Do Blue Tongue Lizards Bite? Are Skinks Poisonous?

Blue Tongue Skinks are generally known for their docile and friendly nature. They’re not the kind to shy away from gentle interactions.

They do require regular handling to become comfortable with their human companions, but once that bond is formed, it’s a friendship you won’t forget.

Do Blue Tongue Skinks Bite?

It’s important to note right off the bat that blue tongue skinks, like any animal, might bite when they feel threatened or scared. Remember, in the wild, their main defense against predators is their blue tongue, which they stick out to frighten off threats. However, if that doesn’t work, they might resort to a bite.

In my own experience as a skink owner, these little guys are generally quite docile. Their demeanor can best be compared to that of a relaxed dog. They’re content to chill out and lounge, rather than get all bitey. But that’s not to say they can’t or won’t bite. If they’re stressed, anxious, or you’ve accidentally stepped into their personal space, they might give you a little nip.

Biting is their last line of defense, after all, they’re not exactly built for combat. So, if your pet skink is feeling secure and loved, you likely won’t have to worry about bites. It’s all about understanding their behavior and providing them with a safe and comforting environment.

Remember, folks, we’re dealing with a living, breathing creature that deserves our understanding and patience. Yes, blue tongue skinks can bite, but it’s a rarity rather than the rule. Approach them with love and respect, and you’ll receive the same in return.

Do Skink Bites Hurt?

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A blue tongued skink bite is more like a pinch, something akin to getting caught in a zipper – definitely surprising and uncomfortable, but certainly not serious. But, of course, individual experiences may vary.

I recall a time when my dear skink, Blueberry, gave me a small bite. Blueberry had been under the weather, and when I reached in to check on him, he surprised me with a quick bite. Though startled, I quickly realized he was simply acting out of stress. After some tender care (and a visit to the vet), he was back to his charming self, and we’ve had no incidents since!

Are Blue Tongue Skinks Venomous?

First things first, let’s bust this myth wide open: No, blue tongue skinks are not venomous. Phew! You can take a deep sigh of relief now, right? It’s quite a common concern, especially for first-time skink owners, and I completely understand why.

Now, you may be wondering, what’s the difference between ‘venomous’ and ‘poisonous’? A venomous creature delivers toxins by inflicting a wound (think snakes or spiders), whereas a poisonous creature releases toxins when eaten or touched (like certain types of frogs or plants). So, if a creature is venomous, it poses a danger through biting or stinging; if it’s poisonous, danger comes when it is ingested or touched. Thankfully, our beloved blue tongue skinks are neither!

The science behind this is fairly straightforward. Venomous animals have specialized structures, like fangs in snakes, to deliver their venom. Our friendly skinks, on the other hand, don’t possess such structures. They simply have tiny teeth designed to grab their food, not to inject venom.

So, what would be the implications if our skinks were venomous? Well, a bite could potentially cause severe reactions, even medical emergencies, which would certainly put a damper on our interaction with these beautiful creatures. But fear not, a blue tongue skink, though it might bite out of fear or stress, is not going to inject venom.

Are Blue Tongue Skinks Poisonous?

Blue tongue skinks are not poisonous. But, like other reptiles, blue tongue skinks can carry salmonella bacteria in their mouths. It’s quite rare, but there’s a chance that this bacteria could be transferred to a human if the skink bites.

However, it’s important to remember that this doesn’t mean your pet is poisonous. Most healthy adults with good hygiene and wound care habits can handle a minor bite without serious consequences.

I’ve been bitten a time or two. Each time, it was more of a surprise than a health concern. I washed the bitten area with soap and warm water immediately, followed by applying a good antibiotic ointment.

Do Blue Tongue Skinks Have Teeth?

Blue Tongue Skinks are equipped with around 30 to 40 small, sharp teeth. And here’s an interesting tidbit – these teeth are not just confined to their jaws. They actually extend back into the roof of their mouth as well! Isn’t nature incredible?

Now, you might be wondering, “Why so many teeth, and why are they so sharp?” Their teeth are structured this way for a purpose. Primarily, it’s all about their diet. Blue Tongue Skinks are omnivores, which means they enjoy a bit of everything – veggies, fruits, and yes, even insects and small rodents when they can get them. Those sharp little teeth are excellent for breaking down various types of food efficiently.

Which Blue Tongue Skinks Are Most Likely To Bite?

do blue tongue lizards bite

There are a number of types and morphs of blue tongue skinks. Each has a slightly different temperament. Some are more docile then others. Below is a detailed explanation of each species and their tendency to bite.

Which Australian Blue Tongue Skink Species Is Most Likely To Bite?

When we talk about Australian Blue Tongue Skinks, we are primarily referring to the Eastern and Northern Blue Tongue Skinks. From my own experience, and corroborated by reptile experts like Dr. Robert George Sprackland, these species are known for their docile nature and are less likely to bite compared to their Indonesian cousins.

However, it’s important to note that like all animals, individual skinks have their own personalities and stress levels, so occasional biting incidents are not entirely out of the question.

Northern Blue Tongue Skinks, in particular, have a reputation for being exceptionally amiable, making them a popular choice for first-time skink owners. But remember, they’re still wild animals and their comfort levels can vary. If threatened or mishandled, they may resort to biting as a defensive mechanism.

Which Indonesian Blue Tongue Skink Species Is Most Likely To Bite?

Now, moving on to Indonesian Blue Tongue Skinks, which include Tanimbar and Irian Jaya skinks, things are slightly different. These species have a reputation for being a tad more feisty. Research published in the Journal of Herpetology suggests that the wilder environment of Indonesia compared to Australia may contribute to this difference in temperament.

From my own pet-keeping journey, I’ve found that Indonesian skinks may be quicker to bite, especially when they are new to their environment or if they feel threatened. However, don’t let this discourage you. With patient and consistent handling, even the nippiest Indonesian skink can learn to relax and trust its human caretaker.

Remember, biting is typically a last resort for these peaceful creatures. As owners and enthusiasts, our job is to understand and respect their boundaries. Our skinks rely on us for their comfort and safety, and they look to us for cues on how to behave.

What Does It Look Like When A Blue Tongue Skink Is About To Bite You?

If you’ve ever spent time around blue tongue skinks, you’ll know that they’re typically gentle creatures, but like any pet, they have ways of letting you know when they’re upset or feeling threatened. Recognizing these signs can help you avoid an unfortunate bite.

1. Puffing Up

The puffing up might look a bit like your skink is trying to show off its size or take a deep breath, but this is actually a defensive posture. When a blue tongue skink feels threatened, it will inflate its body to make itself look bigger and more intimidating.

Puffing up is a clear sign that your skink is not comfortable with the situation. My own little buddy, Draco, did this the first time I introduced him to a new enclosure. It was a bit scary to see, but understanding that it was a sign of stress helped me adjust his environment to make him feel more at home.

2. Hissing

Hissing is another sign that your skink is feeling defensive. Just like a cat or a snake, a blue tongue skink will hiss to express its discomfort. It’s a clear auditory signal that it’s time to give your pet some space. Remember that it’s not a sign of innate aggression – it’s just their way of saying “back off for a bit, please.”

3. Opening The Mouth And Flicking The Tongue

Lastly, one of the most explicit signs your blue tongue skink is about to bite is when they open their mouth and flick their blue tongue. This display is not just a bluff. It’s a last resort signal before they decide to defend themselves with a bite. It’s something I’ve only seen a few times in my years of keeping skinks, usually when something has startled my pets unexpectedly.

How to Prevent Blue Tongue Skinks from Biting

First things first, let’s talk about proper handling. Blue tongue skinks, like most animals, can get stressed or anxious when not handled correctly. So, the key is to make them feel secure and loved. Here are a few tried-and-true methods from my own skink wrangling adventures:

  1. Approach gently: Skinks have a keen sense of sight and can perceive sudden movements as threats. Approach them slowly, and always from their line of sight. Avoid reaching down from above as this can startle them.
  2. Offer your hand: Let your skink get familiar with your hand before picking it up. They’ll appreciate the opportunity to sniff and explore it. This simple act of patience can work wonders in building trust.
  3. Support their body: When lifting your skink, make sure to support its entire body. This makes them feel secure and reduces their stress levels.
  4. Frequent, short handling sessions: Consistent, positive interactions will help your skink get used to being handled and reduce the likelihood of biting.

Next, let’s discuss creating a skink-friendly environment. You see, our scaled buddies are highly responsive to their surroundings. Here are some aspects you should focus on:

  1. Enclosure setup: Your skink’s enclosure should mimic its natural habitat. Provide plenty of hiding spots, ample space to roam, and regulate temperature and humidity levels.
  2. Diet: Proper nutrition plays a vital role in your skink’s behavior. Ensure you’re providing a balanced diet that meets their unique nutritional needs.
  3. Daily routine: Consistency in daily routines can significantly reduce your skink’s stress. Stick to regular feeding, cleaning, and handling times as much as possible.

By following these simple but effective tips, you can reduce the chances of your blue tongue skink resorting to biting. Always remember, your pet skink is a living creature with its own set of needs and emotions. Investing time in understanding its behaviors and creating a safe, comfortable environment is the real secret to preventing bites.

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.


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.

Filled under: Lizards

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