Can a Blue Tongue Skink Live in a 40 Gallon Tank? (Care Guide)
If you are researching or considering buying a Blue-tongue skink, you need to read this article now. Firstly you need to understand the right size enclosure, then I will reveal more.
Can a Blue Tongue Skink Live in a 40 Gallon Tank? Yes, they can live in a 40 Gallon tank. However, the bigger the better. If you can stretch to a 55 gallon tank they will be even happier, but i’d say 40 Gallon is the smallest you want to consider for these beauties.
Understanding twhat size of enclosure is just one part of the puzzle, there is a lot more to consider if you are interested in caring for a blue-tongue skink. For example, what food do they eat? where did they originate from? what is the ideal lighting? Ideal Accessories? etc. If you are interested in some answers to these questions, please read on now.
What is a Blue Tongue Skink?
Also known by its scientific name, “Tiliqua scincoides”, the Blue tongue Skink is classed as a medium sized lizard that originates from Australia. They are loved in their natural habitat because they enjoy eating pests such as slugs and snails.
They are a good lizard for beginners due to their temperament (more info on this below). However they can be very hard to breed in captivity.
Where do they come from?
They originate from Australia, however, there are different varieties that reside in different locations. An example of this is the Western Blue-Tongued skink is from Australia, whereas there are other variations that can be found in New Guinea, or even as far as New Guinea.
What is their temperament like?
As discussed earlier they have quite a good temperament for beginners. In particular they have quite a nonchalant, laid back behaviour. Almost the opposite to aggressive.
Be warned, they will still bite. However, this is only really as a defensive reaction when they feel that they are being threatened. So, for that reason I would not advise you to leave them with children without supervision. Because kids may poke or antagonise the skink without meaning to do so.
If they feel threatened, their natural response is to hiss and display their impressive blue tongue, to send out a warning not to mess with it.
They also have very strong jaws, so if they decide to bite it can be very painful. So please be careful. As I said earlier this behaviour is only expected if they feel under attack. So, if you treat them right, typically they have a good relaxed temperament.
What do they look like (appearance)?
The most obvious distinguishing feature with the Blue-tongue skins is their tongue, as you can imagine with a name like they have.
Apart from that their base body colours can vary quite a lot. To the point that there is no real distinguishing colour for their base. For example, you can have colours such as red, creamy colours, orange and even black.
They all tend to have a very nice glossy coat of scales. But by far their main feature is their blue tongue.
Size wise, they are bigger than some other common lizards in captivity, so the correct enclosure is necessary (more on this below). They can be up to 20 inches in length so they are a fair size for a household pet.
What is the ideal housing for them?
Because the Blue-tongue skink is larger than average it needs a large enclosure. Just to make sure that is comfortable and not feeling trapped in a small space.
The ideal size is at least forty gallons, but if you can stretch your budget up to fifty five gallons, that would be beneficial to your skink.
It is also a good idea to get a closed lid that is secure. This is just to insure that your lizard doesn’t escape and save you some headache finding it again.
What is the ideal temperature for them?
It is important to keep your lizard at the correct temperature to keep them happy and perlong their life. Bare in mind that the Blue-tongue skink is deemed as a native to Australia, so it naturally needs a warm climate.
The ideal climate for the skink is seventy five to eighty five degrees Fahrenheit. As well as regulating the temperature for this, you need to have a basking spot that has an increased temperature. The ideal temperature for this basking area is ninety five degrees.
To achieve all of this under tank heating is ideal. You can use a heat mat or heat tape to achieve this and keep it at the correct climate.
What is the ideal lighting for them?
Overhead lights will be required. But make sure that they are turned off at night. The day light bulbs should be on for a maximum of 12 hours. UVB lighting bulbs is ideal as well as the basking lights.
With the UVB lights you need to make sure there is a direct light to your lizard. It helps their bone health and also helps their metabolism.
What do Blue-Tongue Skinks eat?
Skinks are Omnivores, this means that they eat plants and meat. With that being said it is important to keep the balance because too much protein is not good for their diet.
The ideal balance is 40% meat and 60% fruit and veg. In addition to this a good vitamin D supplement will help to prevent bone disease.
An example of vegetables they will eats is as follows: Carrots, parsnips, strawberries, bananas, Melons. As far as meat or protein goes, here is an example of things they will eat: Believe it or not, dog food, worms and mice.
Are there any known health issues for Blue-Tongue Skinks?
Understanding how to monitor your lizard for health issues is important to increase their lifespan and to keep them happy. There are some tell tale signs that your lizard is not happy. If it starts hiding away a lot and stops eating, this is a red flag. Meaning you may need to get her checked out or at least keep a close eye on her.
Here are a couple of known issues that may encounter with the Blue-tongue skinks:
- Raw Nose
Lets explore in a bit more detail what these are:
This is a noticeable bleeding nose on your lizard. Typically it is caused by rubbing its nose against the enclosure while it is in captivity.
Parasites are small infestations that can cause some serious discomfort to your lizard. Basically a good example of these is “mites”. The best way to detect these is to look out for a black, white or even red dust that appears to be moving, like it is wriggling.
Unfortunately these parasites can be external as well as internal, so the external ones are easier to detect.
This is more commonly known as “Mouth Rot”. It is not pleasant for your lizard, so the earlier you can detect it, the better. It is believed that it can be caused by your lizard accidentally injuring itself while it is eating. Also linked to stress in your lizard.
You will notice it quite clearly if its there, it has a yellowish type fluid that excretes from the mouth, lips or even teeth. Not pleasant to see, but you need to look out for it.
Always make sure that you buy them from a respected breeder. Ideally they will have good feedback from others and have a good, long and trusted track record.
As well as asking for a health history from the breeder of your choice. There are some things that you can check yourself as due diligence:
- Check the eyes
Let me explain each of these:
Check the eyes
Believe it or not, but a simple check of the eyes can save you some unnecessary headache. Make sure the eyes are clear and free of any issues.
Check the skin. Ideally, there should be no skin blemishes. Fortunately these are usually quite easy to see, so you shouldn’t have any problems picking this up.
Also, check that there are no patches of dry skin. This is a red flag of skin issues that you need to avoid.
Finally, check to see if the lizard shows signs of a skin shed that has not completed properly. What do I mean by that? Well once a lizards sheds its skin, it should loose all the old skin and have a new fresh layer. If there is a trace of old skin left behind, this is not a good sign.
Inspect the limbs. The obvious first sanity check is that all the limbs are there. But beyond that is the quality of the limbs. Let the lizard crawl for a bit and inspect how she moves, doe sit seem that she is limping or moving abnormal? If yes, you should re-consider the purchase.
Getting the right substrate for your lizard is important. Fortunately there is quite a few options that you can consider purchasing, for example:
- Shavings of Wood
- Old Paper
- Cypress Mulch
- Fir Bark
However, there are some that you should avoid as well, for example: Clay cat litter, Walnut Shells or orchard bark. Unfortunately these can cause health issues for your lizard and should be avoided.
What is the best accessories for them?
One thing to consider when providing accessories for your Blue-tongue skink, they are not the best climbers, so you do not want to provide any high objects that may try to climb up to and then fall off accidentally while trying to do so, so keep the height of these accessories in mind when you are adding these accessories.
The ideal accessories for the is as follows:
- Stacked rocks
- Cork bark
- Mopani wood
- Cardboard shoebox
These are good options. But another important fact to consider, you need to make sure that you do not over fill the enclosure. The reason being is they enjoy their space, so they will feel boxed in if you do this.
Ideally you will provide a couple of hiding spots, so that your lizard can hide its entire body. This will make them feel a lot more happier.
How Much Water Should You Give Them?
Water is an essential part of your lizards survival. Always make sure they have fresh and clean water available at all times. However, do not be tempted to make the water bowl over full and do not buy a deep bowl. Reason being they are not good swimmers and this could cause them some danger.
Make sure that the water bowl does not fall over easy. This is easily achieved by choosing a bowl that is stable and will not be knocked over easy.
What is the Ideal Humidity Level for them?
The humidity is another key consideration. The best humidity really depends of the type of skink you have. For example if you have a Northern Skink, ideally it will be 25-40 percent.
However, if you have another variation, the chances are you will need it higher than this. For example, 40-45 percent is the way forward.
Are blue tongue skinks good pets?
In general, they are great pets. They are easy to look after and ideal for a beginner. And as discussed earlier, they have a good temperament, as long as you do not antagonise or irritate them.
One thing I would say is, they are not the smallest lizard out there, so you need to understand that. As discussed earlier they need a fairly large enclosure, so that means more cost for you.
If that does not bother you at all, then the blue-tongue skink could the ideal lizard for you.
Do blue tongue skinks drop their tails? Yes, they do. This can happen if you are too heavy handed with them in captivity. They will effectively drop their tale and be left with a stub. This is even more likely with a baby lizard.
The stump will heal up, and in time a new tail will grow through. However, it is not as big as the original tail and not the same as the original, but it re-grows never the less.
How many babies do blue tongues have? Approximately 10. Bare in mind they do not lay eggs, they actually have live young. After the female lizard has mated, you can expect to see the babies anything from 3 to 5 months later.
How long do they live for? The lifespan of a Blue-tongue skink is quite long. You can expect them to last anywhere from ten, right up to twenty years. So, these are not pets just for Christmas, they are a long term fixture in your life, so its worth taking that into consideration before you commit to them as a pet.
Are Blue-tongue Skinks nocturnal? Yes, they are. However it depends on their environment. If they are in a warm climate such as Australia, then they will be nocturnal. However if they they are in a much cooler climate they are not. In these climates they would be classed as diurnal.
How much do these skinks cost? The cost can vary depending on the type of skink you want. For example a Northern Blue tongue skink can be anywhere from $140 – $240, depending if they are fully grown or young.
However, if you want an ultra-rare specie they can be very expensive. For example you could be looking at $1,000 right up to $5,200. Depending on the breeder and specie you choose.
Do they Shed their Skin? Yes, they do. It is important to check that the shedding has completed properly on any skink you wish you purchase. in particular, check the tail end and the toes. These areas are notorious for showing signs of an incomplete shed.
The issue is, if you have a lot of built up incomplete sheds, then it is difficult to get off. The toes in particular is an area for concern. Because they are delicate and hard to remove the shed.
If you are tempted to remove the old skin with an eyelash tweezer, forget it! This can cause some serious pain to your lizard if you get it wrong.
You will find that these areas are common for an incomplete shed because they do not naturally shrug off the old skin well. Where as other areas have natural movement that will shrug off the skin, such as the back or belly.
How do you know when they are about to shed? Well, there are some subtle signs such as colour changes. For example, approximately one week before they shed you may notice the underbelly has a distinct milky colour. You may also notice that their old skin starts to get quite dry.
Once the shedding is complete, you will be amazed how smooth and fresh the new skin looks. You will just know what I mean when you see it.