Blue Tongue Lizard Care Guide

Baby blue tongue skink

summary

Blue-tongued lizards are the largest of all the skinks and are native to Australia. They can grow up to 60 cm long and their colouring varies down their back. Their name comes from their most unique distinguishing feature – their blue tongue.

There are six species of blue-tongues in Australia. The most common types are:

The Eastern Blue-tongue (Tiliqua scincoides): This species is found throughout south-eastern Australia. Their colouring is grey with dark brown stripes across its back and tail.

The Northern Blue-tongue (Tiliqua scincoides intermedia): This species is found through Australia’s tropical regions. They have an orange/yellow colouring with darker stripes along their backs.

Blotched Blue-tongue (Tiliqua nigrolutea): This species is usually found from the highlands of south-west NSW; through Victoria and in Tasmania. Their colouring is dark brown with light coloured blotches on its back.

The Shingleback (Tiliqua rugosa): This species is found west of the dividing range. They are dark brown in colour with larger rough scales. They can also be called the Pinecone Lizard, Boggi, Double-headed Lizard, Sleepy Lizard, Bobtail, and Stumpy Lizard.

As they have stumpy little legs, they cannot rely on quickly running away from predators. Blue-tongues will use their bright blue tongues as a defensive mechanism, and make loud hissing sounds as they rear up in anger to chase off threats.  They also have a very powerful bite and habit of not letting go.

how long do they live for?

Reptiles themselves can be a large commitment with their care, and with just how long they can live. The average lifespan of a blue-tongue skink is 15 – 20 years.

how large do they grow?

The average length of an adult blue tongue skink is 60cm.

enclosure requirements

Blue Tongues are known to be active during the day, often basking and foraging for food. They are solitary animals, meaning they should be housed separately to prevent dominance and aggression.

For one adult blue tongue, we follow the recommendation of a minimum enclosure size of 1200mm x 450mm x 600mm. Ensure there is plenty of ventilation and a secure, lockable door.

The enclosure can be furnished to re-create the animals natural environment including the use of a background, a low basking log or rock, water bowl and feeding dish. An absorbent substrate is also important such as coconut fibre, or blue tongue burrow, all commonly sold at Nick’s Pet Needs.

 

find your lizard enclosure at nick's

IN STORE ONLY
$429.50

Reptile One’s RTF Terrariums provides maximum functionality for terrestrial and arboreal reptiles. Shipping = Local Pick Up Only

IN STORE ONLY
$339.00

Reptile One’s RTF Terrariums provides maximum functionality for terrestrial and arboreal reptiles. Shipping = In Store Only 

$239.00

Reptile One’s RTF Terrariums provides maximum functionality for terrestrial and arboreal reptiles. Shipping = Local Pick Up Only

heating requirements

Just like any other reptile, the blue tongue lizard is ectothermic (they cannot regulate their own body temperature). Since we are keeping them in captivity, it is our responsibility to make sure we offer an accurate temperature gradient so they can self regulate by moving to different areas of the enclosure based.

You will need to have one half of the enclosure as the warmer basking zone, and the other as the cooling end.

 

Providing adequate temperature gradients (either horizontally or vertically) within a blue tongue’s enclosure is essential for their health. They require a basking spot maintained between 33-35˚C and a cool end of 24-26˚C during the day, with night time temperatures staying above 18˚C. We recommended checking temperatures daily, and having any heat source regulated with a good quality thermostat.

Recommended sources of heat include the use of incandescent, halogen or ceramic globes all sold at Nick’s Pet Needs.

Temperatures should be checked daily and must be regulated with the use of a good quality thermostat.

lighting requirements

Ultraviolet light (UV) is imperative in a blue tongue’s growth and development. A 5.0 UVB tube or compact globe must be provided 10-12 hours daily, along with access to unfiltered, natural light at least twice a week. Blue Tongue’s require a ‘day and night’ cycle with lights running for approximately 10-12 hours each day, set on a timer. You can pick one up from your local Bunnings.

daily maintanence

Daily ‘spot checks’ should be completed daily along side fresh water changes. Any faeces, shed skin or uneaten food should be removed immediately. A full substrate change should be carried out every 6-8 weeks (depending on what substrate is used) and the enclosure thoroughly cleaned with a reptile-safe disinfectant such as F10 (Sold here at Nick’s Pet Needs).

food and diet requirements

Blue Tongues are omnivores, so they feed on a range of live insects and plants.

In captivity, a variety should be offered as a 50:50 ratio of live insects to fresh fruits and vegetables. Live foods include crickets, woodies, mealworms (in moderation) and silkworms. Note that the crickets and woodies may be a little quick so hand feeding can be great for bonding. Ensure to dust your live food with calcium and multivitamin powder prior to feeding.

Blue Tongues can also be fed small amounts of beef or chicken dog food, you can mix in calcium powder and a boiled egg for additional nutrients. Fruits and vegetables can include apple, pear, melons, berries, banana, carrot and kale.

Pellets and omnivore toppings are available to add to your blue tongue’s feed dish.

A juvenile blue tongue should be fed daily, and adults every second day.

 

When it comes to water for your blue tongue lizard, it’s important to keep on top of the maintenance to avoid accumulating bacteria.

The water should be replaced daily with the bowl scrubbed weekly.

The placement of your bowl is recommended to be on the cooler side of the enclosure to avoid evaporating too quickly.

$75.00

The cascading water provides a natural drinking source for reptiles and amphibians. Shipping = Small 1 Shot

$99.50

The cascading water provides a natural drinking source for reptiles and amphibians, and the pebble design creates a realistic look that will enhance any environment. Shipping = Medium 1 Shot

$15.50

Allows reptiles to see their food (mealworms), but the specially designed edge ring prevents the mealworms from escaping. Shipping = Small

$19.50

Exo Terra's Feeding Rock is an easy to use aid for feeding insects to your reptiles and amphibians. Shipping = Small 1 Shot

$36.50

Providing a constant source of fresh, clean water while its reservoir protects the water supply from reptiles and insects. Shipping - Medium 1 Shot

$12.00

Two flat sides to make it fit easily into the corner of an enclosure. Shipping = Small

$16.50

Two flat sides to make it fit easily into the corner of an enclosure. Shipping = Small

$31.50

Offer fresh and clean water on a daily basis! Shipping = Small 1 Shot

handling and socialising your new reptile tips

When you first bring your blue tongue home, it’s normal for them to be quite shy and flighty. You’re new, their enclosure home is new and their routine may be new.

We follow the recommendation of letting them settle for a week before handling.
Simply provide their food and water daily then leave them be.

Baby blue tongue skink

potential health concerns

It’s imperative to learn the common signs and symptoms of a blue tongue lizard that is ill, so that if you ever see them you can respond quickly.

Intestional Parasites (Worms):
Blue tongues are susceptible to worms through their food. Faecal checks and worming can be done through your veterinarian.

Dysecdysis (Adnormal Shedding): Low humidity can cause incomplete shedding.

Metabolic Bone Disease (MBD): Calcium or vitamin D3 Deficiency caused by incorrect diet or lack of adequate UV lighting.

 

Mites:
Adult mites can live up to 40 days, and lay up to 20 eggs at a time.
In the captive environment, infestations spread easily between enclosures and the parasite can be very difficult to eradicate from collections of animals.

Once you have identified a positive infestation of mites, both the blue tongue and their enclosure must be effectively treated for eradication of the parasite. Temperatures above 50 C and humidity below 50% will kill mite stages. Mites can be easily drowned, however eggs may survive submersion.

The most effective combination of treatments includes:

• Isolation and treatment of affected reptiles in a simple environment (repeat treatment may be required to break the mite life cycle).

• Cleaning and treatment of environment including all enclosure furnishings and substrates, and the environment outside the enclosure. This can be difficult if you have a bioactive enclosure – all substrates will need to be discarded and replaced.

Prevention is always the best treatment, we have a mite insecticide spray available to assist with the prevention of mites.
 

Respiratory Infection

Like many reptiles, snakes are subject to respiratory infections. These are commonly caused by environments that are too humid causing bacteria blooms.

Should you notice some of the following symptoms, it’s important to book in with your exotic vet to start a course of antibiotics:

– Excess mucus in their mouth
– Nasal discharge
– Lethargy
– Loss of appetite
– Wheezing or ‘gurgling’ sounds
– Swollen throat

As mentioned above, prevention is always the best treatment. Keep their enclosure clean, provide lots of ventilation and ensure to monitor their humidity. Blue Tongue Lizards like humidity around the 50 – 60%.

follow our socials

share with a friend who has reptiles

Monday 
Tuesday 
Wednesday
Thursday 
Friday 
Saturday 
Sunday 

Public Holidays 

8am     –   6pm
8am     –   6pm
8am     –   6pm
8am     –   6pm
8am     –   6pm
9am     –   5pm
9am     –   5pm

10am   –   3pm

Closed Christmas Day and Anzac Day

Nick’s Pet Needs is a Pet Shop and Aquarium located Near Ebbw Vale

1/15 Mining St, Bundamba, QLD

We are across the road from Bunnings Warehouse and two doors down from the Little Critters Vet. 
You can park your car in our dedicated carpark directly in front of the store. 
We are also very close to the Bundamba Railway Station! 

Nick's Pet needs Small Logo

Monday 
Tuesday 
Wednesday
Thursday 
Friday 
Saturday 
Sunday 

Public Holidays 

8     –   6:00 
8     –   6:00 
8     –   6:00 
8     –   6:00 
8     –   6:00 
9    –   5:00 
9    –   5:00

10  –   3:00 

Closed Christmas Day and ANZAC Day

Nick’s Pet Needs is a Pet Shop and Aquarium located Near Ebbw Vale

1/15 Mining St, Bundamba, QLD

We are across the road from Bunnings Warehouse and two doors down from the Little Critters Vet. 
You can park your car in our dedicated carpark directly in front of the store. 
We are also very close to the Bundamba Railway Station! 

Nick's Pet needs Small Logo

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *