Blue Tongue Skink Care Guide

Blue Tongue Skink (Tiliqua spp.)

Difficulty: Easy Intermediate

Published: April 22, 2017

Last Updated: July 15, 2021

blue tongue skink distribution map

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 35 and potentially beyond are becoming more common as captive care standards improve.

Fun Facts:

  • Most subspecies of blue tongue skink have a blue or bluish tongue. This unique color reflects UVA light, which blue tongue skinks can see, but humans can’t!
  • The blue tongue skink’s tongue is widely speculated to be a defense mechanism used to ward off predators. But more recent research suggests that it may be primarily used for blue tongue skinks to communicate with each other.
  • 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
  4. Terrarium: Temperatures & Humidity
  5. Terrarium: Substrate
  6. Terrarium: Decorating
  7. Feeding Your Skink
  8. Handling Tips
  9. Diseases & General Health Information
  10. Additional Resources


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