What Do Blue Tongue Skinks Eat?
Blue-tongue skinks eat mainly fruit, greens, and insects. Occasionally they will eat some poultry and fish, but these are considered more of a treat than their regular diet.
In this article, you’ll learn everything you need to know about what blue tongue skinks like to eat, how often you should be feeding it, and some of the reasons why your blue tongue skink might not be eating. So lets get started on answering the question, what do blue tongue skinks eat?
What Does a Blue Tongue Skink Eat In The Wild?
Blue-tongue skinks are omnivores meaning they eat plants, such as flowers and fruits, and various smaller animals, such as insects, snails, slugs, termites and grasshoppers. While they are plant eaters, they tend to prefer insects.
The specifics of their diet depends on the species and what part of the world they are in since this will influence what food sources are available to them. They are predominantly scavengers, so what they eat is determined by what seasonal flowers they find, whether animal remains to provide meat, and what kinds of native berries and seeds are in the area.
What Are The Best Foods For a Blue Tongue Skink To Eat?
Plants blue tongue skinks eat
A blue tongue skink will enjoy a wide variety of plants, such as dandelions, hibiscus, rose, bramble leaf, dead nettle, mallow, hawkbit, hawks-beard and sticky weed.
It might be good to install an app or other program that allows you to check what kinds of plants are in your area. It can be easy to pick plants while out for a walk that will be an excellent addition to your blue tongue skink’s diet but be mindful that you understand what you’re bringing home.
Note that some flowers, such as buttercups and tulips, are considered toxic.
Fruit blue tongue skinks eat
Most fruit blue tongue skinks eat berries, such as blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, and strawberries. Introducing more variety into this diet can occasionally happen with fruits such as banana, apple, pear or melon.
Reptiles, in general, do not eat citrus as it can cause stomach problems and blue tongue skinks are no exception. You will not see them eating things such as lemons or oranges.
Stay away from avocado and eggplant, as these are considered toxic to blue tongue skinks.
Insects blue tongue skinks eat
Blue tongue skinks eat various cricket species, calcium worms, locusts, silkworms, earthworms, roach species and snails.
Keep in mind this diversity when feeding a skink in captivity as it is essential to their overall health that you replicate their natural diet.
Meat blue tongue skinks eat
As blue tongue skinks are scavengers in the wild, it is not uncommon for them to eat other forms of protein besides insects, such as chicken, turkey, duck, beef, fish, and eggs. Keep in mind that these aren’t the primary source of protein in their diet, and you should stick mainly to insects when choosing your feed.
When eating actual pieces of meat, such as chicken, turkey, or duck, you should cook them as there is a chance of contamination. Turkey or chicken hearts and livers should also be cooked and can be a very nutritious treat for a blue tongue skink to enjoy.
Eggs can be eaten raw, boiled, or scrambled. You may want to stick with the latter instead of raw as this will cause less mess.
Fish should be bone-free and cut into small pieces.
Do Blue Tongue Skinks Eat Vegetables?
Blue tongue skinks eat vegetables, but they can be rather picky about which ones they eat and may avoid them altogether if included in their feeding.
Some vegetables to try are squash, green beans, prickly pear and mulberry leaf in their regular feeding as this can introduce some nice dietary variety. You may also want to occasionally include broccoli, brussel sprouts, bell pepper, carrots, cauliflower, parsnips, sweet potato, pumpkin and turnip.
Find yourself with a picky eater when it comes to vegetables. You can try mixing the vegetables into a bowl of other food items, cutting the vegetables into smaller pieces, and hiding them among the different foods.
Do not include onion, rhubarb, or potatoes, as these are considered toxic to blue tongue skinks.
How Often Does a Blue Tongue Skink Eat?
How often you should expect your blue tongue skink to eat will depend on how old they are. Ensure that before you make any changes to your blue tongue skink’s diet, you talk to a vet to make sure they stay healthy.
0 to 6 months
You should feed a younger blue-tongued skink daily for about one to two minutes. This meal should consist of primary insects with some greens mixed in. Make sure that the portion is mainly insects.
6 to 12 months
You can now feed your blue-tongued skink every other day with a mixture of insects, plants and vegetables.
12 months ; older
A blue-tongued skink of this age can be fed three times per week, again with a mixture of insects, plants, and vegetables.
Why Isn’t My Blue Tongue Skink Eating?
Keep in mind the number of times a blue-tongue skink should be eating per week mentions in the previous section. It isn’t uncommon for those 12 months old or older to go without eating for 1-2 weeks at a time. Skipping a meal may be just what your blue-tongue skink needs, if it’s past 12 months old, to be good and hungry the next feeding time.
If lack of eating results in weight loss, anything from 7-10% weight loss, or lethargy, these are signs that something may be wrong, and you should consider the following possibilities. It can be handy to keep a diary of what your blue-tongue skink has eaten and its weight.
Most of the time, the reason a blue tongue skink isn’t eating has something to do with the temperature of its enclosure. It should be anywhere from 75-80°F on the cool side and 80-85°F on the warm side.
The wrong temperature for their basking area can also affect their eating habits. Makes sure that it is somewhere around 90-95°F.
To learn more about the proper living conditions for the blue-tongued skink, check out this article from Zilla-Rules in association with the Madison Area Herpetological Society.
Type B ultraviolet (UVB)
Make sure that the UVB doesn’t need to be replaced and placed properly. Most tubes have a lifespan of 4 to 6 months, but some brands, such as Arcadia and ZooMed, can last up to 12 months.
It could be that your blue-tongued skink is ill due to a parasite. Reptiles are known to have internal parasites, for example, pinworms, and in small numbers, they aren’t harmful. Stress can cause these numbers to multiply and make it difficult for the reptile to keep parasite numbers low, causing issues.
If you think this might be the reason your blue-tongued skink isn’t eating, contact your vet, and they will perform the needed tests.
Medication might proscribed, in which case keep in mind that sometimes blue-tongued skinks can lose their appetite while on medication, so don’t be alarmed if they do not start regularly eating until they stop taking medication. In some cases, it might even take some time after they are done with their medication before their eating habits are back to normal.
Never be afraid to talk to a vet if you notice a change in your reptile’s behaviour, and make sure to speak to a vet before using anything like a probiotic to stimulate hunger.
Very often, a blue-tongued skink will refuse to eat while they are shedding their skin. If it is healthy, this will only be temporary, and it will go back to its regular eating habits once done shedding.
Since blue-tongued skinks are cold-blooded creatures, the winter months will naturally trigger a state of inactivity and sluggishness. In a natural environment, this would be a time when their food sources would be limited, so it’s natural for them to lose some of their appetite. Brumation happens even within a temperature-controlled enclosure.
Brumation can last up to three months. Keep an eye on younger blue-tongue skinks as they have less internal fat storage and will not be able to go as long without eating as an adult.
If you find that your blue-tongue skink has wrinkles on its skin or slimy saliva, then it may be dehydration that is causing them to eat less. You can check this by pitching their skin, and if it doesn’t bounce back into place right away, they are dehydrated.
In mild cases, you can try offering watery vegetables such as cucumbers and celery or providing a big bowl of water in their enclosure as this will allow them to take a quick soak if they need to. If your blue-tongue skink does not respond to these, then take it to the vet immediately.
How To Get a Blue Tongue Skink To Eat?
One of the best ways to get your blue-tongued skink to eat is to bond with it. When they are new to their environment, they can become stressed and scared. It can take up to two weeks to acclimate to their new surroundings and you as their new owner.
Another great way to encourage them to eat is to add variety into what they are eating—just like you, eating the same things all the time can cause your blue-tongue skink to grow bored with their food. Make sure you’re changing up what kinds of plants, fruit, and insects you are offering.
Blue tongue skink supplements?
You may want to consider using a calcium carbonate supplement added into the diet of an adult blue-tongue skinks 2-3 times a week. It is essential to avoid supplements with Vitamin D in them as this can be toxic.
If you are concerned with vitamin intake, consider adding a separate vitamin supplement 1-2 times a week.
You can also consider including cat or dog food into their diet as this will help increase the amount of protein in it. However, it may also add more fat than your blue-tongue skink needs.
Knowing what your blue-tongue skink is able and willing to eat will help make feeding time go more smoothly. Adding more variety into its diet and knowing when and how much to feed will ensure that your reptile friend is happy and healthy.
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