Help with caring for a blue tongue

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Kristytas

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Hi All!

Just needing some info about caring for a blue tongue:

• Is it hard?
• What is needed? Type of enclosure? light or heater?
• What and when do they eat?
• How often do they need to defecate and where do they do it?
• Do they need sand or bark?
• Where can I get one in Tasmania? Breeder? Wild one?

Any and all information would be much appreciated!

Thanks
Kristy
 

ameliasark

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Hi kristytas, I'm far from an expert on blue tongues - Ive worked with a variety of Tiliqua (including eastern blueys, pink tongues and shingle banks) and own a northern bluey but this is all fairly recent experience so I wouldn't go as far as to call myself an expert. However, seeing as no one has replied to you yet here's my 2 cents.

They're not particularly hard to keep so long as you do your research - being a super common animal in the pet trade there are plenty of threads here about them and endless info on google.

basics include a tank (i use a converted aquarium, I wouldn't keep a skink in anything under 4x2 foot but this varies between keepers), UV lighting, a heater (heat light, tape, mat, etc you have a lot of options but there are other threads on this so I won't go into depth), substrate, at least two hides on either side of the heat gradient. If you live in the same region where the blue tongue species is found naturally you could also opt for an outdoor pit set-up, that way you can skip out on supplemental heating/lighting but they will hide (in brumation) pretty much all through winter and won't be as tame.

They are omnivores and require a decent variety of food - do not just feed dog food or pellets without supplementation. again there are specific threads and google searches for this. As for frequency: every 2 days for an adult (they might stretch this out during winter, significantly so if they go into brumation). Younger lizards should be fed every day.

Skinks defecate often and everywhere, they do not have a specific 'toilet' spot. Bluey poop stinks too so you'll know when you need to get in for a spot clean.

Do not put a blue tongue on sand, they don't have copious amounts of sand in their natural habitat and you run the risk of impaction, also they cannot dig/hide in sand. I always like to look at their natural environment and try to model my tanks off of this - I keep my skink on a mix of coarse and fine critter crumble, he loves the stuff - it holds up his burrows well and I don't have to worry about impaction or infection (sand can sometimes get caught up in the hemipenes of male skinks and cause infection). At work we use mulch. Other options include aspen, cypress mulch and carefresh - try to avoid pine.

I'm from Australia, but a quick google search revealed that you have some pretty interesting laws on reptile keeping in Tassie - usually I would never support taking wild animals from the wild, it's illegal here and many wild specimens carry diseases that can spread to your other reptiles, wild caught animals also often struggle to adapt to captive life - they have not been raised in captivity and as such see us as predators and can become very stressed. However apparently you are not allowed to sell or buy reptiles there, you are however allowed to exchange with other people or collect from the wild (given you have a 'herpetofauna permit'). You are also only allowed to keep reptiles naturally found in Tassie so that rules out eastern and northern blue tongues (as well as pink tongues and shingles) and limits you to blotched blue tongues. So looks like you'll either have to go find one (which again pains me to say as it is pretty off limits to take wild animals in mainland aus) or find someone willing to give you one.
I may have missed something in researching Tasmania herpetoculture (you probably already knew all of this anyway sorry) so here's the government site I got this info from: https://nre.tas.gov.au/wildlife-man...ermit allows the,but free exchange is allowed.

otherwise, just do some specific research, there are plenty of care guides online - just make sure you read multiple from different sources and don't take one persons word as gospel, we all make mistakes and one persons care can vary greatly from another's. There are loads of threads on here about specific aspects of blue tongue care so I'd start there (e.g search up blue tongue diet). My safety net is to always try to replicate the animals natural habitat as closely as possible as they are living there for a reason.

good luck with everything :)

some helpful links:
the bts forum: https://www.bluetongueskinks.org/forum/index.php
a good general care sheet: http://bluetongueskinks.net/care.htm
a thread with similar questions as yours: https://www.aussiepythons.com/threads/blue-tongue-skink-qs.227854/#post-2540764
another thread: https://www.aussiepythons.com/threads/blue-tongues.228582/
I also liked the book: keeping blue tongue lizards by grant turner - its a great simple intro to skink care
 

kankryb

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All good info by ameliasark just wanted to put in that tassie blotched bluetongues are great to keep, my size wooden tanks are 120x60x60 and I don't use UV lights for my blueys. If you go out to get one from the wild, get one as young as possible. Pics are tassie blotched found base of wine plants
 

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Kristytas

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Thanks heaps guys!
I probably should explain why I need the info...we found one a few months ago that hadnt moved for 3 days, was riddled with ticks, looked blind in one eye (eye was really cloudy) and it could only move down one side - so we picked it (I say her) up, got rid of the ticks, gave her a good drink/feed and took her to the vet. According to the vet she had an eye infection thay was due to them losing a scale over the eye and she was paralysed down one side. We got eye cream and she had a multi vitamin injection.
We found an old fish tank, put in reptile sand, some hay and a heat mat and within a couple of weeks her eye had completely healed and she now walks normally, no sign of paralysis!
She is extremely friendly, likes to be held especially when eating and just slowly walks around the grass but never goes far!
 

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ameliasark

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Thanks heaps guys!
I probably should explain why I need the info...we found one a few months ago that hadnt moved for 3 days, was riddled with ticks, looked blind in one eye (eye was really cloudy) and it could only move down one side - so we picked it (I say her) up, got rid of the ticks, gave her a good drink/feed and took her to the vet. According to the vet she had an eye infection thay was due to them losing a scale over the eye and she was paralysed down one side. We got eye cream and she had a multi vitamin injection.
We found an old fish tank, put in reptile sand, some hay and a heat mat and within a couple of weeks her eye had completely healed and she now walks normally, no sign of paralysis!
She is extremely friendly, likes to be held especially when eating and just slowly walks around the grass but never goes far!
that's great! glad you were able to help her out she's beautiful. Safe to say she's definitely yours now lol!
 

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