Questions about shingleback skinks - first reptile

Andy~

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Hi everyone! Long time lurker, first time poster. I’ve been interested in getting reptiles for a long time and I’m finally in a position to get one. At this point I’m in the research stage and I’m looking into shinglebacks. My hope is to get a pair of “hatchies” (I know they give birth to live young) and keep them together and ultimately have them breed a few years down the line. I don’t know how feasible this is. I know I might be getting a bit ahead of myself thinking about breeding before I’ve even gotten my first reptile. So the first thing I’m looking to find out is whether or not shinglebacks can be sexed at this age.

The second thing I’m trying to find more information is the different subspecies of shinglebacks. From what I understand (courtesy of Wikipedia) there are four subspecies:
  • T. r. rugosa - bobtail or western shingleback – Western Australia
  • T. r. asper - eastern shingleback – eastern Australia
  • T. r. konowi - Rottnest Island bobtail or Rottnest Island shingleback – Rottnest Island, Western Australia
  • T. r. palarra - northern bobtail or Shark Bay shingleback – Shark Bay, Western Australia
However, I am struggling to find any further information about the different subspecies. If I’m going to breed any reptiles I would want to make sure they are the same subspecies and even if I don’t, I want to know what I’m getting so I can understand more about the environment they come from. I am also aware that hatchlings are unlikely to be available until next year. Both general advice and recommendations for breeders who breed specific subspecies or localities are welcome (I’m in south east Queensland if that helps).
 

Friller2009

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Hi everyone! Long time lurker, first time poster. I’ve been interested in getting reptiles for a long time and I’m finally in a position to get one. At this point I’m in the research stage and I’m looking into shinglebacks. My hope is to get a pair of “hatchies” (I know they give birth to live young) and keep them together and ultimately have them breed a few years down the line. I don’t know how feasible this is. I know I might be getting a bit ahead of myself thinking about breeding before I’ve even gotten my first reptile. So the first thing I’m looking to find out is whether or not shinglebacks can be sexed at this age.

The second thing I’m trying to find more information is the different subspecies of shinglebacks. From what I understand (courtesy of Wikipedia) there are four subspecies:
  • T. r. rugosa - bobtail or western shingleback – Western Australia
  • T. r. asper - eastern shingleback – eastern Australia
  • T. r. konowi - Rottnest Island bobtail or Rottnest Island shingleback – Rottnest Island, Western Australia
  • T. r. palarra - northern bobtail or Shark Bay shingleback – Shark Bay, Western Australia
However, I am struggling to find any further information about the different subspecies. If I’m going to breed any reptiles I would want to make sure they are the same subspecies and even if I don’t, I want to know what I’m getting so I can understand more about the environment they come from. I am also aware that hatchlings are unlikely to be available until next year. Both general advice and recommendations for breeders who breed specific subspecies or localities are welcome (I’m in south east Queensland if that helps).
Most of the subspecies other than the eastern are going to be rarer and more expensive.
The most common would be just your average black eastern shingleback.
Hope this helps,
 

Andy~

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Most of the subspecies other than the eastern are going to be rarer and more expensive.
The most common would be just your average black eastern shingleback.
Hope this helps,
Thanks Friller, I'm familiar with the Goldfields Shingleback - very beautiful and expensive lizards. They aren't really in the price range for what I'd like to spend for my first reptile. I'm gonna take a guess that they are T. r. rugosa. Beyond the Goldfields I don't see much other differentiation online in sales listings, people don't seem to specify what subspecies they are selling.
 

Sam.fairall1

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Hi everyone! Long time lurker, first time poster. I’ve been interested in getting reptiles for a long time and I’m finally in a position to get one. At this point I’m in the research stage and I’m looking into shinglebacks. My hope is to get a pair of “hatchies” (I know they give birth to live young) and keep them together and ultimately have them breed a few years down the line. I don’t know how feasible this is. I know I might be getting a bit ahead of myself thinking about breeding before I’ve even gotten my first reptile. So the first thing I’m looking to find out is whether or not shinglebacks can be sexed at this age.

The second thing I’m trying to find more information is the different subspecies of shinglebacks. From what I understand (courtesy of Wikipedia) there are four subspecies:
  • T. r. rugosa - bobtail or western shingleback – Western Australia
  • T. r. asper - eastern shingleback – eastern Australia
  • T. r. konowi - Rottnest Island bobtail or Rottnest Island shingleback – Rottnest Island, Western Australia
  • T. r. palarra - northern bobtail or Shark Bay shingleback – Shark Bay, Western Australia
However, I am struggling to find any further information about the different subspecies. If I’m going to breed any reptiles I would want to make sure they are the same subspecies and even if I don’t, I want to know what I’m getting so I can understand more about the environment they come from. I am also aware that hatchlings are unlikely to be available until next year. Both general advice and recommendations for breeders who breed specific subspecies or localities are welcome (I’m in south east Queensland if that helps).
I’m not 100% sure but I think the flashlight trick might work on determining the sex(though this may be easier or harder depending on the colour of the baby)
 

Sdaji

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The vast majority of them in the hobby are just the common one, mostly originating from SA, NSW and VIC. There are few if any of the Rottnest Island form in captivity (not surprising since they're from an island etc), I haven't heard of any Shark Bay ones (not surprising since Shark Bay is a pretty remote area) and the western ones (rugosa rugosa) are certainly around but highly sought after and expensive.

As far as I know, they're not the easiest things to sex as juveniles, but adults are relatively easy to sex visually.

Something worth considering is that in a climate like you have in most of South East QLD you are likely to have respiratory issues in Stumpies. They are very sensitive to high humidity. If you're going to keep them in your area, you'll need to be very careful about enclosure design, especially during summer.

They're not the easiest lizards to breed and are quite particular about mate choice, so you may or may not have success there, but hey, no harm in having a go :) They're born very large and only have litters of 1-3, usually 2.
 

hamishh34

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The vast majority of them in the hobby are just the common one, mostly originating from SA, NSW and VIC. There are few if any of the Rottnest Island form in captivity (not surprising since they're from an island etc), I haven't heard of any Shark Bay ones (not surprising since Shark Bay is a pretty remote area) and the western ones (rugosa rugosa) are certainly around but highly sought after and expensive.

As far as I know, they're not the easiest things to sex as juveniles, but adults are relatively easy to sex visually.

Something worth considering is that in a climate like you have in most of South East QLD you are likely to have respiratory issues in Stumpies. They are very sensitive to high humidity. If you're going to keep them in your area, you'll need to be very careful about enclosure design, especially during summer.

They're not the easiest lizards to breed and are quite particular about mate choice, so you may or may not have success there, but hey, no harm in having a go :) They're born very large and only have litters of 1-3, usually 2.
I was speaking to a well known Shingleback breeder that said the Rottnest were around 8k a pair if I was interested (I certainly wasn't after hearing that ?). They said there are a few around. No figure but I truly can't imagine there being many (as per reason stated above), but quality ones are rarely sold.
 

Sdaji

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I was speaking to a well known Shingleback breeder that said the Rottnest were around 8k a pair if I was interested (I certainly wasn't after hearing that ?). They said there are a few around. No figure but I truly can't imagine there being many (as per reason stated above), but quality ones are rarely sold.
They're worth whatever people want to pay, but there are plenty of reptiles I'd personally prefer for a lot less than $8k!
 

Andy~

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Thanks Sdaji, Sam, and Hamish for weighing in, I appreciate your input. It sounds like realistically I'm looking at getting eastern shinglebacks - I'm certainly not going to be forking over thousands of dollars for my first reptile! (Though I won't make any commitments for down the line ??). In terms of breeding, for me it's more about seeing that part of their natural behaviours. Particularly for reptiles shinglebacks seem to have interesting reproductive habits though I won't be devastated to not have success with breeding.

Sdaji, I am aware of the low humidity requirements of this species and would certainly not keep them outside in pits in my area as I might be able to with some of the other blue tongue species (though I know Australia Zoo has their shinglebacks in an outdoor pit). My intention is to keep a pair in an indoor enclosure that is to be 180cm long x 80cm deep x 60cm high. I intend to build my own enclosure so all things are possible at this stage. I know they can be kept in smaller enclosures but being that I would be cohabitating animals I figured that bigger would be better in this situation. Other than choosing appropriate substrate I haven't seen a whole lot about reducing humidity in enclosures. There is certainly much said on the topic of increasing humidity though that is hardly relevant at the moment. I would imagine that maintaining low humidity in an enclosure would have to do with managing ventilation and airflow. That would include having vents in the enclosure and perhaps using computer fans to improve circulation. I'd appreciate any further guidance you can provide on this topic.
 

Sdaji

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Thanks Sdaji, Sam, and Hamish for weighing in, I appreciate your input. It sounds like realistically I'm looking at getting eastern shinglebacks - I'm certainly not going to be forking over thousands of dollars for my first reptile! (Though I won't make any commitments for down the line ??). In terms of breeding, for me it's more about seeing that part of their natural behaviours. Particularly for reptiles shinglebacks seem to have interesting reproductive habits though I won't be devastated to not have success with breeding.

Sdaji, I am aware of the low humidity requirements of this species and would certainly not keep them outside in pits in my area as I might be able to with some of the other blue tongue species (though I know Australia Zoo has their shinglebacks in an outdoor pit). My intention is to keep a pair in an indoor enclosure that is to be 180cm long x 80cm deep x 60cm high. I intend to build my own enclosure so all things are possible at this stage. I know they can be kept in smaller enclosures but being that I would be cohabitating animals I figured that bigger would be better in this situation. Other than choosing appropriate substrate I haven't seen a whole lot about reducing humidity in enclosures. There is certainly much said on the topic of increasing humidity though that is hardly relevant at the moment. I would imagine that maintaining low humidity in an enclosure would have to do with managing ventilation and airflow. That would include having vents in the enclosure and perhaps using computer fans to improve circulation. I'd appreciate any further guidance you can provide on this topic.

The easiest way is to provide floor heat with a lot of top ventilation, and of course not adding moisture to the enclosure. You'll want a basking lamp too, and with such a long enclosure you'll be able to provide their requirements without turning the entire enclosure into an oven. Simply having a whole lot of ventilation and air flow is just going to bring the humidity to the same level as the room, and that's probably going to be too high, so you need to be thinking about actively drying it out rather than just avoiding it from becoming more humid than the room humidity. It's not just about adequate ventilation with more being better; too much is actually a bad thing in this case. I wouldn't be using fans, because it's unnecessary and it'll blow more humid air into an enclosure you want to be less humid than the room. More ventilation and air flow basically keeps your enclosure closer to the humidity of the room, which is fine for some species but would be too low for others and too high for something like these critters.

These things do come from extreme environments where basking temperatures of 70-80 degrees celcius (yes, burn your skin if it's exposed to the ground type stuff) are not unusual for a lot of the year, but they don't tend to use them (unlike things like the monitors they share their habitat with). Somewhere like western NSW or especially in southern SA you'll often see literally hundreds of them running around all day every day around October-November, but if you go back to the same place in late January it can be difficult to find even one, and if you do find one it'll probably be hiding under a dense bush or active just coming up to sunset.
 

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