- What is the life span of a skink?
With proper care, Northern Blue Tongue skinks can live from 15-20 years, on average. Although, many have reported Northerns living over 30 years.
- How can I tell the sex of my skink?
Unfortunately, Northern Blue Tongue skinks are notoriously hard to sex. Some people can make a guess visually, of course it’s not 100% accurate. We don't like to use this method, because it’s really just a guess and we feel bad if we end up being wrong about the guess we give our customers. Once our skinks reach adulthood, we can either tell by the sperm plugs the males leave, or sometimes they pop out their hemipene when they poop. For females, basically the only way to know for sure is when they are bred or give birth. We have quite a few females that visually look like males and vice versa. Either way, personality wise, the sex doesn’t matter. Both are equally awesome!
- How can I tame my new baby Northern Blue Tongue skink?
Young Northern Blue Tongue skinks are notoriously grumpy. They hiss, puff up and seem aggressive. It takes some time, but don’t give up! Everyday, you need to interact with your new baby (after the initial adjustment time) by talking to them and getting them used to seeing you. We recommend putting a piece of your worn clothing into their enclosure, as it helps them get accustomed to your scent. Start out slowly at first by just putting your hand in their enclosure, without touching them or moving it around. That way they don’t see your hand as a threat. Once they stop hissing and/or puffing up at your hand, you can start trying to get them to trust being held. You can start out with holding them inside of their enclosure. Once they trust you in this way, you can start holding them in your lap. If you want to be able to hold your skink and interact with him or her, you should do this daily. This way they will be accustomed to it and will be very mellow and docile. Keep in mind that young skinks take quite a while sometimes to mellow out, but also remember that the end result of your patience and time will be a mellow, docile adult!
- Can I keep more than one Northern Blue Tongue skink together?
That is a big NO. It is very important to keep Northern Blue Tongue skinks housed separately. They are aggressive and territorial towards other skinks. Any housing together will end up in extreme fighting and/or death. If you want to keep more than one Northern Blue Tongue skink, it is vital to keep them in separate enclosures.
- What do I feed my skink?
We recommend feeding your new baby high quality wet cat food (everyday, about 2 tablespoons). It has a higher protein content which is important for the growth and development of the young skinks. Every other feeding, sprinkle calcium with D3 on the food to help with bone development and prevent MBD. This is especially important if you choose to not use UVB bulbs. Once they are a year old, switch to high quality grain free wet dog food. We feed adults once a week, about 2 to 3 tablespoons. We use multiple brands. In our experience, they only need the canned food which makes sense because skinks and dogs are ominvores with the same dietary needs, so of course a high quality dog food will be a great staple for skinks. It’s not necessary to add vegetables or fruits (fruits should be kept to a minimum, because of the high sugar content and it tends to give the skinks diarrhea) to their food, but sometimes we will add chopped mustard greens or dandelion greens just for some variety. They don’t seem to notice it, but if we don’t chop it small enough they will purposely avoid it, just like a small child, haha. On the rare occasion we give fruit as a treat bananas and grapes are always a huge hit. You can also feed your skink snails. It’s easy to find canned snails sold online and some people have luck finding the canned snails at the pet store. We wouldn’t recommend feeding snails you’ve found in your garden due to the parasites they contain. Also feeding them super worms, crickets or dubia roaches is a wonderful enriching experience for them. Our skinks LOVE super worms and dubia roaches. Sometimes we will give them egg as a treat, you can serve it any way you like, they can have it raw or cooked, avoid using any fats or seasonings when giving them egg. Bottom line is, your skink will really appreciate variety and usually will eat more consistently when given a well balanced and varied diet.
- What type of substrate should I use?
Blue tongue skinks are burrowers, so they require at least 4 inches of substrate. Aspen shavings is most commonly used for Northern Blue Tongue skinks. We usually do a half and half mixture of aspen and cypress mulch. We do not recommend sand or newspaper. Sand is too messy and they ingest too much of it. Newspaper is too dry, so the proper humidity can’t be reached, which will make it hard for your skink to shed properly.
- What size enclosure does a Northern Blue Tongue skink need?
First and foremost, the enclosure should be purchased and ready for your new skink before you purchase him or her. A 40 gallon breeder size is the recommended minimum size, which is about 36in. x 18in. x 18in. We’ve kept our skinks in that size and yes it’s a good size, but we personally feel that a 48in. x 24in. x 24in. is a better size to keep them in, because it gives them more room to explore and easier to get the proper heat gradient. Don’t feel bad if you keep your skink in a 40 gallon breeder size though, because it does provide enough room for them and with proper husbandry, the temperature gradient that they need can be attained.
- What lighting should I use for my Northern Blue Tongue skink?
One reason we love keeping Northern Blue Tongue skinks is they are such hardy lizards and can handle a wide range of conditions. Whether you provide only belly heat with no lighting or provide overhead lighting for heat and UVB, they can be healthy in either condition. With overhead lighting, we recommend a halogen bulb that you can get from any hardware store. We also recommend using a dimmer switch to control the intensity of heat it radiates. It’s great to have a thermostat to control the heat. That way there’s no risk of your skink getting burned. For UVB, we use Reptisun 10 T8 tube lights inside the enclosure. It’s important to follow the manufacturer's instructions on how far the bulb is from your skink. Most Northern Blue Tongue skinks do well with 12-14 hours of daylight. We recommend buying a timer so you don’t have to worry about remembering to turn the lights on or off.
- What are the proper temperatures for my skink?
Simply put, for day time temperatures, the hot side should be around 95 degrees Fahrenheit and the cool side should be around 78 degrees Fahrenheit. It’s important to measure the surface temperature of the basking spot, which you want to be around 115 degrees Fahrenheit. We highly recommend purchasing an infrared temperature gun (found at any hardware store or on Amazon) to properly read the surface temperature. A digital thermometer with a probe is great to use for measuring ambient air temps. We bought ours on Amazon. Nighttime temperature should not go below 60 degrees Fahrenheit. If the temperature in the enclosure is dropping below that, you can use an under tank heat pad (regulated with a thermostat, otherwise it will get too hot and badly burn your skink) and/or a ceramic heat emitter (doesn’t produce any light) to keep the temperature where it should be. We do not recommend using any type of lights at night. We think of it this way, we don’t like to sleep with the lights on. It interrupts my sleeping. We figure it’s the same for them. Let the enclosure cool down at night (don’t use heat if your temperatures are above 60 degrees Fahrenheit). In our experience, our skinks seem more active and healthier when they have the routine nighttime cool down.
- What type of water dish should I provide?
We like to use large water bowls for them, big enough that they can take a dip in it if they want. We often find our skinks dipping their bodies into their water dish. A lot of them use their water dish as a toilet as well, haha, so it’s important to check the water dish every day so if this occurs you can immediately clean it out and provide fresh clean water. We bought our water dishes at the dollar store, they are supposed to be big dog bowls but we’ve found they work well for our skinks, obviously affordable and they are easy to clean also they can’t knock them over, which is a huge plus because blue tongue skinks are notorious for trying to burrow under their water bowls and knocking them over. We use filtered water for our skinks. If you choose to use tap water we recommend using a water conditioner that detoxifies ammonia and nitrates and also removes chloramine and chlorine.
- What kind of hides should I use for my skink?
All reptiles appreciate having a place to hide and feel secure. Our skinks tend to use their substrate as their hiding place and use their hides as play toys, haha. We use plastic tubing from the hardware store that is about 4 inches in diameter. They like to climb on it and roll it around their enclosures, so it’s providing environmental stimulation as well. Pet stores have a great variety of hides. We prefer to buy them elsewhere, because most of the time pet stores are over priced. So we can usually find what we need at the hardware store or the dollar store.
- How much humidity does my skink need?
Northern Blue Tongue skinks do well with humidity ranging from 20% to 50%. We keep our humidity around 40% for our skinks and this seems to be the perfect amount of humidity because we've never had any issues with shedding. With a large water dish in the tank, it’s usually all you need to attain this percentage of humidity.
- How do I change my password?
Login to your account and click "Change Password" under Contact Information on your Account Dashboard. Alternatively, click the "Change Password" checkbox under Account Information.
- How do I change my account settings?
Login to your account and follow the navigation to manage your settings.
- I forgot my password. How do I reset it?
Navigate to the Customer Login page and click "Forgot Your Password?" Then follow the instructions to reset your password.
- What payment methods do you accept?
At this time we accept payment by PayPal only. If you do not have a PayPal account, you can sign up by navigating to https://www.paypal.com/ and clicking "Sign Up"
- Do you offer a guarantee?
Upon ordering, the buyer agrees to the following:
The buyer must be present to receive the package on the first delivery attempt or all guarantees are void. We are not responsible for carrier delays or mishandling resulting in DOA (Dead On Arrival) animals. If the animal(s) is dead or not visibly healthy upon arrival the customer must notify Thomas Skinks of the deceased or unhealthy animal immediately upon receiving the animal(s). The arrival time will be determined by the tracking information FedEx provides online of the delivery. If the first attempt of delivery is missed then all live and visibly health arrival guarantees are null and void. An email with a photo attached of the actual animal must be emailed within one hour of arrival or all guarantees are null and void. We cannot be held responsible for shipping charges incurred for upholding our guarantee; they are the responsibility of you, the buyer. We do not offer credits or refunds on shipping for replacement animals. Any shipment routing changes on the part of the customer will result in voiding our live arrival guarantee.
- How will my skink be packaged?
Please refer to our Shipping page for details on how we package and ship skinks.
- Where do you ship?
We ship to anywhere in the contiguous United States. There are some locations that skinks can't safely be delivered, so they will need to be held for pick up. You will need to pick them up at the FedEx hub nearest you.
- When will my order ship?
With the exception of holidays, we ship Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. Weather is also a factor, as we will not ship skinks anywhere with extreme temperatures. Once temperatures are within range to safely ship, we will do so.
- When will my order arrive?
Depending on which day you placed your order, you will receive your skink on Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday. Your skink will arrive the very next day, usually around 10:30am.
- What should I do if my order hasn't been delivered yet?
You can contact us if you don't receive your order. We will then contact the shipping company to determine what the issue is and come to a resolution.
- May I pick up my skink?
We do not have a retail location, but we can meet you at a pet store local to our location. You must purchase your skink through our shopping cart and select "Local Pickup" during checkout. You will then be contacted for arrangements.