The lifespan of the blue-tongue skink ranges somewhere around 10-30 years on average. The lifespan of this reptile is affected by several factors, including the environment, food, etc. If cared for properly, blue tongue skinks can easily live for up to 20 years or more.
Following is a list of factors that can affect the bluey’s life.
How Long Can Blue Tongue Skinks Live In Captivity?
Imagine living in the wild, with several predators always looking and hunting for you! Well, living in this environment means a shorter and endangered lifespan. Similar is the case of bluey’s; they have a longer lifespan in captivity than those in the wild. The average lifespan of a bluey in the wild can be somewhere between 15-18 years maximum, whereas, in captivity, this reptile can thrive up to 30 years.
However, the lifespan of the bluey can be shorter than the average lifespan because of different factors, which include health, food, illness, etc.
Blue Tongue Skink Lifespan In The Wild
Living in the wild is not easy for anyone, especially when walking around like prey. The bluey’s in the wild are very exposed and vulnerable to the predators walking around. Furthermore, they are floor dwellers and slow-paced, which makes it even more difficult for them to save their lives if attacked by a predator.
In some cases, to save its life, the reptile drops its tail to evade the predator and escape for its life. The tail heals in 12 months if the skink has a steady and balanced amount of food to recover. In other cases, the skink can lose its life, as the skink’s tail contains water and food storage, and without a sufficient supply of food, it has nothing as a backup and can eventually lose the race of life. It is a reason for the shortened lifespan of skinks in the wild.
What is the blue-tongued skink’s main predator?
The answer to this question is CATS and DOGS! Surprised??
Well, in captivity, these slow-moving reptiles are exposed to pet cats and dogs, which can terrorize and eat these blueys whenever they get a chance. The blue-tongue skink is threatened by Australia’s native Feral cat, Kookaburras, snakes, and other birds species in captivity. With so many enemies to endanger the life of this harmless reptile, it becomes essential to save them.
How To Make Your Blue Tongue Skink Live Longer?
As a pet owner or a reptile enthusiast, you might want the blue-tongue skinks to have a longer lifespan. For this, you need to take specific safety parameters and make several environmental checks listed below.
Proper Blue Tongued Skink Environment
Blue tongue skinks need a secure environment to live a healthy and stress-free lofe. The environment is a crucial factor in the skink’s health and must be maintained to imitate the wild, from where these skinks have originated. These reptiles come from the hot lands of Australia, with a temperature gradient of around 75 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit. You must recreate this warmth in captivity with a basking light of 95 degrees Fahrenheit to help the reptile soak in some heat as per its routine.
These blueys also need a sufficient water supply to soak in and stay hydrated as part of their routine. Finally, hygiene is the key! Keeping the terrarium and the accessories in use clean will keep your reptile fit as a fiddle for a longer lifespan.
Practice Daily Vitamin and Dietary Supplements Routine
In the wild, the blue-tongue skinks have access to an unlimited supply of food and natural resources to eat to fulfill the needs of vitamins and other nutrients. However, in captivity, it can become challenging to provide all the nutrients to the bluey, which may cause some deficiencies in the skink.
For this reason, you need to add vitamin and dietary supplements to the skink’s food to ensure all his dietary and health needs are met.
Proper Blue Tongued Skink Diet
Providing a healthy and balanced diet to the skink is crucial for the health of blue-tongue skink. This reptile is an omnivore, and most of its diet should be fruits and vegetables. An overall healthy diet of the skink comprises 60% fruits and veggies, and the remaining 40% should be meat and some treats.
The proportion of meat to the fruits and veggies must be comparatively greater for juveniles, which means around 60% of the juvenile’s diet should comprise meat and protein. The juveniles are still growing and need a lot of protein for building muscles and growth.
Separate Blue Tongued Skink from other Pets
It’s very crucial to keep your reptile pet protected from other domestic pets such as cats and dogs, as they can quickly eat these slow-moving reptiles. So, if you have dogs and cats at home, it’s essential to keep your skink separate and away from them for protection.
Does a Blue Tongue Skink Diet Have Any Relation To Its Lifespan?
Food plays a crucial role in extending or shortening the lifespan of a blue-tongue skink. If provided with a proper and balanced diet, the blue-tongue skink can live a healthy, happy, and long life. Otherwise, the skink will starve for required nutrients, get weaker and eventually die if its dietary needs are not met.
Food To Feed Your Skinks
Some foods that you can feed your blue-tongue skink are listed below.
Greens And Vegetables
Mustard greens, escarole, collard greens, endive, arugula (rocket), mulberry leaves, prickly pear cactus leaves, acorn squash, scallop squash, spaghetti squash, hubbard squash, nasturtium flowers, dandelion squash, chicory greens, basil, rosemary oregano, hibiscus flowers, and leaves, fresh alfalfa (not sprouts or dried).
Ivory head roaches, orange head roaches, lobster roaches, locusts, crickets, mealworms, silkworms (one of the best), black soldier fly larvae (best, need no supplement), discoid roaches, Turkestan, tomato hornworms, Dubia roaches.
Cantaloupe, mangoes, apples, papaya.
|Garlic, rhubarb, mushrooms, onions, aubergine, avocado, chives, fruits’ seeds (such as apple, apricot, cherry, etc.)||Toxic|
|Spinach, kiwis, star fruit.||Highly Oxalic|
|Citrus family||Causes digestion complications|
|Bananas, corn, tomatoes, pineapple.||High amounts of phosphorus and acidic|
|Dried fruits||Low water content and high part of sugar|
What Is The Oldest Lifespan of a Blue Tongue Skink?
The oldest lifespan of blue-tongue skink recorded was 35 years. It was of a Tiliqua Rugosa, a shingleback skink from England, named stumpy. The long life of this skink was the care and diet offered by a human companion or pet owner.
Factors That Can Shorten Your Blue Tongue Skink Lifespan
Several factors contribute to shortening the lifespan of the blue-tongue skink. Following is a list of each one of them.
1. Keeping Blue Tongue Skinks in Cool Temperatures
The blue-tongue skinks have their origin in the hot lands of Australia. For this reason, even in captivity, these cold-blooded reptiles need enough warmth to survive and regulate their body functions. Keeping them in cold temperatures is just like pushing them towards death. The reptiles being coldblooded, need external warmth to regulate body functions, and in cold temperatures, they might not be able to survive.
2. Feeding Blue Tongue Skinks Poisoned Foods
Not every food is a blessing! Some food items are highly toxic to skink’s health. Foods having citrus can cause digestion problems. Also, never feed anything wild-caught to your blue-tongue skink, as it can be poisonous or fatal to the health of the skink.
3. Feeding Blue Tongue Skinks Processed Foods
Processed food contains chemicals and food additives indigestible for the skink, which can be fatal to the skink’s life.
4. Blue Tongue Skinks Contracting Disease/Illness
An ailment, illness, or sickness can be another reason for the short lifespan of the skink. So, if you see any sign of sickness, get the reptile checked by a vet at the earliest for diagnosis and treatment. Some illnesses that a skink can go through are listed below.
Impaction In Blue Tongue Skinks
Impaction is a health condition where the skink may experience trouble pooping. It happens if your skink ingests some loose substrate, dehydration, or overeating. How do you know that your skink has impaction; the skink will show symptoms such as lethargy, loss of appetite, partial paralysis in the hind legs.
Metabolic Bone Disease (MBD)
It is one of the most common illnesses in reptiles, making the reptile’s bones weaker and softer. It is caused by the lack of vitamin D and calcium in the body of the bluey. To avoid this, you can add vitamin and calcium supplements to the diet of the bluey. In addition to this, do not forget to add the UVB bulb to provide a sufficient supply of Vitamin D, which is essential for calcium absorption.
Infections In Blue Tongue Skinks
Poor hygiene, humidity, and warmth are perfect for bacterial and fungal growth, which can cause different infections in the skink’s body. Common infections caused by bacteria and fungi are respiratory infection, mouth, and scale rot.
One of the bacterial infections damages the lungs and causes difficulty breathing. Your skink is good at communicating its problems, so there are specific symptoms that your reptile will show to indicate respiratory infection, which include swollen and bloated body, lethargy, weepy eyes, weight loss, runny nose, scabbed lips, loss of appetite, and breathing difficulty.
One of the severe infections caused by bacteria is mouth inflammation, which causes mouth rot. It is harrowing for the reptile and leads to loss of appetite. Mouth rot must be treated at the earliest to avoid any further complications. Some symptoms of mouth rot are excessive saliva or discharge from the mouth, red oral tissues, loss of appetite, yellow or greyish skin around the mouth, and head swelling.
Bacterial may cause inflammation on the skin of the skink’s body, which is a result of poor husbandry. The skin tissues may become red and cause itching.
To prevent your skink’s suffering, you need to take precautionary measures before hands. Some tips to avoid infections are given below.
Maintaining accurate temperature and humidity in the terrarium will prevent bacterial growth.
Clean the substrate and accessories of the terrarium regularly, and disinfect the terrarium to prevent bacterial and fungal growth.
5. Parasites In Blue Tongue Skinks
Parasites feed on the host, and for this reason, parasites in the blue-tongue skink are fatal and can reduce lifespan. These parasites absorb most of the skink’s body nutrients which causes multiple ailments. Get your skink immediately checked and treated by a professional vet in case of parasites.
6. Egg Binding In Blue Tongue Skinks
Egg binding mostly occurs in females; the female looks for the most secure, appropriate, and warm space for laying eggs. If not available, the female reptile doesn’t pass out the eggs and remains inside the female’s reproductive system. This condition is also called Dystocia and must be detected and treated at the earliest, or it may lead to infertility and death.
Causes Of Egg Binding
Egg binding is caused in female blue-tongue skinks when they cannot find a suitable place for eggs. It also happens when there is any injury in the pelvis or other disorder that narrows the pathway of eggs. Deformation of eggs, disposition of eggs, broken or fractured eggs, deficiency of calcium, or other ailments.
Symptoms Of Egg Binding
The females experiencing egg binding will show signs indicating the sickness; these signs include lethargy, inactiveness, and depression. They may also raise their hind legs and strain without laying any eggs.
Treatment Of Egg Binding
There are four different ways of treating egg binding; the first is massaging the eggs out of the reproductive tract, and the second is providing a good netting place for an undisturbed birthing process. The third way of treating egg binding is giving hormonal injections, and finally, the last one is to remove the eggs through a surgical procedure.
7. Eyes Problem In Blue Tongue Skinks
Eye problem is another factor that shortens the lifespan of the blue-tongue skink. The eye problem is caused by a deficiency of Vitamin A and worsens with time if not treated properly. The visible sign of eye problems is skin discoloration around the eyes and lips.
It can be treated by providing powdered supplements and food rich in vitamin A.
The lifespan of a blue-tongue skink ranges from 10 to 30 years, depending on the care, diet, and companionship. These factors affect the lifespan of the blue-tongue skink significantly. Providing a balanced diet to the skink is essential for the extended lifespan of the reptile pet. Furthermore, certain foods are toxic to the health of the reptile and can shorten the life of this pet, so you should check whether the food you’re feeding your reptile is suitable or not.
Furthermore, there are certain ailments such as bacterial infections, eye problems, egg binding, and parasites, which must be checked and treated at the earliest, or it will shorten the lifespan of the skink. Finally, love and care can do wonders in the healthy and long life of the skink, so be patient and watch all the signs that your skink is showing to enjoy a long time with your reptile pet.