the family for that amount of time.
Size, cleanliness and decor are very important factors to consider when setting up their home. The minimum size enclosure or tank we recommend is 3ft with 4ft or above being a better option. Remember the bigger the better! They can grow to 45cm so will need room to move around. A fish tank or a thermostatically controlled enclosure is suitable to house a Blue tongue.
As with most lizards, Blue tongue skinks require a wide range temperature gradient consisting of a hot side and a cool side. The basking area (hot side) should enable your lizard to get to at least 32 Celsius ,with the cool side 24 Celsius or below. Your basking area can be even hotter, providing they still have a cool area to retreat to. The larger the cage, the easier this is to achieve.
Infrared or ceramic heat globes are our preferred choice, as your lizard will not visually see this light, which enables you to leave them on for extended periods of time, especially in the cooler States in Winter. If using a thermostatically controlled enclosure, we find that setting the average temperature in the middle of the enclosure to 26-28 celsius usually gives the best temperature gradient. Heat Rocks and Heat Pads should only be used as an additional heat source through the cooler months.
I have no idea where the myth came from that Blue tongues do not need UVB lighting, we do consider this a MUST!!How a Blue tongue could be so genetically different to all other day dwelling lizards and not benefit from UVB is something no one has ever explained! A UVB 5.0 is recommended, and should be on for 12 hour per day to simulate a normal daylight cycle. You can use either the Compact 5.0 UVB or Fluorescent 5.0 UVB. Please refrain from using cheap China made UVB globes, as there have been numerous reports of Blue tongues having problems with their eyes when using such globes as they can have dangerous levels of UVA and UVC. Be sure that there is no glass or PVC cover on light unit between globe and enclosure as this will diminish the amount of UVB output. Be sure to replace UVB globes every 6 months as the UVB output becomes very low after this time.
Blue tongues are omnivorous, meaning they eat both plant matter and meat. They will eat a variety of fruit and vegetables including Brocolli, Cos Lettuce, Bananas, Kiwi fruit, diced apple and Strawberries. For meat you can feed Live Crickets, Cockroaches, Giant Mealworms, lean chicken and beef mince as well as small amounts of Cat food. The Exo Terra canned food range is also excellent. Remember a good variety of foods in their diet is required.
Juveniles should be fed once a day, and feeding every other day for adults is recommended. Calcium powder should be dusted over their food twice a week and Multivitamin powder once per week. Fresh water in a shallow bowl should be provided and changed daily.
Breeding Blue Tongues can be a very rewarding but time consuming commitment. The process starts with a cooling period called Brumation, which lasts for several months. Time frames will vary depending on where you live, but it basically consists of slowly cooling your lizards down each week and reducing your light cycle from 12 hours down to 8 hours.
No food at all should be offered during this stage. Once cooling is complete you reverse this cycle and bring your temperature and light slowly back up to original conditions. When housed outside, they will go through this cycle naturally. There is no right or wrong way to breed Blue tongues and there are many different techniques that can be used. After 3-5 months from mating, a gravid female Blue tongue will give birth of up to 25 live babies, which are independent at birth. Babies will need extra special care and attention and should be separated from any Adults immediately.
Whether you are new to reptile keeping or a long term reptile enthusiasts, they are an animal for all to enjoy. They are great with kids, unique and fascinating with a real prehistoric look. Hopefully after reading this care sheet, you too will be able to enjoy the pleasure of owning one for years and years to come. No licence is required in Victoria but other states do require a wildlife licence so make sure you check with your local wildlife authority.
Happy Blue Tongue Keeping !!!!!!!!!