Do Blue-Tongue Skinks Make Good Pets? Pros and Cons

Blue-tongue skinks are giant lizards with blue-tongue and are famous for their low maintenance, friendly and gentle nature. Most reptile pet beginners often come up with a question of whether or not blue-tongue skinks make good pets. The answer is yes; the blue-tongue skinks are pretty famous among reptile pet owners because they are easily tamed and low maintenance, which makes these reptiles unique among reptile pet owners.

In addition to this, several other factors prove that the blue-tongue skinks are pretty friendly and entirely safe for owning as a pet. Each of these factors is discussed below in detail. 

12 Reasons That Make Blue Tongue Skinks Great Pet

There are many reasons why blue-tongue Skink is a great pet and completely safe to have at your home. Some of the reasons are given below. 

1. They Are Easy To Handle

One of the foremost reasons why blue-tongue skinks make good pets is their friendly nature and their tolerance to handling. Not just this, they also enjoy scratching on the chin and forehead and interacting with the owner. 

There’s one thing to note you must tame your bluey before handling it, or it’ll get irritated and may bite you in some extreme conditions. Captive-bred bluey that you get from breeders are very unlikely to bite you; however, if your Skink is wild-caught, then it may show some aggression until you tame it.

2. Blue Tongue Skinks Are Hardy In Captivity

Blue-tongue skinks are easy to handle, raise, and maintain compared to any other reptile. These reptiles do not have any special food requirements and eat almost everything that humans eat. They can even feed on vegetables and fruits, just like humans. The average diet ratio of an adult bluey includes 50% of protein, 40% veggies, and the rest 10% fruits. 

In addition to the above, these reptiles can survive without live food and survive on just cat and dog food. Amazing, isn’t it? 

3. They Have A Long Life Span.

Blue-tongue skinks are quite famous for their long lifespan, ranging from 15-30 years. The lifespan of this reptile may vary depending on different factors, including gender, diet, and health. With proper care and attention, your reptile will likely accompany you for up to 30 years, which is a good life for any reptile.

4. They Have A Beautiful Long Blue Tongue

The fascinating part of their appearance, their blue tongue, makes them quite adorable and beautiful. In the wild, this reptile sticks out its tongue to scare the predator away; however, in captivity, it’s quite a sight to watch your Skink sticking out its beautiful blue tongue while eating or playing.

5. They Are Inexpensive To Maintain

Maintaining and taking care of a blue-tongue skink is cheaper than keeping a dog or a cat. To maintain a skink, you only need a tank of appropriate size, preferably 40 gallons or above, a good substrate to maintain humidity levels inside the tank, proper UVA/UVB lighting, and heating parameters. 

Housing

Blue-tongue skinks are larger than other reptiles and can grow up to two feet long. Therefore, for keeping a bluey at home, you must choose a large tank to adjust the Skink and allow free movement of the reptile. Typically suggested tank size for the blue-tongue Skink is 40-55 gallons. 

In addition to this, you need to add a water and food dish, UVB and UVA lights, heating lamps, basking spot, and hiding area in the tank to put the closest imitation of nature together for the well-being of the bluey.

Specific Substrate Needs

The substrate is the flooring of the blue-tongue Skink, and you must choose the substrate carefully. Please do not choose a toxic substrate with tiny particles that your bluey can ingest, as they may cause health and digestion issues. The substrate must be selected to absorb moisture and maintain the humidity level as per the requirement of the species you own. Aspen wood shavings, cypress mulch, and newspaper are suitable substrate options.

Specific Humidity and Heating Needs

Blue-tongue skinks have their origin in Australia. Therefore, the temperature inside the tank must be warm. It’s essential to maintain the temperature gradient inside the tank with a thermal gradient of 75-85 F. Furthermore; you must keep a basking area where your reptile can soak sunlight. The temperature of the basking area should be 95 degrees Fahrenheit.

The temperature at night can be reduced from 25-18 degrees celsius. 

6. Blue Tongue Skinks Are Sizable.

The sizes of blue-tongue skinks vary depending on the species of the Skink. They have short tails, short height, and do not like to climb. With different sizes as per the species, these reptiles are pretty fun and 

7. There Are Many Species To Choose From

The blue-tongue skinks have several species and subspecies found in the wild and bred in captivity. So, you have a wide variety of skinks to choose from, which is quite fascinating. However, you must note that all the species are not suitable for keeping pets. Some popular species that you may have as a pet are:

Northern blue-tongue skinks.

Eastern blue-tongue skinks.

New Guinea blue-tongue skinks.

Blotched blue-tongue skinks.

8. They Are Smart

Blue-tongue skinks are smart and have the know-how to communicate with their owners. They’ll communicate symptoms if they are ill or have any trouble in their surroundings. Similarly, you can easily tell that your Skink is happy by looking at the signs they communicate. Furthermore, they are intelligent reptiles and learn fast.

9. They Only Have A Common Health Problem.

Ailments and illness are very rare in blue-tongue skinks; however, one of the most common illnesses that a bluey may go through is Metabolic Bones Disease, which occurs out of calcium deficiency in the body. The calcium deficiency happens due to weak UV lighting or an unhealthy diet. Some symptoms that will help you diagnose and treat this ailment are weak or fractured bones, lethargy, tremors, or weakness. To prevent MBD in your bluey, dust your pet’s food with vitamin and calcium supplements.

Another common ailment in blue-tongue skinks is mouth rot, caused by a bacterial or fungal infection. Common symptoms of mouth rot are foamy or cheesy secretion from the bluey’s mouth. Mouth rot is a severe health issue and must be treated earliest. If you see the symptoms of mouth rot as mentioned, get your reptile checked by a professional vet. You can also avoid this medical condition by keeping a strict check on the environment of your bluey, maintaining the right temperature, light, and humidity in the tank. In addition to this, be vigilant about cleaning the tank after every week, disinfecting the whole tank, and changing the substrate whenever required, to prevent the growth of bacteria and infection.

10. They Are Always Available

Being the most popular reptile pet, these skinks are readily available in the market for purchase. You don’t have to search the lengths and breadths of the area you’re residing in. It could be purchased from a breeder, exotic pet shop, or even online. However, there’s one thing that you must notice: you need to buy your reptile pet from a reputable pet shop or breeder. 

11. They Are Suitable For Children And Beginners

If you’re wondering whether it is safe to have a blue-tongue skink as a beginner or around kids, the answer is yes. It is entirely safe to skink around kids, as they are non-toxic, harmless, and quite friendly. Instead, you must ensure the reptile’s safety so that no one steps on it. 

As the blueys are low-maintenance, have a calm disposition, and have a friendly nature, it’s wonderful for you being a beginner, to keep it as a pet. 

12. Blue Tongue Skinks Behavior

These reptiles are pretty famous because they are easy to tame, handle, and maintain. In addition to this, they aren’t aggressive. Instead, they have a docile, gentle, and friendly attitude towards the owner, making them even more adorable.

Pros of blue tongue skinks as pets:

1. These reptiles are smart and known to be intelligent lizards.

2. They are omnivores and consume almost all types of food that humans eat.

3. They are calm, gentle, and docile.

4. Good choice of reptile for beginners and experienced pet owners.

5. Don’t each much, which saves your money,

6. Aren’t aggressive or toxic to keep.

7. Completely safe to own around kids.

8. Have a longer lifespan as compared to other reptiles.

9. Easy to tame.

10. Low maintenance and easy to handle.

Cons of blue tongue skinks as pets:

1. Although these blueys do have a long lifespan, most people can’t commit to them for more than 15-20 years.

2. As they are large, they need big space for accommodation.

3. If you have more than one bluey, you must keep them separate or be aggressive. It means a lot of space!

4. The tank of bluey needs to be cleaned regularly, or the reptile can have an infection.

Can You Own a Pet Blue-Tongued Skink?

Legality

Owning a blue-tongue skink is entirely safe and legal for anyone who wants to have a bluey at home. These pets are exotic, for which the sellers may require a special permit, but as an owner, you don’t need any permit to have a bluey at home.

Blue-Tongued Skink Behavior and Temperament

The gentle temperament of the blue-tongue skinks is one of the reasons why this reptile is popular among pet owners as a safe pet to own. These reptiles are natives of the hot lands of Australia and have fascinating long blue-tongues that are a significant attraction for reptile pet owners. In addition to the long blue tongue, these reptiles are docile, friendly, and easy to tame. Who wouldn’t love to have a bluey at home with all these wonderful behavioral traits?

There is one thing to note, although blueys are not aggressive, their huge body and 

What Do Blue-Tongued Skinks Eat & Drink?

These fascinating lizards with blue-tongue are omnivores and consume both insects and veggies to stay healthy. In the wild, blueys have access to unlimited resources which fulfill the needs of vitamins and protein; however, in captivity, you must provide a good balance of veggies, fruits, and insects to ensure good health.

Adding a variety of food to the diet of the bluey, along with vitamin and calcium supplements dusted on the food, will keep the bluey healthy and happy. The proportion of protein to veggies varies depending on the age of the bluey. For juveniles, the ratio of protein to veggie is 60% to 40%, whereas, for adult blue-tongue skinks, the proportion must be 50% protein, i.e., insects, and the rest 50% should be veggies and fruit.

Shedding

Skin shedding is a routine of reptiles, including blue-tongue skinks. Shedding in blueys depends on the age. Juvenile or young skinks tend to shed skin more often than adults, who only once every two or three months. If your Skink cannot shed skin completely and is shedding in patches, it must be a sign of health complications, often known as dysecdysis. 

Another reason for the difficulty in skin shedding can be insufficient humidity inside the tank. In this case, try boosting the humidity level inside the tank to help the reptile shed skin without any problem. 

Bonus Tip: Tip To Tame A Blue Tongue Skink For Children

If you are a beginner and afraid of owning a blue-tongue skink because there are kids all-around your home, here are some pro tips for taming your reptile pet to adjust with the kids and new surroundings. 

When the habitat of a blue-tongue skink is changed, they usually hide in a hiding spot for two weeks until they feel comfortable in the new environment. It is best not to disturb them during this time, and let them get used to the new environment.

Secondly, introduce the Skink to your children after the two weeks’ time is over. However, avoid handling the Skink at this stage; offer some treats to build acquaintance. 

Finally, start handling the Skink slowly and carefully; this will build a relationship between the reptile and the kids. The bluey will soon feel safe with kids and show a calm and friendly attitude.

Conclusion

In searching for a good reptile pet, you can never go wrong with blue-tongue skinks. There are several reasons why it’s a good pet for beginners and experienced reptile pet owners. These reptiles are docile, friendly-natured, easy to tame and handle. Furthermore, the reptile is an omnivore and eats almost everything humans consume, which means a lot of your money would be saved.

With rare chances of falling sick or going through ailments, these reptiles won’t demand frequent trips to the vet and would save a lot of money. Finally, these reptile pets are completely non-toxic/non-venomous and safe to own as beginners or around kids. So, if you are planning to get a reptile pet at home, don’t hesitate. With your love, care and attention, this reptile will stay for a long timespan to accompany and entertain you.

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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