How Big Do Blue Tongue Skinks Get? (Every Species) – Reptile Craze (2022)

How Big Do Blue Tongue Skinks Get? (Every Species) – Reptile Craze (1)

Blue Tongue Skinks are one of the biggest pet lizards available. Their impressive size makes them an exciting pet, but one that needs more space and more…well…everything! It’s important to be prepared for how large your skink could grow before you commit to caring for it for 20+ years. So, just how big can Blue Tongue Skinks get?

The Common Australian Blue Tongue Skink (Tiliqua scincoides) grows 23.6 inches in length from snout to tail. There are many species of Blue Tongue Skinks, but not all are kept as pets. They range between 7 inches and 29.9 inches in length.

Let’s delve deeper into the types of Blue Tongue Skinks that exist, which ones are kept as pets, and, most importantly, how big they can get!

Table of Contents

How Big Your Blue Tongue Skink Can Get Depends On The Species

There are many different species and subspecies of Blue Tongue Skinks, found in Australia and Indonesia.

The ones that are most commonly kept as pets are the Common and Blotched species from Australia, and the Giant Blue Tongue Skinks from Indonesia. You can spot these in bold in the diagram below.

The Australian Shingleback species are short, stocky, and heavy. They are also called bobtail lizards because their tail is so short. This makes their snout-to-vent length very similar to their overall length.

On the other hand, the Indonesian gigas species are generally the largest, but they have extremely long tails in comparison to their shorter body size.

Because there are so many species and subspecies spread across 2 regions, including some that are hybrids, it can be super confusing to identify your skink type. Check out the handy guide below to understand Blue Tongue Skink species.

Australian Blue Tongue Skink Species and Subspecies

  1. Common Blue Tongue Skink (Tiliqua scincoides)
    1. Eastern Blue Tongue Skink (Tiliqua scincoides scincoides)
    2. Northern Blue Tongue Skink (Tiliqua scincoides intermedia)
  2. Centralian Blue Tongue Skink (Tiliqua multifasciata)
  3. Western Blue Tongue Skink (Tiliqua occipitalis)
  4. Blotched Blue Tongue Skink (Tiliqua nigrolutea)
  5. Pygmy Blue Tongue Skink (Tiliqua adelaidensis)
  6. Shingleback Blue Tongue Skink (Tiliqua rugosa)
    1. Western Shingleback (Tiliqua rugosa rugosa)
    2. Rottnest Island Shingleback (Tiliqua rugosa konowi)
    3. Eastern Shingleback (Tiliqua rugosa aspera)
    4. Shark Bay Shingleback (Tiliqua rugosa palarra)

Indonesian Blue Tongue Skink Species and Subspecies

  1. Indonesian Giant Blue Tongue Skink (Tiliqua gigas)
    1. Classic Indonesian / Halmahera Blue Tongue Skink (Tiliqua gigas gigas)
    2. Kei Island Blue Tongue Skink (Tiliqua gigas keyensis)
    3. Merauke Blue Tongue Skink (Tiliqua gigas evanescens)
  2. Common Blue Tongue Skink (Tiliqua scincoides)
    1. Tanimbar Blue Tongue Skink (Tiliqua scincoides chimaera)
  3. Hybrid species = Irian Jaya Blue Tongue Skink (Tiliqua sp.)

The Irian Jaya is actually a hybrid between Indonesian gigas and Eastern scincoides Blue Tongue Skinks.

(Video) Types Of Blue Tongue Skinks (Subspecies)

How Big Does Each Type Of Blue Tongue Skink Get?

Working out how large your Blue Tongue Skink could get is really hard work. Partly, this is because there are so many different average ranges published online.

Also, for skink species that aren’t kept as often as pets, it’s almost impossible to find their measurements or weight!

Below, I’ve compiled a handy table of the maximum sizes that are frequently reported for each species.

Australian Skink Species Biggest Sizes

Skink SpeciesSkink SubspeciesMax’ Length Snout to TailMax’ Length Snout to VentMax’ Weight
Common Blue Tongue Skink (Tiliqua scincoides)Eastern Blue Tongue Skink (Tiliqua scincoides scincoides)60cm / 23.6in32cm / 12.5in600g / 21.1oz
Common Blue Tongue Skink (Tiliqua scincoides)Northern Blue Tongue Skink (Tiliqua scincoides intermedia)61cm / 24in40cm / 15.7in600g / 21.1oz
Centralian Blue Tongue Skink (Tiliqua multifasciata)n/a45cm / 17.7in29cm / 11.4510g / 17.9oz
Western Blue Tongue Skink (Tiliqua occipitalis)n/a50cm / 19.6in27cm / 10.6in510g / 17.9oz
Blotched Blue Tongue Skink (Tiliqua nigrolutea)n/a50cm / 19.6in29cm / 11.4in450g / 15.8oz
Pygmy Blue Tongue Skink (Tiliqua adelaidensis)n/a19cm / 7.4in10cm / 3.93inunknown
Shingleback Blue Tongue Skink (Tiliqua rugosa)Western Shingleback (Tiliqua rugosa rugosa)45cm / 17.7in41cm / 16.1in900g / 31.7oz
Shingleback Blue Tongue Skink (Tiliqua rugosa)Rottnest Island Shingleback (Tiliqua rugosa konowi)45cm / 17.7in41cm / 16.1in900g / 31.7oz
Shingleback Blue Tongue Skink (Tiliqua rugosa)Eastern Shingleback (Tiliqua rugosa aspera)45cm / 17.7in41cm / 16.1in900g / 31.7oz
Shingleback Blue Tongue Skink (Tiliqua rugosa)Shark Bay Shingleback (Tiliqua rugosa palarra)45cm / 17.7in41cm / 16.1in900g / 31.7oz

Indonesian Skink Species Biggest Sizes

Skink SpeciesSkink SubspeciesMax’ Length Snout to TailMax’ Length Snout to VentMax’ Weight
Indonesian Giant Blue Tongue Skink (Tiliqua gigas)Classic Indonesian / Halmahera Blue Tongue Skink (Tiliqua gigas gigas)50cm / 19.6in30cm / 11.8in700g / 24.6oz
Indonesian Giant Blue Tongue Skink (Tiliqua gigas)Kei Island Blue Tongue Skink (Tiliqua gigas keyensis)50cm / 19.6in30cm / 11.8in700g / 24.6oz
Indonesian Giant Blue Tongue Skink (Tiliqua gigas)Merauke Blue Tongue Skink (Tiliqua gigas evanescens)76cm / 29.9inunknown1000g / 35.2oz
Common Blue Tongue Skink (Tiliqua scincoides)Tanimbar Blue Tongue Skink (Tiliqua scincoides chimaera)43cm / 16.9inunknownunknown
Hybrid of other Tiliqua speciesIrian Jaya Blue Tongue Skink (Tiliqua sp.)60cm / 23.6inunknownunknown

Are Male or Female Blue Tongue Skinks Bigger?

Generally, male and female Blue Tongue Skinks are pretty similar in size and appearance. Though it does differ a little between the species, there is not a lot of sexual dimorphism in Blue Tongue Skinks.

For all the Blue Tongue Skink species, female skinks tend to be a little bit longer in the body. Look at the distance between the shoulders of the front legs and hind legs to notice this elongation.

On the other hand, despite being shorter, males are usually heavier. They have a chunkier, stouter build. They also tend to have broader, wider heads. Be aware, however, that this is a generalization and not a reliable way to tell the gender of your pet skink.

How Big Do Blue Tongue Skinks Get? (Every Species) – Reptile Craze (2)

How Big Are Baby Blue Tongue Skinks?

It differs from species to species. However, of the commonly kept pet species, the Eastern Blue Tongue Skink (Tiliqua scincoides scincoides) has the largest litters and smallest babies. They are just 13-14cm at the time of birth and weigh 10-20g.

How Long Do Blue Tongue Skinks Grow For?

Blue Tongue Skinks grow very quickly in the first year of their life. They may reach full length by 12-18 months old. However, they are likely to continue to change their appearance after this time, as they fill out and change shape.

Depending on their feeding regime, they may grow faster or slower. Skinks that are fed less frequently may continue growing more slowly until 2-3 years of age.

What Affects The Growth Of Blue Tongue Skinks?

Diet and Nutrition

Nutrition is the most important factor influencing how a Blue Tongue Skink grows. Skinks under the age of 2 years old need a diet made up of 70-80% protein.

Until the skink is full-grown, you need to feed them 50-60% protein. This means that more than half of their diet should be crickets, worms, snails, pinky mice, and possibly even some dog food.

It’s also a great idea to provide your Blue Tongue Skink with a calcium carbonate supplement to help with healthy bone development.

(Video) 10 BIZARRE Blue Tongued Lizard Facts

Metabolic Bone Disease

Metabolic Bone Disease is a very common health issue for reptiles, which causes weak bones. If it is left untreated, it will cause stunted growth and other problems.

A key way to prevent MBD is to provide calcium supplementation and also to ensure that your skink is able to absorb the calcium. Many fruits, such as banana and pineapple, are high in phosphorus, which can block calcium uptake.

Feed your skink a varied diet, and select fruits that are low in phosphorus but high in vitamin D3, to allow the best absorption of calcium.

Access to UV light is also important to prevent MBD. UV light causes the body to make vitamin D3, which is essential to using calcium to build strong bones.

Prevention is always better than a cure. However, if you suspect your Blue Tongue Skink has MBD, it will need to see a herpetological vet.

How Big Do Blue Tongue Skinks Get? (Every Species) – Reptile Craze (3)

Infection and Parasite Burden

Other illnesses also have the potential to stunt the growth of your Blue Tongue Skink, though less directly than Metabolic Bone Disease. Your skink needs to be healthy and strong in order to grow to its full potential.

You can avoid illnesses by feeding a proper varied diet and maintaining a healthy environment for your skink. Be careful not to introduce infections and bacteria, by keeping the environment clean and sanitized.

Never feed wild-caught live food to your skink, which could carry parasites or disease.

Can A Small Tank Stunt The Growth Of Blue Tongue Skinks?

Fortunately, it is a total myth that living in an enclosure that is too small will limit the size of your Blue Tongue Skink. No matter how big the vivarium, your skink will grow to its full size.

However, Blue Tongue Skinks are curious and active animals. To prevent boredom it’s a good idea to invest in as big a tank as possible in the beginning.

What Size Vivarium Does A Blue Tongue Skink Need?

Blue Tongue Skinks grow very, very fast. Because of this, be prepared to purchase two vivariums for your skink within the first year of owning your pet.

Alternatively, you can just purchase an adult-sized vivarium for your baby skink. However, if you do this it is very important to provide a lot of shelter and hiding places to prevent stress.

(Video) Killer Blue Tongue Skink! (Collection Spotlight)

Skinks cannot climb well and are unlikely to make a bid for freedom over the wall of their enclosure. A good tank for a skink has lower sides, plenty of floor space, and is waterproof.

Materials like glass and PVC are great, as you can keep humidity high and fully sanitize them during cleaning. Choose a front-opening tank to trap moisture and allow easy access.

What Size Tank To Keep A Baby Blue Tongue Skink In

You can keep your baby Blue Tongue Skink in a smaller tank for the first three or four months. The smaller size will provide security while the skink settles in and grows.

A tank that has a floor space of around 60cm by 45cm (24 by 18 inches) is great for a baby Blue Tongue Skink. Remember to provide shelter and hiding places to help the baby skink feel safe.

What Size Tank To Keep An Adult Blue Tongue Skink In

The general rule of thumb is that the tank for a Blue Tongue Skink should be no less than 40 gallons. However, what’s more important than volume is floor space! Look for a tank that is at least 90cm by 46cm (45 by 18 inches).

Remember though that depending on what type of Blue Tongue Skink you have, they could end up being 76cm in length.

The minimum requirements wouldn’t even give a Merauke skink room to turn around! To provide a quality home for your adult skink, it’s best to buy the biggest possible tank.

Do Blue Tongue Skinks Grow Bigger In Captivity or The Wild?

Unless improper care is given that might stunt the growth of your Blue Tongue Skink, they will grow the same in captivity as they do in the wild.

As a highly undomesticated pet, their biology is no different under human care from that of wild skinks.

Many Blue Tongue Skinks are unfortunately still collected from the wild. This is especially true for the desirable Indonesian giant species’ such as the Merauke.

Of course, this is a bad and often illegal practice. Some Blue Tongue Skink species are threatened in the wild and should not be removed from their ecosystems. Always seek to purchase a captive-bred pet.

How Big Do Blue Tongue Skinks Get? (Every Species) – Reptile Craze (4)

What Size Blue Tongue Skink Is Best?

We all know it’s not the size that matters! While skinks are an attractive lizard in part because they are large, they’re also docile, calm, and inquisitive.

(Video) On Hybrid Skinks (Again) - Ep. 92

It might seem like a great idea to try to get the biggest of the bunch, the Indonesian Merauke, but in actual fact, the Common Northern Blue Tongue Skink is probably a better choice.

The Northern Blue Tongue is known to be friendly and easy to care for. They grow impressively large, but won’t need quite as big a home or as much food as a Merauke.

Importantly, they are also much more readily available as ethically-sourced, captive-bred pets.

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Hey! My name is Pierre, and I am the owner of this website. Since I was a child, I have had an enormous interest in reptiles. I have kept chameleons, bearded dragons, leopard geckos, and many other reptiles. A team of pet enthusiasts and I created this website to help other reptile keepers take care of their pets!

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FAQs

How big will my blue tongue skink get? ›

Centralian blue-tongued skinks grow between 15.5 and 17.5 inches (40 to 45 cm) in length. Merauke blue-tongued skinks frequently reach lengths of 25 to 30 inches (63.5 – 76 cm). Kei Island and Indonesian blue-tongued skinks grow to around 19.75 inches in length (50 cm).

How big is the biggest blue tongue skink? ›

The Blotched Blue-tongue is dark chocolate brown to black with large pink, cream or yellow blotches on the back, and a tail banded in the same colours. The Eastern Blue-tongue can grow to almost 600 mm in total length, of which about 360 mm is head and body.

How big is a full grown blue tongue lizard? ›

Blue-tongues can grow up to 60 cm in length. They have silvery grey to brown smooth scales, with distinct dark stripes running across their body and tail.

Do blue tongue skinks grow fast? ›

There is no parental care, and the young skinks are on their own soon after birth. The young grow very quickly and can reach adult size in less than one year.

Do blue tongue skink bites hurt? ›

Due to their size and the crushing power of their jaws, yes, it does hurt when Blue Tongue Skinks bite. Their jaws aren't designed to slice and tear, so they rarely break the skin much with a bite. However, they are designed to crush up food items such as snail shells, so they're very strong!

How smart is a blue tongue skink? ›

Young Australian eastern blue-tongue lizards are every bit as clever as adults, researchers have found. Life is hard for baby blue-tongues. Young Australian eastern blue-tongue lizards (Tiliqua scincoides) are every bit as clever as adults, researchers have found.

What kills blue-tongue lizards? ›

The blue-tongued lizard predators include dingoes, kookaburras, snakes, foxes, and dogs. Feral cats are one of its most ferocious predators. While most humans usually leave these harmless animals alone, sometimes humans too cause lizard deaths by accidentally running over them with lawnmowers and cars.

What drug causes blue tongue? ›

Blue tongues have been observed in individuals treated with haloperidol or dopamine antagonists. The tongue of a patient receiving large doses of haloperidol (a butyrophenone agent) was observed to be blue [16].

Are blue tongues poisonous? ›

Blue-tongues are not venomous but they try to look intimidating by opening their mouth and acting aggressively. They can bite but their teeth are used more for crushing than tearing, so they might bruise you but will rarely break the skin. Blue-tongues have a home range.

Why is my skink glass surfing? ›

Snakes glass surf for various reasons. It may be because they're unfamiliar with their glass enclosure and are trying to explore. It can also be a sign of husbandry issues, such as being too warm, hungry, or stressed.

Can you cut blue tongue skinks nails? ›

How To #9 - Clipping Blue Tongue Skinks Nails - YouTube

Can blue tongue skink eat cat food? ›

Feeding Cat/Dog Food To Your Blue Tongued Skink

Cat food is higher in protein than dog food, and feeding too much protein in their diet can lead to gout, so it is best to stick with dog food generally. Cat food can be offered to young skinks, but once they are adults, you should only give them dog food.

How fast can a skink run? ›

Skink Lizard Behavior

Most are slow-moving reptiles unless they feel threatened. Then, they can run at speeds up to 65 miles per hour.

Can Blue Tongue Skinks swim? ›

A: Blue tongue skinks are not strong swimmers, and are not meant to swim. Water does not hurt them however, and there is nothing wrong with placing them in shallow water. It's actually a humorous sight! They attempt to swim by straightening their legs to their bodies, and wiggling their tail.

How much does a blue tongue skink cost? ›

$150–$5,000

Since Blue Tongue Skinks aren't the most popular pet, you might have to go to a breeder anyways. This is especially true if you want a rare morph. For example, some of the cheaper Blue Tongue Skinks can cost as little as $150. However, rarer Skinks can cost up to $5,000.

Why is my blue tongue skink hissing? ›

They hiss when they feel agitated or threatened so if you approach your skink and they do this, you should not attempt to handle it but let it calm down and try again in a while, or they could bite you and this will cause bonding and trust issues.

Do skinks make noise? ›

While blue tongue skinks are generally quiet lizards, they can make some noises or sounds. Sounds are often used for communication and expression. In this post, you will find different blue tongue skink noises, such as whistling, squeaking, grunting, hissing, wheezing, clicking, and they meanings.

Can blue tongue lizards eat strawberries? ›

Field research has shown fruit is a large part of a Blue-tongued skink's natural diet. But it is mostly that of the berry variety. Therefore keeping to the berry theme is ideal, with blueberries, blackberries, raspberries and strawberries being great options for this part of the diet.

What are baby blue tongues called? ›

The blue-tongue is really a skink

They belong to the skink family, Scincidae, which means shiny scaled. Australia has more species of skinks than of all other lizards put together.

Do blue tongue skinks have a third eye? ›

A fascinating feature of the Blue-Tongue Lizard is that it has a third eye. This can be found on the central scale diamond between the eyes. This third eye helps the Blue-Tongue figure out if it is night and day by letting light go straight into their brain!

Do blue-tongue lizards give birth? ›

Eastern blue-tongue lizards are considered an extreme case of a precocial animal. They give birth to live young and juveniles immediately disperse.

Can a blue tongue skink live in a 40 gallon tank? ›

Blue-Tongue Skink Caging

Blue-tongue skinks live happily in a rack system or glass terrarium. A 40-gallon breeder tank is best for mature blue-tongue skinks, while babies should be housed in a 10 to 20-gallon terrarium.

What is a good size tank for a blue tongue skink? ›

Terrarium Size

Blue tongue skinks are relatively large lizards that grow quickly, so the minimum recommended enclosure size even for a baby is going to be 4'x2'x2', or 8 sq ft of floor space. Blue tongue skinks are quite active, so if you can afford/fit a larger enclosure, it's strongly advised to do so.

Do blue tongue skinks like to be held? ›

They're generally happy to be handled.

Blue tongues tend to be gentle, intelligent, inquisitive, easily tamed lizards that often like to be handled. Many even enjoy being petted or having their heads scratched. Children should be supervised when handling them, as the reptiles can become startled and jump.

How big of a tank does an adult blue tongue skink need? ›

An adult blue-tongued skink requires, at minimum, an enclosure measuring 36 inches long by 18 inches wide by 10 inches tall, with a full screen top. Larger is even better. Remember, blue-tongued skinks are terrestrial and prefer floor space over climbing area.

Do blue tongue skinks smell? ›

Blue tongue skinks should not smell generally, but any leftover food can do. Make sure to throw away any uneaten food daily, or it will smell. Poop will mostly smell when fresh, but as it dries, smell will faint. Make sure to remove poop once you see it.

How hot should blue tongue skink be? ›

Ideal temperatures for blue tongued skinks range from 75-80°F on the cool side and 80-85°F on the warm side. Provide a basking area on the warm side around 90-95°F. Blue tongued skinks also require UVB lighting to thrive and be healthy.

How much does a blue tongue skink cost? ›

$150–$5,000

Since Blue Tongue Skinks aren't the most popular pet, you might have to go to a breeder anyways. This is especially true if you want a rare morph. For example, some of the cheaper Blue Tongue Skinks can cost as little as $150. However, rarer Skinks can cost up to $5,000.

How big is a 40 gal tank? ›

A 40 gallon fish tank is about the size of a refrigerator. It measures 36 inches by 18 inches by 24 inches and has a front door with an access panel for feeding your pets and cleaning out dirty water.

Can blue tongue skinks swim? ›

A: Blue tongue skinks are not strong swimmers, and are not meant to swim. Water does not hurt them however, and there is nothing wrong with placing them in shallow water. It's actually a humorous sight! They attempt to swim by straightening their legs to their bodies, and wiggling their tail.

Why is my skink hissing? ›

They hiss when they feel agitated or threatened so if you approach your skink and they do this, you should not attempt to handle it but let it calm down and try again in a while, or they could bite you and this will cause bonding and trust issues.

Can skinks hurt you? ›

Skinks bites are mild and pain-free, so they are not dangerous to humans. Despite their slight skin resemblance to snakes, skinks are not poisonous or venomous. Their bites are also mild and minor. Therefore, they do not pose any danger to humans.

Do skinks make noise? ›

While blue tongue skinks are generally quiet lizards, they can make some noises or sounds. Sounds are often used for communication and expression. In this post, you will find different blue tongue skink noises, such as whistling, squeaking, grunting, hissing, wheezing, clicking, and they meanings.

Do blue tongue lizards bite? ›

Blue-tongues are not venomous but they try to look intimidating by opening their mouth and acting aggressively. They can bite but their teeth are used more for crushing than tearing, so they might bruise you but will rarely break the skin.

Do skinks need a heat lamp? ›

Blue tongue skinks generally do not need any kind of lighting or heating during the night. Some people prefer red or black bulbs for providing nighttime heat, but it's actually healthier for skinks to experience a nightly temperature drop.

Can blue tongue skink eat cat food? ›

Feeding Cat/Dog Food To Your Blue Tongued Skink

Cat food is higher in protein than dog food, and feeding too much protein in their diet can lead to gout, so it is best to stick with dog food generally. Cat food can be offered to young skinks, but once they are adults, you should only give them dog food.

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