Guest Author - Diana Geiger
Skinks are small lizards. Like most reptiles climate control is very important. The Blue Tongue Skink is a popular pet skink. One well-liked breed of the Blue Tongue Skink is the Northern blue-tongued skink. They are omnivores meaning they eat meat and plant matter.
The skink is a docile lizard, in my opinion, comparable to a bearded dragon. If you hold and handle them from a young age they even enjoy cuddles.
Stinks that are in captivity can live to an average of 15 years. Keep your Skink happy, healthy and in a healthy and clean environment. This is important to reach optimum their lifespan. They can grow up to 20 inches.
Make sure you acquire your skink from a reputable breeder. Make sure they have bright clear eyes and are healthy.
Part of keeping your skink healthy is climate control and the need for vitamin supplements and calcium supplements. You must provide UVB lighting. In addition, reptiles can't regulate their own body heat, they need an outside source to warm themselves. In nature they would bask in the sun to keep warm. The enclosure should range in temperature from one side to the other from 75-85 F (24-29 C) gradually increasing to the basking side of the enclosure which should be around 95 F (35 C). You can accomplish this with an under tank heater and a basking light. Keep the UVB and basking light on around 10 to 12 hours a day. Don't let nighttime temperatures fall under 70 F.
Calcium and UVB lighting is essential to keep your skink from getting metabolic bone disease. Basking in the sun not only provides them warmth but also with UVB rays. They will bask in the sun for many hours a day. You must provide these same rays with UVB lighting bought where you would buy other reptile supplies. The UVB helps metabolize calcium. In a home environment you will need to provide a calcium supplement. Sprinkle the supplement on their food. Also provide a vitamin supplement especially for lizards.
Provide plenty of filtered fresh water in a shallow dish for drinking. They do bathe in their dish where they will defecate. Make sure the bowl is cleaned often and the water changed.
Their diet should be a combination of plant matter and meat a ratio of 60 percent plant and 40 percent meat. A high quality, high protein, low fat dog food is acceptable supplementing with insects and mice. The size of mice will range from pinkie to larger mice depending on how big your skink is. Feed plant matter in the form of fruit and vegetables.
Provide a good size enclosure, at least a 55 gallon tank. Provide a safe substrate like a cypress mulch or aspen bark. They will need a couple of hiding spots. One item you could use as a hide is a PVC pipe size of course larger than the skink. You could also use a large piece of bark or a flat rock that have been carefully propped so it doesn't fall and injure the skink. Keep in mind they may dig under these props so make certain nothing can fall. Keep most of the bottom of the enclosure wide open they enjoy scampering about. Though the skink doesn't climb you will have to provide a secure lid.
Keep track of the humidly level using a hygrometer. Most variety of skunks need a humidly level of 30-40 percent. Use a reptile enclosure thermometer to keep track of temperature. Don't attach it to the glass walls of the enclosure. The glass will inhabit a proper temperature reading. Skinks shed often make sure to mist your skink to aid in shedding. If you don't it can lead to serious problems.
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