Blue Tongue Skink Care Guide

Blue Tongue Skink (Tiliqua spp.)

Skill level: Beginner

blue tongue skink care - australia indonesia native habitat


Blue tongue skinks are a genus of diurnal, ground-dwelling lizard found throughout Australia and parts of Indonesia. All Tiliqua species (except the Adelaide pygmy skink, T. adelaidensis, which will not be covered in this guide) can be easily recognized by their triangular heads, heavy torpedo-shaped bodies, short legs, and distinctive blue tongue.

Blue tongue skinks are omnivorous, which means that they eat both plants and animals in the wild. Affectionately referred to as “garbage disposals” by some keepers, they are enthusiastic eaters with a taste for just about anything — insects, slugs/snails, roadkill, small animals, fruits, flowers, etc. However, they do tend to prefer animal matter to plants.

Depending on species, blue tongue skinks generally measure between 15″-24″ (38-61 cm). Average lifespan is 15-20 years, although individuals as old as 30 and potentially beyond are becoming more common as captive care standards improve.

The blue tongue skinks’ characteristic blue tongue is a defense mechanism. Because they are slow and heavy-bodied, their best defense is a good bluff — they will puff up, hiss, and stick out their “poisonous blue” tongues as a warning to potential predators.

Due to extremely strict regulations prohibiting the export of native Australian wildlife, most blue tongue skinks available in the United States are either wild-caught Indonesian or captive-bred Northern Australian (imported before the ban).

blue tongue skink care - example of an australian blue tongue

Blue Tongue Skink Care — Table of Contents

  1. Supplies You Will Need
  2. Tiliqua Species & Subspecies
  3. Terrarium: Size Requirements & Substrate Options
  4. Terrarium: Temperatures & Humidity
  5. Terrarium: Decorating
  6. Feeding Your Skink
  7. Handling Tips
  8. Diseases & General Health Information

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