Blue tongue skinks are omnivorous, meaning that they need to eat both plant and animal matter to get the right nutrition. In this section we’ll discuss options for protein, vegetables, and fruit that are safe to feed your pet.
Just like humans, skinks’ nutritional needs change as they grow. And since they’re omnivorous, the key to success with skinks is feeding them as large a variety of foods as possible. But here’s a general guideline, with 1-2 Tbsp. as a serving size (about the same size as their head).
- Feed babies (up to 3 months) daily.
- Feed juveniles (3-8 months) 3 times weekly.
- Feed adults (8+ months) 1-2 times weekly.
Young skinks (under 2 years) need 70-80% of their diet as protein. Adults should get roughly 50-60%. When young BTS don’t get enough protein in their diet, their scales can become deformed — known as “pyramiding.” When adults get too much protein, they can become overweight and their kidneys can even start to shut down (although the latter is only in extreme cases, and obesity is much more common).
Insects can be fed live or from a can, but letting a skink hunt is good for exercise and mental stimulation (enrichment).
- Dubia roaches,
- Black soldier fly larvae
- Canned slugs
- Canned snails
- Do not feed: Lightning bugs, scorpions, wild caught bugs
Note: All feeder insects should be gutloaded for at least 24 hours before feeding. Ideally, they should come pre-gutloaded from the breeder. If they weren’t, or you buy your feeder insects in bulk, the easiest way to keep them fed and gut-loaded is with Repashy Veggie Burger or Grassland Grazer powder. Note that if you give your insects a dry gutload, they will need a source of water. Gel water crystals work perfectly for this purpose.
- Eggs (raw, boiled, or scrambled)
- Ground turkey, chicken, duck, rabbit, lean beef, venison, lamb, etc.
- Organ meats: heart, liver, gizzard, etc.
- Live or frozen/thawed pinky rats and fuzzy mice (treat only)
- Whole fish, small or in bite-size chunks (treat only)
Vegetables should comprise 20-30% of a young skink’s diet, and 40-50% for adults.
- Acorn/butternut squash, bell pepper, parsnip
- Greens: Turnip greens, collard greens, dandelion greens, grape leaves, mulberry leaves, cilantro, mustard greens, carrot greens, escarole
- Flowers: Dandelion, rose, hibiscus
- Do not feed: Avocado, onion, eggplant, sage, rosemary, buttercup flowers, azalea flowers/leaves, daffodil flowers, lily of the valley, marijuana or hemp leaves, tulips, spinach, corn, cauliflower, broccoli, lettuce of any kind
Bookmark Beautiful Dragons’ Nutrition chart for reference next time you’re at the grocery store.
Fruits may comprise no more than 10% of a skink’s diet.
- Blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, strawberries
- Peaches, cherries, pears, apples, bananas, nectarines
- Do not feed: Citrus, rhubarb, seeds, pits
Information about other fruits can be found in the abovementioned nutrition chart.
Canned Cat/Dog Food
Most blue tongue skink keepers swear by cat and dog food, and many skinks enjoy eating it. It makes a good diet when mixed with vegetables. Make sure to use canned food rather than kibble, and avoid formulas containing grain, artificial colors/flavors, or fish.
Cat food is best for juvenile skinks because of its high protein content, but when your skink reaches ~1 year old, it’s time to switch to dog food. Dog food contains more vegetables and is less likely to cause obesity. Personally, I still find the protein/vegetable ratio in dog food to be a little too high for my taste, so I add mix-ins of fresh vegetables, fruits, Repashy powders, etc. This provides a variety of flavor and nutrition for my skinks, while still adhering to the right nutrient ratios.
If you’ve never made skink chow before, I recommend using Arctic Exotics’ recipe. She’s been keeping and breeding skinks for 6 years on it with great success.
Recommended dog and cat food brands include: Halo, Zignature, Whole Earth Farms, Evolution Naturally, Nature’s Variety, Instinct, and Merrick. The key is to choose a food that has a (relatively) short ingredient list, animal meal/byproduct and is GRAIN FREE. If you have a question about the safety of a certain brand/formula, check DogFoodAdvisor.com.
Not sold on dog food? I wasn’t either, at first. In fact, I used to have a recipe posted on here for homemade blue tongue skink chow. However, listen to Reptile Mountain explain how it works:
If you’re looking for a more reptile-specific prepared food, Repashy’s Grub Pie, Meat Pie, Veggie Burger, and fruit powders make great mix-ins to add to dog food for variety. They even have a blue tongue skink-specific formula: Bluey Buffet.
Arcadia’s Omni Gold blue tongue skink diet is also really good if you can get your hands on it, and Herpavet Lizard Food by Vetafarm is popular in Australia.
Note: Powdered and ready-made reptile diets already have the correct calcium to phosphorous ratio, meaning that you do not have to add calcium powder to these formulas. Most also contain vitamin D3, but it’s worth checking the ingredients label just in case.
The best water to use for your blue tongue skink is tap water (assuming that the water in your area is safe for humans). Not distilled, softened, or even filtered. Here’s why.
A large water bowl no more than 3” deep should be provided — 9″ x 13″ baking dishes work great. Aside from being a source of hydration, this also helps maintain humidity and provides a place to soak while in shed.
Water should be changed every 2-3 days, or whenever it gets dirty. And since skinks have the endearing habit of also using their water bowl as a toilet, be sure to disinfect it weekly with a solution of hot water and bleach or vinegar. Rinse thoroughly.
Keep your skink’s bones nice and strong with a pinch of calcium powder: 1x/week for adults, 2x/week for anything younger. If you’re not using UVB lighting, be sure to use a supplement that includes vitamin D3.
Our favorite calcium supplements for blue tongue skinks are:
- Rep-Cal with Vitamin D3
- Rep-Cal without Vitamin D3
- Repashy SuperCal HyD
- Repashy SuperCal NoD
- Miner-ALL Indoor
- Miner-ALL Outdoor
If you’re feeding your bluey the right ratio of nutritious foods, a multivitamin shouldn’t be necessary. That being said, using one doesn’t hurt! Add one pinch to food every 1-2 weeks.
Our favorite multivitamins for blue tongue skinks are: