How big do blue tongue skinks get? In this article, we are going to answer just that. More specifically, we will learn about their size from juvenile to adult, required enclosure size, and what their size means for pet ownership. Read on to learn more.
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How Big Do Blue Tongue Skinks Get?
Blue tongue skinks are the largest type of blue tongue lizard. The exact length of a blue tongue skink will depend on its type, sex, and independent factors. On average, these skinks grow to be between 18 inches and 24 inches long. So, you should expect your blue tongue skink to grow to be about 2 feet in length.
Time Span to Full Length
Of course, blue tongue skinks aren’t born that long. On average, blue tongue skink hatchlings are only about four inches long. Depending on what you feed your blue tongue skink, it can take anywhere from one year to two years for it to reach full maturity. Feeding your blue tongue skink a diet of necessary nutrients and vitamins will help it reach full maturity faster.
Males vs Females
As with many other animals, the sex of your blue tongue skink can affect its appearance and size. In fact, sexing blue tongue skinks typically involves inspecting the lizard’s body for basic signs of the sex, such as patterning, size, and more.
As for the differences in their size, females surprisingly tend to be longer than males. So, you should expect your female blue tongue skink to be closer to the 24-inch mark than the 18-inch mark. At the same time, the males tend to look slimmer but weigh more.
Does a Blue Tongue Skinks Tank Size Have Any Effect On How Big It Grows?
It is a complete myth that reptiles only grow to be as large as their enclosure. What this means is that your blue tongue skink will grow to its full size, even if you house it in an enclosure too small for its body.
It’s absolutely imperative to house your blue tongue skink in a correctly sized enclosure. Not only will it feel more comfortable on the skink’s body, but it will create a healthier environment for your pet.
What Is The Biggest a Blue Tongue Skink Could Get?
The biggest blue tongue skink species is the Merauke Blue Tongue Skink. These skinks often reach lengths between 25 and 30 inches. However, it is unlikely that you will have this sort of blue tongue skink as a pet because they are expensive and difficult to find.
If you happen to get this species, make sure its enclosure is adequately sized since it is larger than most other blue tongue skinks.
The most common type of blue tongue skink to be kept as a pet is the Northern Blue Tongue Skink. These skinks will typically only grow to be 24 or 25 inches in length, making them the second-largest skink type. Of course, these skinks can be smaller, but with proper nutrients and care, they will be on the heavier side of the spectrum.
What Foods Help a Blue Tongue Skink To Grow?
It’s important to feed your blue tongue skink an appropriate diet so that it gets all of the nutrients it needs to grow and survive healthily. In the wild, blue tongue skinks are omnivores, which means they eat a variety of vegetables and animal protein. You want to replicate this sort of diet for your pet blue skink as well.
What to Feed Juveniles
Whenever your blue tongue skink is a juvenile, you want half of its diet to come from insects and the other half to come from vegetables. Providing the juvenile with 50% protein ensures that it gets the nutrients it needs to grow full size.
Make sure to feed your juvenile blue tongue skink a variety of animal proteins. This includes crickets, king worms, snails, mealworms, and pinky mice. Keep in mind that waxworms should only be fed as a treat because they are high in fat. You can feed small quantities of low-fat cat or dog food to the juveniles.
You can also provide a commercial lizard diet as a sort of supplement to further ensure your juvenile gets enough protein and vitamins to sustain proper and full growth.
What to Feed Adults
Once your blue tongue skink reaches full growth, you will want to pull back on the protein offered. Instead, about 45% to 60% of the skink’s diet should be fresh and human-grade produce. For example, primarily feed the adult dark leafy greens, peas, green beans, squash, zucchini, and green peppers.
Another 5% to 10% of the adult diet should come from fruit. Berries, apples, melons, pears, and grapes can be fed as the occasional treats. It’s important to chop up the fruit finely and not to overfeed fruit since these foods are so high in sugar.
For the remainder of the adult blue tongue skinks diet, feed protein. Select any animal or insect protein listed above under the juvenile’s diet. It’s not as important to have a variety for adults, but some variety is always appreciated both for the skink’s appetite and health.
Whether your blue tongue skink is a juvenile or adult, you want to provide it the right vitamins and minerals. Select a calcium carbonate supplement that is free of phosphorus or vitamin D. It’s also a great idea to select a reptile multivitamin.
You can even use the protein source as a way to get extra vitamins. Offer gut-loaded insects, which are basically insects that are fed a lot of calcium. This ensures that your blue tongue skink gets the high amount of calcium it needs. Even if you do feed gut-loaded insects, a calcium supplement is still a great choice.
Reptiles, including blue tongue skinks, don’t need as much water as us, but they still need constant access to freshwater. Place a shallow but large water bowl inside the skink’s enclosure. You may see the skink bathing inside this bowl from time to time. As a result, make sure to clean the water out frequently so that it is constantly fresh and healthy.
How Big Is a Baby Blue Tongue Skink?
Whenever blue tongue skinks are first born, they are only about four inches long. This often surprises people and causes them to buy too small of an enclosure for the adult blue tongue skink. Blue tongue skinks will grow very quickly, allowing them to go from 4 inches long to 24 inches long in a matter of a year or so.
What Size Enclosure Should a Blue Tongue Skink Be Housed In?
Because blue tongue skinks are such large lizards, it’s important to provide them a very large enclosure. At the minimum, an adult blue tongue skink should live in a 55-gallon vivarium. That being said, if you can afford a larger enclosure, that is even better.
Make sure that the enclosure you select is at least 55 gallons in size. It should also be well ventilated, able to retain heat, and have a sturdy structure. It’s important that the top be made of mesh. At the same time, it has to be sturdy enough so that it can hold the various heating and lighting elements your blue tongue skink needs.
Once you have the proper sized enclosure for your blue dung skink, you need to set it up properly as well. Begin by placing some sort of cage substrate at the bottom.
You can use butcher paper, reptile carpeting, or newspaper for an inexpensive and readily available option. You could also use reptile bark or some type of nonaromatic mulch. However, these options are very absorbent, and you will need to change them out frequently.
Make sure not to use gravel, corn cob, or sand. Blue tongue skinks may ingest these materials, which will cause gastrointestinal blockage. Don’t use moss or alfalfa pellets either because they can grow mold, fungus, and other bacteria.
Enclosure Decorations and Hides
In addition to the substrate, you want to place furniture inside the enclosure. Most importantly, place a hiding area on both heating ends of the enclosure. It’s also a good idea to provide cylindrical hiding areas, such as those made from cardboard mailing tubes or PVC pipes.
You do not need to add any type of climbing items since blue tongue lizards aren’t natural climbers. If you want, you can place natural plant life inside the vivarium, but you will need to get a larger enclosure if you want to do this. Ponytail palms, jade plants, and snake plants are great choices.
You might be wondering if you should have more than one blue tongue skink inside the enclosure at a time. Simply put: only put one blue tongue skink inside an enclosure. These animals can be very aggressive to one another. If you want more than one blue tongue skink, you will need an entirely different vivarium.
Do Blue Tongue Skinks Get Too Big To Own As a Pet?
Based on size alone, blue tongue skinks can be a bit more difficult to own as a pet than other reptiles, but they are completely suitable as pets. As long as you have enough room for a 55-gallon vivarium, the blue tongue skink will fit in happy and healthy in your home.
However, if you do not have the area for this size vivarium, the blue tongue skink is too large to own as a pet.
Other Considerations to Keep in Mind
Remember that there are other features you need to consider before determining if a blue tongue skink is right for you. For example, you may have enough space for a blue tongue skink, but you may not have the funds to provide it the proper diet. Think about your time commitment, financial abilities, and space when determining if a blue tongue skink is a suitable pet for you to own.
In short, blue tongue skinks are a pretty big-sized lizard. Most pet blue tongue skinks can grow to be up to 24 inches long. They need a 55-gallon vivarium at the minimum. These reptiles will keep growing even if the enclosure you provide is too small. So, make sure the enclosure is large enough for an adult blue tongue skink to ensure it grows happily and healthily.
If you have the ability to provide this large lizard the vivarium and diet requirements it needs, a blue tongue skink can be a very fun, rewarding, and big pet to welcome into your home.
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