Do Blue-Tongue Skinks Bite? Are they Poisonous?

The blue-tongue skinks are widely known for their calm disposition, friendly nature, and easy maintenance. They also have a passive nature and are least likely to bite their owners. However, the reptile may be aggravated enough to bite their owners in some rare cases. Their bite may sting like any other bite but is not venomous or causes serious injuries.

If you know how to handle the skink carefully, don’t give them any reason to be afraid of, and handle all the warning signs with care, your bluey will never bite you.

This information may seem fulfilling, yet, there is much more to discover and learn about these blueys if you want to keep one as a pet. So, please continue to read to find out the species most likely to bite, the reasons they may bite, and whether or not the bite can have you lose your finger.

How likely is it that my blue-tongue skink will bite me?

The blue-tongue lizard is a passive reptile with a friendly nature and is least likely to bite. However, if your skink is biting you, multiple factors can be behind this behavior. The first one may be the species you have caught, the behavior of the skink, and the place from where your skink has been purchased.

A wild-caught skink is likely to be more aggressive than a captive-bred bluey. Gender and health issues may also be factors of being bitten by a bluey. In any case, the blue-tongue skink always shows some signs to warn the owner about the disturbance in behavior or of physical combat.

Which blue-tongue skinks are most likely to bite?

The blue-tongue skinks have different species depending on the locality and are grouped into two main sections; Indonesian and Australian skinks. The biting behavior of the bluey can vary depending on one species to another. Let’s find out which blue-tongue skinks are most and least likely to bite.

Which Australian blue-tongue skink species is most likely to bite?

Following is an overview of all the Australian blue-tongue skink species and their likelihood to bite.

Common Blue-tongue skink (Tiliqua sincoides)

Subspecies: Eastern Blue-tongue skink (Tiliqua sincoides sincoides)

Common-Blue-tongue-skink

This species of blue-tongue lizards are bred in captivity; for this reason, they are very calm, passive, and friendly, with the slightest possibility of biting. They turn out to be great reptile pets because of ethically sourced brought up and grooming.

Common Blue-tongue skinks (Tiliqua sincoides)

Subspecies: Northern Blue-tongue skink (Tiliqua sincoides intermedia)

Northern-Blue-Tongue-Skink

It is one of the commonly found and owned species of the blueys, which are very friendly and least likely to bite. For export limitations of wildlife out of Australia, these reptiles are often captive-bred, making them more calm and mannered than the other species.

Centralian Blue-tongue skink (Tiliqua multifasciata)

Centralian-Blue-tongue-skink

This species is not available with the breeders and cannot be exported either, which means they are found in the wild and aggressive. The aggressive nature of this species of bluey is likely to result in biting if there is might do so.

Western Blue-tongue skink (Tiliqua occipitalis)

Western-Blue-Tongue-Skink

Like the Centralian skinks, these are also not available in captivity or with breeders. This species is primarily found in the wild and is likely to bite the dangers and intrusions.

Blotched Blue-tongue skink (Tiliqua nigrolutea)

Blotched-Blue-Tongue-Skink

This subspecies of the blue-tongue lizard is bred in captivity, which makes them quite friendly, calm, ethically sourced, and least likely to bite.

Pygmy Blue-tongue skink (Tiliqua adelaidensis)

Adelaide-Pygmy-Blue-Tongue-Skink

It is one of the rarely found subspecies of the blue-tongue skinks and is found in the wild only, which means they are likely to show aggressive behavior and bite on handling.

Shingleback Blue-tongue skink (Tiliqua rugosa)

Shingleback-Bobtail-Skink

This species has a powerful and prolonged bite, as they are also are found in the wild only and can bite any danger. It has four more subspecies with the same characteristics and can bite if possible.

Which Indonesian blue-tongue skink species is most likely to bite?

Depending on the locality, another species of blue-tongue skinks are the Indonesian blue-tongue skinks. Following is an overview of the subspecies and likelihood to bite.

Indonesian giant blue-tongue skink (Tiliqua Gigas)

Subspecies: Classic/ Halmahera blue-tongue skink (Tiliqua gigas gigas)

Halmahera-Blue-Tongue-Skink

This subspecies of the blue-tongue skink is commonly kept as a pet because of their calm, friendly, and least likely to bite. However, this one is often bred in captivity because of export limitations, which makes it ethically sourced, calm, and friendly. In the wild, this species can also tend to be aggressive.

Subspecies: Kei Island blue-tongue skink (Tiliqua Gigas keyensis)

Kei-Island-Blue-Tongue-Skink-1

This subspecies of Indonesian giant blue-tongue skink is quite aggressive, as they are not bred in captivity and are caught from the wild to make pets.

Subspecies: Merauke blue-tongue skink (Tiliqua gigas evanescens)

Meruake-Blue-Tongue-Skink

Being a wildly caught blue-tongue skink, this species is not docile can be aggressive and bite. In addition to this, their enormous size makes their bite even worse and more painful. So, be careful if you are buying these subspecies to keep as a pet.

Common blue-tongue skink (Tiliqua sincoides)

Subspecies: Tanimbar blue-tongue skink (Tiliqua sincoides chimaera)

Tanimbar-Blue-Tongue-Skink

This subspecies can also be bred in captivity but is very aggressive and do not make a good pet. Their aggressive nature can often bite the owner if kept as a pet.

Hybrid of other Tiliqua species

Subspecies: Irian Jaya blue-tongue skink (Tiliqua sp.)

Irian-Jaya-Blue-Tongue-Skink

This species is a hybrid of two docile Indonesian species, and because of its captive breeding, these skinks are pretty friendly and least likely to bite.

Top 3 blue-tongue skinks that are least likely to bite

  1. Australian Eastern Blue Tongue Skink (Tiliqua scincoides scincoides)

Captive Born and Bred (CBB)

These skinks are often bred in captivity, making them ethically sourced, calm, friendly, and least likely to bite. They are pretty safe to be kept as a pet and do not cause any harm to the owner or kids.

  1. Australian Northern Blue Tongue Skink (Tiliqua scincoides intermedia)

Captive Born and Bred (CBB)

This species also has a polite and calm nature, as they are also bred in captivity, which means they are least likely to bite and are safe to keep.

  1. Indonesian Irian Jaya Blue Tongue Skink (Tiliqua sp.)

This one is a hybrid of two docile species of the blue-tongue skink. It is pretty passive, calm, friendly, and least likely to bite because of its breeding in captivity.

Top 3 blue-tongue skinks that are most likely to bite

The blue-tongue skinks that bite are often bred in the wild, where they have to keep them safe from the predators and find their prey, making them aggressive. Some blue-tongue skinks that are aggressive and most likely to bite are listed below.

  1. Indonesian Tanimbar Blue Tongue Skink (Tiliqua scincoides chimaera)

This subspecies of the blue-tongue skink has aggressive nature and is most likely because they are caught from the wild. Other than that, this blue-tongue skink, even if bred in captivity, is likely to possess similar traits.

  1.  Kei Island Blue Tongue Skink (Tiliqua gigas keyensis)

This subspecies is also caught wild, highly aggressive, and most likely to bite because of their less friendly traits.

  1. Shingleback Blue-tongue skink (Tiliqua rugosa)

Because of its giant physique and bigger jaws, this species has a very powerful and prolonged bite. The shingleback blue-tongue skink is very aggressive and must not be disturbed to avoid skink biting.

Are male or female blue-tongue skinks more likely to bite?

The biting and aggressiveness of the blue-tongue lizard may vary depending on the gender of the bluey. It’s sometimes very hard to distinguish the male skink from the female skink; in fact, the female skinks are longer and bigger than the male skinks. The biting may also vary in both skinks; as observed by researchers, female blue-tongue skinks are more likely to keep to themselves and do not bite. On the other hand, the male skinks have a more outgoing personality and are more likely to bite because of their aggressive nature.

What does it look like when a blue-tongue skink is about to bite you?

The blue-tongue skinks can sometimes be aggressive; however, this smart reptile doesn’t want to indulge in combat with its owner or anyone around. For this reason, it shows some warning signs to communicate that you should back off from the reptile for some time. You must pay attention to the following common signs when observed in your skink.

Puffing up

The blue-tongue skink may get aggressive for multiple reasons, so as a result, the skink starts puffing up. The skink usually appears bigger than the opponent in physical combat. Some owners might interpret it for some normal Blue-tongue skink’s stunts and find it cute. However, as soon as you see the bluey puffing, you must take precautions and keep away from the skink while finding the reason for its aggression.

Hissing

Another warning sign that the skinks may show aggression or fear is hissing. They hiss pretty loud and clear, which communicate the owner to keep away to avoid getting bitten by the blue-tongue skink.

Opening the mouth and flicking the tongue

It can also be a fantastic view for the blue-tongue skink owners, where the skink opens its mouth and flick the reflective part of its tongue. The base of this reptile’s tongue is quite reflective under the UVB lights, and for this reason, the skink extends and flashes the reflective part of its tongue to show aggression.

In the wild, this trait helps them keep the predators away by scaring them out. They often show this stunt to mammals and birds. So, whenever you see your skink sticking out his tongue, it’s better not to handle it to avoid getting bitten.

Does it hurt when blue-tongue skinks bite?

The structure of the Blue-skink’s jaw is not for tearing and slicing; however, the gigantic size of the jaw and their powerful grip made for crushing the food, which can cause injuries and damage the nails of the finger if exposed to the skink’ bite.

The scariest part of blue-tongue lizard’s bite is their powerful and prolonged grip on the finger. It may also roll over and over, which can cause pain and hurt. If a skink bites you, it’s better to disinfect the area and apply some bruising cream to heal the damage.

Can a blue-tongue skink bite your finger off?

No, the jaw of the blue-tongue skink is not capable of tearing and piercing. Therefore, it’s least likely of a skink to bite your finger off, but the grip of the skinks can be quite hard on the bones and skin. So, if a skink has caught your finger in its mouth, do not snatch pull your finger, as the firm grip will have the skink come with you, and it’ll be a lot of weight hanging from your hanging that can cause serious injury.

What to do if a blue-tongue skink bites you?

If a skink has your finger in its mouth, the first thing to do is to stay calm and not snatch your finger out of its mouth. You can try to calm the skink to stop it from shaking its head and rolling on the floor. Pull your hand as soon as it opens the mouth and disinfect it to avoid infections.

Are blue-tongue skinks venomous?

The blue-tongue skinks may seem scary and venomous, but they are not, which is one of the reasons why these blueys are considered safe reptile pets. The bite of the blue-tongue skink may damage your skink or finger but will not put any venom inside your body, which can be fatal. However, to ensure that the bite causes no infection, you must disinfect the area bitten by this reptile.

Are blue-tongue skinks poisonous?

No, as mentioned earlier, these reptiles do not contain any venom or toxins inside their body that can kill you or make you sick. It is one of the reasons why blue-tongue skinks make excellent pets, are safe to play with, and do not cause any illness to the owner. Even if your dog or any other animal swallows them, there’s nothing to worry about.

In contrast to their appearance, the blue-tongue skinks may appear bigger and more dangerous. Still, they are relatively harmless and defenseless, and you as an owner have to protect these reptiles from children and other pets.

Are blue Tongue Skinks Poisonous to eat?

No, since they don’t have any toxins in their body, they are not poisonous to eat. In addition to this, their size may look appalling, yet they are completely safe and do not cause any sickness if swallowed or ingested by anyone.

Are Blue-Tongue Skinks safe pets to own with children?

Yes, it’s entirely safe to have skinks at home with children. This reptile is very friendly and safe for regular handling. The skinks need to be handled regularly; it will prevent them from becoming shy. If you leave your blue-tongue skink alone frequently, it will start spending time alone in the cage’s hiding spot and be more reluctant to handle.

Children and skinks.

Your kid would love to play with a blue-tongue skink as much as you do. These blueys have an outgoing, friendly and fun-loving nature, which makes children comfortable around this reptile. The low maintenance of the skink allows kids to take care of the reptile’s needs and develop a sense of responsibility.

So, it’s entirely safe for your kids to have a blue-tongue skink until they don’t hurt the reptile. You, as an adult, need to ensure that your kid doesn’t kill or damage the reptile unknowingly.

Are Skinks just for kids?

No, skinks are not only for kids but any reptile lover can have them enjoy the interesting personality traits. The icing on the cake is that these blueys are easy to handle, maintain, raise, and breed, making them more attractive for reptile lovers to get a blue-tongue skink.

Do blue-tongue skinks have teeth?

Yes, blue tongue skinks have teeth that are quite larger but do not protrude much from the gums, which makes them barely visible in their mouth. The structure of the bluey’s teeth is like pegs, cylindrical near the base and pointed like a cone near the top. These teeth are not meant for tearing and piercing. Instead, they are used for crushing the food. It is one of the reasons why the bite of a blue-tongue skink does not damage the skin.

Why do blue-tongue skinks bite, and how to stop it?

The attacking capabilities are in every living being to defend themselves from the incoming trouble or danger. Similar is the case with the blue-tongue skinks; they bite only when they feel intimidated or threatened by their environment. The reptile shows some warning signs to warn the owner that they will bite to keep safe and away from you, So you must maintain distance under these conditions.

Furthermore, another reason for biting can be their mood swings because of multiple issues such as fear, stress, aggression, or shedding. Keep a vigilant eye on the behavioral changes and the environment around the skink to find the reason why the skink is biting or showing warning signs. Following are some reasons why the blue-tongue skink may bite you.

Your blue-tongue skink is scared.

One of the reasons why the skink is biting is to defend itself. There are different reasons which may intimidate the skink, including crowded areas a new skink in the cage. So, if your skink shows warning signs such as puffing up and hissing, you should know that the skink is scared and may bite you on handling.

In case of warning signs, leave your skink alone, move the cage or skink from crowded areas, and if you have put another bluey in the same cage, it’s best to remove the addition to relax your reptile.

Your blue-tongue skink is stressed.

Stress can be another reason why the blue-tongue skink may bite you or show warning signs, and it can be fatal to the health of the skinks. There could be several reasons why this reptile can get stressed, including over or bad handling, change in environment, or any other intimidation. Check the background if you feel that your blue-tongue lizard is stressed or showing the warning signs. Ensure that the lighting, humidity, temperature, water, and food are appropriate for relieving the stress of the reptile.

Your blue-tongue skink is sick.

Sickness can make anyone moody temperamental and can be why your skink is showing warning signs. As the bluey is a friendly and welcoming pet, it is implausible for this reptile to show aggression and bite under normal environmental conditions. So, if the pet is trying to bite you, puffing up or hissing a lot, the reptile might be suffering from some sickness. Some common ailments that the blue-tongue skink may go through are parasites, digestion issues, Metabolic Bones Disease, and mouth rot.

Get your reptile pet checked by a vet if you observe unusual behavioral changes in your pet despite a calm and comfortable environment.

Your blue-tongue skink is gravid.

Being an ovoviviparous reptile, the female blue-tongue skink gives live birth. Therefore, if your pet bluey is female and throws mood tantrums despite a comfortable and safe environment, it might be because your reptile is pregnant or gravid.

Your blue-tongue skink is shedding.

Dry and itchy skin can make your blue-tongue skink quite moody and can be a reason why your calm and friendly reptile is showing violent behavior of biting, hissing, and puffing up. Put yourself in their shoes; dry and itchy skin can really be a prick. So, please keep away from your reptile for some time when you see your reptile showing grumpy behavior, as it might be their time to shed the skin.

Your blue-tongue skink is wild-caught

A wild-caught blue-tongue skink is also very aggressive, which is evident because, in the wild, the reptile has to keep itself safe from predators. However, these reptiles are renowned for their friendly and calm disposition but are challenging to breed; for this reason, the wild-caught blueys are sold in the market, which is aggressive and can bite you.

How to avoid being bit by a blue-tongue skink?

You can easily avoid getting bitten by a blue-tongue skink if you pay close attention to the warning signs communicated by the reptile. Maintain a distance from the reptile to give it some space to feel comfortable and relaxed. Some ways to avoid being bit by a skink are listed below.

Avoid rough handling

Although these reptiles are friendly, who likes to be mishandled? Similarly, these friendly reptiles can become super aggressive if their owner is not handling them properly. So, be careful while handling your reptile, and avoid frequent handling for some time if your reptile doesn’t like it.

Pick up your pet lizard correctly.

Holding your reptile lizard appropriately is also important when talking about blue-tongue skinks. Mishandling can cause the reptile to become aggressive and moody, so ensure to pick up your lizard correctly to avoid being bitten by a blue-tongue skink.

Do not try to handle a blue-tongued skink that is eating.

No one likes to be disturbed when eating; imagine how you would feel if someone jumped in at your lunchtime to bother you? Annoying, right??

Well, it’s no different with the blue-tongue skinks too! If your reptile is eating and you want to pick it up just because it looks cute, STOP!! Please don’t do it!!!!

This gesture will annoy your reptile and force him to bite you. So, if you want to avoid being bitten by the reptile, do not disturb it while eating.

Take things slowly and learn your skink’s personality.

Not every skink acts the same way; some may take more time to adjust in captivity than others. Therefore, it’s best to give time to your reptile to adapt to the environment get familiar with you. In case of rushing, you may experience being bitten many times.

Conclusion

Understanding humans can be complicated, but at least they speak up for what they feel, but the blue-tongue skinks cannot. So, if you are wondering if a blue-tongue skink can bite you, or kill you, then the answer is NO! This reptile can get aggressive under some conditions, which you need to identify and resolve as an owner.

Furthermore, the reptile is safe to keep with kids, and its bite doesn’t introduce toxins to your body. So, you don’t have to worry about being killed, but the strength and prolonged bite of this reptile are sometimes very harsh on the hand or finger of the owner. So, check for the warning signs communicated by the bluey to avoid being bitten.

Finally, bringing and keeping a reptile pet can sometimes get challenging. So, be patient to get the best compatibility with your pet reptile.

I am the editor-in-chief at MyPetReptiles.com, a site that is devoted to reptiles and the people who love them. I have been keeping and breeding many pet reptiles such as bearded dragons, geckos, chameleons, etc. for over 10 years now.

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