Indonesian Blue Tongue Skink (Tiliqua gigas) - ReptileTalk NET (2022)


Their housing should ideally be an absolute minimum of the space in a 1.2 x 0.6 x 0.6 meters (4 x 2 x 2 feet) vivarium, however the larger the better as these are very active lizards thus an enclosure measuring approximately 1.8 x 0.9 x 0.6 meters(6 x 3 x 2 feet) would provide them with fantastic opportunities. Babies can also be started in the large adult enclosure size, not suffering from any type of agoraphobia, instead being incredibly inquisitive and explorative of their surroundings.
The enclosure material can be any that is able to withstand the simulation of a tropical environment, such as heavily sealed wooden vivaria, glass terraria with limited ventilation to retain humidity, closed top aquaria and finally plastic/acrylic enclosures with adaption for overhead heating and UV equipment fittings. A height of meters 0.6 (2 feet) or even more is great, and can be even higher as they are well known to climb and bask at a medium height on thick branches or other decor when provided the chance to, despite being often listed as semi-fossorial.

Hide box

These should be provided multiple hides along the enclosure, alongside the deep substrate, This allows them the choice to escape view, light and access varying temperatures when required. Thus a good base practice is to at the very least provide a sizeable hide on the heated end, and the cool end. However an enclosure large enough should include many hides, of varying types. These hides should allow the skink to fully escape view, and fit their entire body, this is worth considering when dealing with large specimens.

(Video) Irian Jaya Blue Tongue Skink (Tiliqua sp.) - Ep. 1


Being tropical species, and very often burrowers, their substrate should replicate this. The substrate should allow burrowing for a large animal, and thus be ideally 0.15-0.17meters (0.5-0.55 feet) deep, however it can be much deeper! The ideal substrate types include coir/coco fibre, peat, sterilized top soil, orchid bark and sphagnum moss. Mixes of these substrates work fantastic in attempting to replicate their wild environment. Dry substrates should not be used at all, including paper, aspen, or hay as these would inhibit humidity, natural behaviors and cause ill health such as dysecdysis, and behavioral issues.

Lighting – Heating

These require a large temperature gradient due to the conditions in their tropical ranges, and the size of them in relation to enclosure size. These should also be kept at a slightly lower temperature than their Australian counterparts. Their basking area should be provided via over-head heat from a basking bulb attached to a dimming thermostat or ceramic heat emitter attached to a pulse thermostat and should reach 30-32°C (86-90°F) with a gradient falling to the other side of the enclosure which can be allowed to reach room temperature or as low as 21-26°C (70-78°C) reaching the lowest during night drops.
A common misconception is that Blue Tongued Skinks do not require UV, however this is utter presumption as there is no reason why they are exempt from the same care as other species. Thus UV and a full photoperiod are essential, as supplementation alone is dangerous via the risk of over or under-supplementing of vitamin D3. They can be provided UV ideally either 10-12% and either T8 or T5 however T5 is far more efficient, modern UV equipment being able to fully simulate wild UV index’ when set up correctly. This UV equipment should be fitted the same side as the basking area allowing a UV and photo gradient so the animal can escape it on the opposite side and under décor should it want to.


(Video) Blue Tongue Skink In-Depth Care Guide

They should be provided with constant access to fresh clean water via a bow or large tub of the owner’s choice which is changes daily and when soiled in, which they may often do. This water area can be made large enough to swim in, if space allows, however this is not necessary.


These are tropical reptiles and thus their humidity should replicate that found around tropical Indonesia. Within the enclosure this should range between 60% and 90% humidity, allowing for spikes and falls. The enclosure can be sprayed daily to aid keeping this humidity high.


These skinks can have an incredibly large and varied diet, being omnivorous. Thus their provided diet should simulate this. A good captive system to use (which can be jigged about with slightly increased protein if desired for picky skinks) is 50% vegetables, 40% protein sources and 10% fruit. The fruit should not include citrus items, and can include blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, apple, and banana as well as many others. The vegetables can include a massive range including spring greens, bok choy, beet greens, kale, mustard greens and collard greens, this is easiest offered chopped up finely and added to the fruit and protein sources.
Protein sources can include a massive range of live food invertebrates which can be offered often, items such as frozen thawed mice and day old chicks can be offered but rarely. Whole egg and egg yolk is also a fantastic protein source which can be provided raw, boiled and scrambled (only the egg!). Some people insist that they can be fed a diet of only dog food, however it is illogical to provide an animal with such a varied diet with a single foodstuff which is formulated for an entirely different taxon, thus while this can be provided and is good for enticing the most picky skinks, it should not be provided often.
All meals should be supplemented lightly with calcium without D3 as UV is provided. If UV is not provided for whatever reason then D3 supplementation is required, however this situation is not advised due to the risks of over and under-supplementation and the ethical, biological and behavioral implications of not providing a reptile access to UV. Every other meal can be supplemented with reptile vitamins. A baby skink should be fed a meal of a couple teaspoons daily, moving to every other day at 3 months old, every three days from 6 months old, then allowing a change to a couple tablespoons of food once or split twice per week allowing small live food and fruit additions in between.
Blue tongues are very susceptible to obesity, thus they should be monitored, avoid overfeeding them! They have an extremely low metabolism, once per week can be enough for an adult.

(Video) Blue Tongue Skink (Tiliqua Gigas) BASIC CARE VIDEO


Blue Tongued Skinks can be fantastic animals to handle, especially if captive bred, usually being docile, inquisitive and fun! They will constantly test the air, objects and hands with their tongue, as well as climb about. When handling it is important to not move too quickly when first picking them up, attempt to gain their attention before grabbing them, and approach at their height so as to not cause a defensive reaction from above.
When picking up ensure to always support all four legs, as they will panic and often flail about if they do not feel secure! It is also worth noting that they do have rather sharp claws, and in a panic this can cause quite nasty shallow scratches and draw blood, thus it is worth avoiding allowing children to handle one that is not fully docile. A bite from these is also extremely powerful, and thus painful!


As with general reptile husbandry, these should be spot cleaned daily to every few days, and fully cleaned out monthly to bi-monthly, depending on the condition and size of the enclosure. If kept bioactive, cleaning can be reduced to monthly spot cleaning and no full changes, however this takes a lot of consideration, and is not necessary.


(Video) Merauke vs. Northern Blue Tongue Skinks - Ep. 77

So long as hydration and humidity is appropriate as described above, shedding shouldn’t be an issue. They do not shed in one piece as snakes do, doing so in patches and sections, rubbing against décor. They will shed more often when younger as they will grow quickly. It is a good practice to note when sheds occur, and then check that the shed has fully come off, checking the toes, legs, head and tail for retained shed. Should there be retained shed, up humidity and monitor it for a few days, if it still remains, attempt to use a wet cotton bud to dislodge the scales.

Potential Health Problems

MBD – Metabolic Bone Disease is where the animal’s body either does not have enough calcium or vitamin D3, or both! Calcium is required for healthy bone structure and muscle movement as well as many other uses, D3 is a vitamin that allows the use of calcium within the body. If there isn’t enough of either the body takes calcium from the skeleton causing weaknesses, breakages and malformation. This is often seen in skinks via kinks, dips, growths or abnormal movement.
Severe MBD will cause their jaw to become soft and unusable. This can be treated if not too severe, with advice from an exotics vet! Prevention of this involves ensuring that UV is provided appropriately to allow D3 production and replaced when needed (6-12 months depending on manufacture specification), as well as closely monitoring the calcium/phosphorus ratio within the diet, as both are needed however the calcium should be much higher as phosphorus inhibits calcium uptake.
Ecto and endoparasites – Ectoparasites are external and involve mites and ticks. Mites are often seen in captivity sadly, and are noticeable via small black dots on the skink’s scales, and slightly upturned scales. If discovered the skink should be treated with an appropriate reptile mite treatment. Contact a professional such as a vet or manufacturer of a treatment such as sprays to ensure its safety of use with the animal. Alternatively predatory mites (Hypoapsis miles) can be bought and added to an enclosure which can decimate a mite population. Endoparasites are internal, it is common practice to have your reptiles faecal tested to determine whether treatment is required, in the UK this is commonly done via PALS, the results can be used alongside exotic vet advice to determine treatment.
Respiratory Infections- Should the humidity fall too low, these can get respiratory infections, this is often noticed via wheezing (NOT the usual skink huff!) and bubbling in the throat, mouth, nose and eyes. Should symptoms be noticed seek the advice of an exotics vet immediately, who will determine the severity of the infection. Some prescriptions can involve antibiotic injections, however less severe examples can be solved via nebulizing the animal with a specific veterinary disinfectant such as F10.
Dysecdysis – This is trouble shedding, as noted above it is a good practice to note when sheds occur, and then check that the shed has fully come off, checking the toes, legs, head and tail for retained shed. Should there be retained shed, up humidity and monitor it for a few days, if it still remains, attempt to use a wet cotton bud to dislodge the scales. Should an animal be found with severe shedding issues, then an exotic vet should be seen to determine the next step.


Indonesian Blue Tongue Skink (Tiliqua gigas) - ReptileTalk NET (1)

(Video) What NOT to do with your blue tongue Skink

The information contained in this care sheet reflect the opinions and methods of the mentioned breeder, based on their expertise and long-established experience.


Are Indonesian blue tongue skinks good pets? ›

The blue-tongued skink is a large, diurnal lizard that is docile, quiet, gentle, and easily tamed. Due to being low-maintenance lizards and easy to care for, they are considered to be good pets for both children and beginners.

How big does a Indonesian blue tongue skink get? ›

Blue-tongued skinks are fairly large lizards, reaching 18 to 20 inches in length. They have long, solid bodies, triangular-shaped heads and comparatively small legs. The tail is slightly shorter than the length of the body and tapers to a point.

How much does an Indonesian blue tongue skink cost? ›


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 of an enclosure do you need 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 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.

How often do skinks poop? ›

Most blue tongue skinks poop once a day, but some will poop once 2-3 days. However, sometimes it can be normal if your blue tongue has pooped once a week.

What happens if a skink bites 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.

Are skinks smart? ›

Blue tongue skinks are smart and inquisitive – they are one of the most intelligent pet lizards. What is this? They are omnivores and can eat different types of food, which makes it easier to feed them. Blue tongue skinks are calm and docile and you can definitely tame them.

How often do Indonesian blue tongue skinks eat? ›

Blue tongue skinks don't need to eat much at all, but offer babies (under 3 months old) as much as they can eat, 2-3 times a day, 6 days a week. In general, adult blue tongue skink's portion size should be 1-2 tablespoons of food.

What is the rarest blue tongue skink? ›

Pygmy blue-tongued skinks are the smallest and rarest of the skink species, measuring a mere 4 inches (10 cm) in length at the max. Blotched blue-tongued skinks can grow to a length of 23.5 inches (60 cm). Tanimbar Island skinks are smaller, ranging in size from 15 to 17 inches (38 to 43 cm) in length.

What is the cheapest reptile to own? ›

Probably one of the more popular if not the most popular of all reptile pets, the Leopard Gecko earned its spot on this best reptile pets list for many, many reasons. Essentially, the Leopard Gecko wins points for being affordable, easy to handle, low maintenance reptiles to care for, and amusing.

What is the cheapest lizard to buy? ›

Green Anoles are small, about 5-8 inches long, and have a shorter lifespan of three to six years. They tend to be very inexpensive, costing $10 or less. In summary, this is a great reptile for beginners who want to learn how to care for a lizard but do not want to handle them much.

What is the best bedding for a skink? ›

Substrate. Blue-tongue skinks are burrowers, so they need four to six inches of deep, soft substrate. It needs to retain moisture well, which helps maintain healthy humidity levels. Popular options include coconut husk, cypress mulch, reptile soil or bioactive bedding.

How long does it take for a blue tongue skink to reach full size? ›

Time Span to Full Length

On average, blue tongue skink hatchlings are only about four inches long. Depending on what you feed your blue tongue skink, it can take anywhere from one year to two years for it to reach full maturity.

Do blue tongue skinks like to soak? ›

HUMIDITY Blue tongue skinks require low to moderate humidity. A mossy area and a shallow water dish are adequate, as they are not avid swimmers. Soak the skink in a container of shallow lukewarm water once a week to ensure proper hydration.

Can I bathe my blue tongue skink? ›

Your skink's skin may appear dull when it is about to shed. The skin should then come away easily, ideally over a day or so. If this is not the case, try bathing the skink in tepid water, which can help soften the skin.

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.

How do you know if your blue tongue is happy? ›

A healthy blue tongue skink eats well, has a healthy size, and has normal stools. It also sheds regularly and is in a good shape. There should be no secretion from the eyes, mouth, or nose. A happy blue tongue skink is active and alert, calm when handled, and has normal hiding and basking behavior.

How long can a blue tongue skink go without food? ›

A blue tongue skink can go weeks without eating – blue tongue skinks during brumation can go up to 3 months without food. However, this is not recommended outside brumation – babies will not survive for too long because they don't have as much internal fat storage as adults.

How can you tell if a blue tongue skink is stressed? ›

Apart from the above, the following are potential signs of stress in you reptile:
  1. Persistent food-seeking behaviour.
  2. Refusal to eat/drink.
  3. Hypoactivity or hyperactivity.
  4. Open-mouth breathing or panting.
  5. Flattened body posture.
  6. Head-hiding.
  7. Aggression between tank mates.
  8. Interaction with enclosure walls.

What does skink poop look like? ›

Skink Poop Information

Their poop looks very similar to that of a gecko in size, shape and consistency.

Do skinks carry diseases? ›

Reptiles and amphibians often carry Salmonella bacteria in their digestive tracts. Even healthy reptiles and amphibians can carry the bacteria. People can get sick from Salmonella bacteria through contact with reptiles, amphibians, or their environments, including water from their tanks or aquariums.

How do you pick up a blue tongue lizard? ›

First, you'll need to make sure it is indeed a lizard and not a snake. Then, when picking it up, make it feel as safe as possible. Start by gently holding, then lifting, the lizard from behind its head. Supporting its legs – so it still feels connected to something solid – will help to make it feel more comfortable.

Can blue tongue skinks recognize their owners? ›

I honestly believe that blue-tongued skinks can learn to recognize their owners. Handling is important, and the best way to get to know your pet skink is to hold it often. Let it wander around outside its cage, hand-feed it, lay it on your chest and let it watch TV with you.

Do skinks bond with their owners? ›

The short answer is YES. I had a fire skink briefly. It was a nice display pet but hated to be held.

Do blue tongue skinks love their owners? ›

Our skink really loves them." Blue-tongued skinks are intelligent and friendly, even enjoying limited interaction with humans, making them great as pets.

Can skinks eat bananas? ›

They can also feed on fruit and vegetables, but the vegetables have to be cooked for the skink to be able to eat it. Skinks especially love bananas and strawberries etc. (no citrus fruit).

Can blue tongue lizards eat cucumber? ›

Yes, your blue tongue skink can eat cucumbers, but only small amounts and mainly for a water source (it's poor in nutrients).

How smart are blue-tongue lizards? ›

Australian research finds little lizards learn very quickly. Young Australian eastern blue-tongue lizards (Tiliqua scincoides) are every bit as clever as adults, researchers have found.

How much is a skink worth? ›

Northern blue-tongued skinks range in price from $150 for babies to $250 for adults. High-colored or rarer forms may cost more. Rare blue-tongued skinks such as Centralian and shingle backs may cost between $1,500 and $5,000 each.

Are blue-tongue lizards friendly? ›

Blue-tongue lizards are not poisonous and do not pose any threat to people or their pets. In fact, they can be a very helpful friend to have around the garden as they eat snails and caterpillars and other insects and can help keep the population of these invertebrate garden pests down.

What is the best lizard for a kid? ›

One of the best lizards for kids is the blue-tongued skink. It is just as docile, easy to handle, and low-maintenance as the other lizards on this list. Blue-tongued skinks are not aggressive but because they are larger, if a small child accidentally gets bit, it will hurt.

What is the most social lizard? ›

The most sociable reptile it seems, is a lizard called the Bearded Dragon. Reportedly this friendly lizard makes a very good pet which really likes human interaction and attention.

What lizard looks like a dragon? ›

Draco Lizards (Draco volans) are also known as the flying dragon. This lizard species is small in size, only growing up to 8.4 inches long, but is able to take flight like a dragon. There are around 40 species of Draco lizards. Blue, red, brown, and orange are the colors they appear in.

How often should I feed my blue tongue skink? ›

Blue-tongued skinks are omnivorous reptiles that eat a wide variety of vegetables and animal protein. As juveniles, half of their diet should come from insects, whereas adults should eat proportionately more plant matter. Adult, Blue-tongued skinks can be fed every one to two days, while juveniles can be fed daily.

Do blue tongue skinks need sand? ›

Best Substrates for Blue Tongue Skinks - Ep. 23 - YouTube

How often do skinks eat? ›

Skinks do not need to eat every single day. All foods you offer these reptiles should be fresh and ideally, you should feed your skink every one to two days.

Why is my skink glass surfing? ›

Glass surfing is thought to be a result of stress and a bearded dragon may be stressed for several reasons: An enclosure or tank that's too small for it can stress a bearded dragon out. Another bearded dragon, even if they're not housed together, may be interpreted as competition for a bearded dragon and cause stress.

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.

What fruits can blue tongue skinks eat? ›

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.

Should I mist my blue tongue skink? ›

Northern blues like 25-40% humidity, while more tropical varieties like the Indonesian, Irian Jaya, and others like 40-45% humidity. Misting the enclosure once a day will usually provide enough moisture for your blue tongue, but a nice humidity gauge can help you in this area.

Are blue tongue skinks high maintenance? ›

The blue-tongued skink is a large, diurnal lizard that is docile, quiet, gentle, and easily tamed. Due to being low-maintenance lizards and easy to care for, they are considered to be good pets for both children and beginners.

How long do Indonesian blue tongue skinks live? ›

Lifespan. You can expect your Blue Tongued Skink to live between 15 and 18 years if you are able to maintain the proper habitat. These reptiles are quite hardy and have few health problems as long as you provide plenty of calcium.

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.

Are blue-tongue lizards aggressive? ›

Blue-tongue lizards are slow moving and are not aggressive. They live under rocks or in crevices and come out during the day to sunbake and look for prey. If they are threatened or cornered they open their mouth wide and stick out their tongue to frighten off potential predators.

Can blue-tongue lizards harm dogs? ›

A: A great way to provide blue-tongue lizards with some shelter away from your pets is to place pieces of PVC pipe around your yard for it to crawl into should it feel it's in danger. It is also important to note that blue-tongue lizards are not poisonous and do not post any threat to your cats or dogs.

Do blue-tongue lizards get lonely? ›

Because they are solitary lizards, learning from other blue-tongue lizards, adults or juveniles, is likely rare. This may be why having such good learning abilities at such a young age is so important.

What happens if a skink bites 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.

How do you make a blue tongue lizard happy? ›

Feeding the blue tongue lizard - YouTube

What is the hardest lizard to take care of? ›

The truth is, iguanas are one of the hardest reptiles to keep. They have some pretty specific needs if they are to be raised successfully, and have a long healthy life. Iguanas require extensive care. Here are the things that make iguanas so hard to keep.

What is the smartest lizard? ›


And coming in at the most intelligent reptile on the earth is the Monitor Lizard. Monitor Lizards can grow to be over a metre long and weigh more than 10kg. Monitors belong to a family of carnivorous lizards called the Varanidae.

What kills blue tongue lizards? ›

Blue Tongue Lizard Predators and Threats What Kills Blue Tongue Skinks? The blue-tongued lizard predators include dingoes, kookaburras, snakes, foxes, and dogs. Feral cats are one of its most ferocious predators.

Can I bathe my blue tongue skink? ›

Your skink's skin may appear dull when it is about to shed. The skin should then come away easily, ideally over a day or so. If this is not the case, try bathing the skink in tepid water, which can help soften the skin.

Do blue tongue lizards make a noise? ›

Blue-tongues will make loud hissing sounds and can rear up in anger to chase off threats. Blue-tongues have stumpy legs and cannot rely on quickly running away from predators so scare tactics are its first line of defence. Another tactic it uses is its very powerful bite and habit of not letting go.

Do skinks like water? ›

They love to eat — and not just meat!

They need fresh drinking water available at all times and a vitamin/mineral supplement containing vitamin D3 (offered twice a week to adults and every other day to growing juveniles).

Do blue tongues have teeth? ›

Blue-tongues have strong teeth and jaw muscles to crush their food – they can even crush the shell of a snail. Blue-tongues can be found in virtually all habitats across Australia.

Can blue-tongue lizards eat grapes? ›

Adult skinks should have their salad mix coarsely chopped, while juveniles tend prefer finely chopped greens. Fruit should make up no more than 5% to 10% of the diet. Melons, berries, apple, peaches, pears, grapes and plums may also be chopped and added to the mix as an occasional treat.


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