Tiliqua Gigas (Giant Bluetongue Skink)
Age: 20 to 25 years
Origin: Australia and Indonesia
Length: 30 to 60 Centimeters
This skink species, as its name suggests, has a blue tongue. It is one of the largest skink species out there, like many skinks they are characterized by short legs and smooth scales. The body color differs and ranges from brown to gray with a pattern of spots or stripes.
Experience: Novice lizard keeper
Feed adult: 3 times a week
Feed young: Daily
Water bowl: Yes
Water change: Daily
Bluetongue skinks are omnivores and therefore eat both animal and vegetable products. Insects can be offered for the animal products, such as crickets, curly flies and buffalo worms. This diet can possibly be supplemented with mealworms or wax moths. The food should be smaller than the Skink's head.
This species also eats plant foods, such as endive, bok choy, Chinese cabbage, chicory, dandelion (no stem) hibiscus (leaf and flower). You can also occasionally feed some fruit such as grapes, banana, kiwi, apple or strawberry.
Alternate the food, so the Skink gets all the nutrients it needs.
These animals also need extra calcium and vitamins. You can give this by always dusting the food animals with so-called calcium and vitamin preparations for reptiles. Fresh drinking water should always be available.
Water must always be available, you can offer this in a small water bowl, but change the water daily to prevent bacterial accumulations in the water.
It is important to clean the terrarium properly. Therefore remove uneaten food animals every day and remove faeces before feeding the skink again. Replace the bottom material once a month or a few times a year and then immediately clean the rest of the terrarium (including the interior). If you use cleaning products, it is important to rinse everything well after the time. Always wash your hands thoroughly after coming into contact with the animals or the terrarium, as reptiles can transmit salmonella.
The blue-tongued skink can be handled quite easily. This is because they are very tame and can be used to handling with some time. When handling the skink, pick it up by gently sliding your hands under its body. Support the lower body and lift it off the floor. While handling, keep one thumb on its back so that it cannot easily run away. During handling it is recommended to hold it above your lap or above a table. This prevents the skink from falling from too great a height. Finally, it is advisable to wash your hands before and after handling. Here you prevent the skink and yourself from getting sick.
Minimum size stay for 1 skink: 120x50x60
Day temperature: 26-32 degrees Celsius
Night temperature: 18-22 degrees Celsius
Hours of light: 12 hours a day
Humidity Level: 40-60%
Soil cover: Cocopeat, non-fertilized garden soil, beech chips
This skink is a bottom dweller, so a high terrarium with climbing options is not necessary, but this species does grow large and therefore require a lot of ground space. In the terrarium you can place pieces of wood or stones that serve as a shelter or where they can lie on to bask. However, make sure everything is securely placed so the skink can't hurt itself if something falls. In addition, the stay must be divided into a warm and cool side.
The enclosure must offer different temperatures. There should be both warmer and colder areas for the animals to choose from. A UV-b lamp must still be hung. In this way, the animals can build up sufficient calcium in their bodies. Without this relief, they can become very ill. Use light bulbs, low-energy light bulbs or possibly daylight lamps and leave the light on twelve hours a day.
Lifestyle: Day active
The blue-tongued skink is a solitary species, housing several individuals together can cause problems. They are calm animals that quickly get used to being handled.
Points of attention
This is a species that lives solitarily, housing several individuals together is not a good idea. Several males together do not go well and because the sex is almost impossible to determine, it is advised to house them alone.
Cost and Purchase
Legislation: CITES II, to own this skink you need CITES or transfer papers. You should get this with the purchase.
One-off costs: This includes the costs for accommodation, lighting, heating, water bowl and decoration. This can cost a few hundred euros to a few thousand euros in total. The final amount depends on the quality and size of the products.
Fixed costs: Fixed costs include the costs for the feed, which is a few tens of euros per year.
Unexpected costs: Costs are incurred when your Skink happens to fall ill or your equipment breaks down.