Do Blue-Tongue Skinks Make Good Pets

Do Skinks Make Good Pets? Blue Tongue Skink as Pets

I must admit, I wasn’t always an expert in skink care. When I first brought home my very first Blue Tongue Skink, a tiny, curious creature I named Darwin, I was full of questions and slightly overwhelmed. But oh boy, the journey I’ve had with Darwin, learning, exploring, and growing together has been nothing short of extraordinary!

Now, Blue Tongue Skinks are known for their calm nature and quirky behavior, a combination that had always captivated me. Once I got Darwin, I learned quickly that being a skink owner required patience and a thirst for knowledge. I spent hours researching, networking with fellow skink owners, and even having fun little ‘learning sessions’ with Darwin himself. Trust me when I say, these little fellas can teach you more about life than any book ever could.

Of course, the journey wasn’t always smooth sailing. Every pet owner has their fair share of challenges and I was no different. Learning about the right diet for Darwin, understanding his specific habitat requirements, and sometimes just deciphering his behavior were all daunting tasks initially. But trust me, every challenge was worth the rewarding relationship I now share with Darwin.

Pros of Blue Tongue Lizards as Pets

keeping skinks as pets

Having a pet skink, particularly a Blue Tongue Skink, is like having a little dinosaur in your home. They’re unique, they’re fascinating, and trust me, they’re a whole lot of fun! One of the best parts about having a skink as a pet is how surprisingly low maintenance they are.

1. Low Maintenance

Skinks are relatively easy-going creatures with simple needs. As long as you provide them with a suitable habitat that mimics their natural environment (like a comfy terrarium with the right heat gradient), they’ll be content. They don’t require daily walks like dogs or constant attention like some other pets, and they can even be left alone for a day or two if necessary.

2. Lifespan

One of the reasons why I absolutely adore my Blue Tongue Skink is the longevity of their companionship. These little critters can live for up to 20 years in captivity! This means you’ll have plenty of time to bond and build a relationship with them.

3. Unique Characteristics

Skinks have a whole host of fascinating features that are a delight to discover. Take my Blue Tongue Skink, for example – true to its name, it has a vibrant blue tongue which it uses as a defence mechanism against predators. It’s quite a sight when they stick it out in surprise!

4. Interaction and Bonding

Over the years, I’ve found that skinks respond well to handling and interaction. With gentle and regular handling, my Blue Tongue Skink has become quite used to my presence and is now comfortable climbing onto my hand. It’s a unique bonding experience that I can’t compare to any other pet.

5. Educational Value

My journey of keeping a skink as a pet has been incredibly educational, and it’s something I believe can greatly benefit children. They’ll learn all about reptile behavior, the importance of a well-maintained habitat, and even life sciences!

6. Blue Tongue Skinks are Hardy In Captivity

Blue Tongue Skinks, in particular, adapt very well to living in captivity. With the right habitat setup, they thrive and exhibit natural behaviours just like they would in the wild.

7. They are Inexpensive to Maintain

The costs associated with maintaining a Blue Tongue Skink are surprisingly manageable. Aside from the initial setup (terrarium, heat lamps etc.), their diet mainly consists of easily obtainable items like vegetables, fruits, and occasionally some protein, which won’t break your bank!

8. Blue Tongue Skinks are Sizable

Being medium-sized reptiles, Blue Tongue Skinks are just the right size for a household pet. They’re sizable enough to handle comfortably, but not so large as to require a massive enclosure or complex care.

9. There are Many Species to Choose From

The skink family is incredibly diverse. If Blue Tongue Skinks don’t suit your fancy, there are over a thousand different species of skinks to choose from, each with their unique traits and characteristics.

10. They are Smart

Despite their simple appearance, skinks are intelligent creatures. They can recognise their owners, showing signs of familiarity when approached by them as opposed to strangers.

11. They are Easily Available

Finding a Blue Tongue Skink is usually as simple as visiting a local pet store or reptile expo. There are also many reputable breeders online who can ship the skinks safely to your doorstep.

12. They are Suitable for Children and Beginners

Given their easy-going nature and straightforward care requirements, Blue Tongue Skinks make excellent pets for beginners and children. They’re a great introduction to the world of reptile-keeping.

Cons of Blue Tongue Lizards as Pets

blue tongued skink pet

While there’s no denying the unique charm and personality of a blue tongue skink, it’s also important to acknowledge that skink ownership isn’t always a walk in the park. Let’s discuss some of the potential downsides you should consider.

1. Skinks Require Specialized Care

Just like other exotic pets, skinks need specific care to thrive. They require a particular diet, which mainly consists of a balanced mix of proteins, fruits, and vegetables. You can’t simply feed them cat or dog food and expect them to stay healthy. Also, they can’t survive on a diet of just lettuce and tomatoes, like some believe.

Moreover, skinks need a specific type of enclosure, ideally a large terrarium with controlled humidity and temperature. They also require UVB lighting for proper calcium absorption. Essentially, you need to replicate their natural habitat as closely as possible. Now, while setting up their ideal habitat can be an exciting project, it also requires time, effort, and financial resources.

2. Skinks Have Long Lifespans

Blue tongue skinks can live up to 20 years when well-cared-for. This long lifespan means a commitment of two decades on your part. Life circumstances can change over such a long period, and you need to consider whether you’ll be able to provide consistent care during that time. Remember, adopting a pet means being responsible for their well-being for their entire life. It’s not a decision to take lightly.

3. Skinks Can Be Prone to Health Issues

Just like any pet, skinks can develop health issues, some of which are specific to their species. For example, they can suffer from nutritional deficiencies if their diet isn’t properly balanced. Metabolic bone disease, respiratory infections, and parasites are also common health concerns for these creatures. Regular vet visits and health checks will be necessary to keep your skink in good health.

4. Skinks Are Not Typically Social Animals

If you’re looking for a pet to cuddle with on the couch while watching TV, a skink might not be the right choice for you. While they can grow to tolerate handling over time, they generally prefer to be left alone.

5. Regulations and Legalities

Lastly, depending on where you live, there may be regulations and legalities associated with owning a skink. Some locations require permits to keep these creatures as pets. It’s crucial to research and understand the laws in your area before bringing a skink into your home.

Despite these potential cons, many skink owners (myself included) find the rewards of caring for these unique creatures far outweigh the challenges. It’s all about understanding what you’re signing up for and making sure it’s the right fit for your lifestyle. Each skink has its personality and can make a fascinating pet for the right person. If you’re up for the commitment, a skink might just be your next perfect pet companion!

Types of Blue Tongue Skinks That Make Great Pets


1. Northern Blue Tongue Skink

These guys are the most common type of skink found in homes, and for a good reason! Northern Blue Tongue Skinks, or Tiliqua scincoides intermedia if we’re being scientific, are known for their friendly disposition and manageable size, usually growing up to 18 to 24 inches.

As an owner of two Northern Blue Tongue Skinks (Loki and Thor, if you’re curious), I can vouch that their easy-going nature makes them excellent companions. They’re also voracious eaters, with a diet consisting of both plant and animal matter. A balanced mixture of fresh veggies, fruits, and high-quality wet dog or cat food will keep your Northern Blue happy and healthy.

2. Eastern Blue Tongue Skink

The Eastern Blue Tongue Skink, or Tiliqua scincoides scincoides, is another charming variety to consider. A bit smaller than the Northerns, they’re also known for their calm nature and adaptability. My Eastern Blue, Athena, loves basking under her UV light and munching on snails – a great source of calcium!

Remember, each skink has its quirks and dietary preferences, so some patience and experimentation are needed to find the perfect balance.

3. Irian Jaya Blue Tongue Skink

A shout out to my Irian Jaya skink, Zeus, who’s made my life all the more interesting! The Tiliqua sp. are a bit more active and might require a slightly larger enclosure to roam around, but they’re every bit as wonderful as their other Blue Tongue cousins.

While their diet is similar to the others, Zeus particularly loves his protein in the form of lean meat and boiled eggs.

All Blue Tongue Skinks need a proper setup for basking, hiding, and exploring, and they all appreciate gentle handling and regular interaction. Every skink is a unique individual, and I’ve been incredibly lucky to share my home with these fascinating creatures.

While skinks make for wonderful companions, it’s essential to remember that they’re a commitment. They need regular feeding, cleaning, and social interaction to thrive. But trust me, the reward of seeing them healthy and content, knowing you’re providing a safe and loving home, is simply priceless.


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.

Filled under: Lizards

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