Blue Tongue Skink
The Blue-Tongued Skink is named for its long blue tongue that is mainly seen when, in defense, they open their mouth like they are going to bite. They also will puff up their bodies and hiss. To some predators, the blueness of the tongue can signal that the prey may not taste good. Their scales are very smooth, can vary in color from a gray to a dark, mottled brown, and usually have some form of striping pattern. They have large, triangular heads and thick bodies and tail, but very short limbs. These short limbs make them walk in a sort of waddle. They grow to be just over a pound and a little over a foot in length. Skinks have the capabilities of losing their tail and regrowing it.
They are a unique reptile in that they are ovoviviparous. Where most reptiles lay eggs and then the eggs hatch outside the female, blue tongues’ eggs hatch inside the female, so they look like they give live birth like mammals. In the wild, they live about 9 years, but in captivity it can be up to 14. They have become popular pets because of their docile nature. Because Australia does not export their wildlife for the pet trade, all skinks sold currently are captive bred.
Blue Tongue Skinks are found on mainland Australia.
HABITAT -They live in semi-desert, mixed woodlands, and shrubland habitats.
DIET -They are omnivorous, eating insects, plants, and fruits.
FUN FACT -Despite their small size, their jaws are capable of crushing snail shells.
SOCIAL BEHAVIOR -They are very docile to humans, and are best housed alone.
ACTIVITY -They are diurnal, meaning active during the day.
PREDATORS -Large birds of prey, snakes, and feral cats and dogs are known predators.
SIZE -They weigh just over a pound and can grow to be about a foot long.
RELATIVES -Besides the many different blue-tongued skink species, they are also related to the five-lined skinks found in Missouri.
CONSERVATION -They are not evaluated by the IUCN.
Cub Creek Animal Care Information
Housing - Our skinks are housed in the Reptile Room, where the rest of our lizards and snakes are also kept. They live in large heat and UV light-controlled enclosures. Fresh water and plenty of places to hide and explore are provided for them.
Diet - Our lizards are fed on a reptile specific schedule, meaning they are fed Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday. Reptiles have slow metabolisms and do not require to be fed everyday if they are fed adequately. They are given apple, shredded sweet potato, and chopped greens supplemented with a calcium powder in order to give them all the necessary nutrients they need to be healthy. Our skinks are also given high quality dog food on these days as well, as they are omnivorous.
Enrichment - Most of the enrichment we give our lizards comes from handling and socializing them. In the summer, they get held daily and sometimes even brought outside when it is warmer. During the offseason, Animal Interns can be found carrying them around on their shoulders as they work!