Blue Tongue Skinks are often kept as pets because of their temperament. They’re generally a more friendly lizard and in my opinion the perfect size. They’re often recommended for beginner and experienced reptile owners alike
Blue Tongue Skinks have a friendly temperament but can be a little shy. They’ve been known to be one of the species of reptile that most enjoys attention, like being scratched on the head or under their chin.
This is one of the reasons Blue Tongue Skinks are often recommended for beginner reptile keepers. There friendly temperament and good size makes them one of the best best lizards to keep.
However, like with all pets, skinks need the proper handling and care to be their best. Any pet can become unfriendly or even aggressive when neglected and not properly cared for.
Are Blue Tongued Skinks Friendly?
Blue Tongue Skinks are so friendly, in fact, that they’re a popular choice for new reptile owners as long as they don’t mind that they’re bigger than some other popular lizards like geckos. They seem to enjoy the attention and being handled more than other species as well.
For many people, however, the blue-tongued skink is the perfect size lizard. They are big enough to easily handle but don’t grow to the enormous sizes of lizards such as the iguana or tegu. A full-grown blue-tongued skink will grow to about 15-30 inches long.
More often, experts will talk about how docile and gentle the Blue Tongue Skink is rather than just friendly. In other words, if you’re looking for a pet that will run up and greet you when you get home after a long day, you might be better off looking for a furrier companion.
Reptiles in general and Skinks in particular as pets can certainly give you as much love and companionship, but they do have more unique needs and were never bred to be social with humans like dogs and cats. They’ll also need more help to adapt to your home environment than other pets.
Are Skinks Affectionate With Their Owners?
You shouldn’t expect any new pet to be immediately cuddly and attached to you. That’s a very rare situation to find yourself in, especially with reptiles. There’s no way to force a pet to like affection, and trying to do so can be harmful to their health.
Whether you’re getting a Blue Tongue Skink for yourself, a family member, or just meeting one that belongs to your friend, it’s important to give them time to adjust to your presence, so it’s unwise to try and handle them right away.
Starting small and gradually increasing how much you interact with a Blue Tongue Skink will give you a much better foundation for a good relationship.
While their dull teeth may not seem dangerous, a bite from a Skink will still hurt and can cause some nasty bruising or worse. Skinks are usually docile, so biting will usually mean they’re scared or startled instead of being an aggressive action.
Maintaining Your Blue Tongued Skinks Temperament
Creating the right habitat for your reptile is critical to their health and wellbeing. Blue-tongued skinks should be kept in an enclosure that mimics their natural habitat, has access to plenty of water and maintains a humidity of about 40-60%.
Blue Tongued Skinks are a species that like to have things to hide in or under, like a den, so setting up their habitats with things like hollow logs or reptile homes may increase their comfort level. It’s a good idea to research and have your habitat set up before getting your pet to make the transition as stress-free for them as possible.
As we’ve previously mentioned, Blue Tongue Skinks are considered one of the friendliest species of lizards and seem to enjoy attention and affection from their human caregivers. It’s important to remember, however, that every animal will have their own individual personality and building relationships take time.
Acclimate your Skink to being handled slowly, starting with short sessions a few times a day and increasing frequency and duration slowly as they grow used to you. Watch them for signs of discomfort and cease handling them immediately if they show signs of distress.
Why Isn’t My Blue Tongue Skink Being Friendly?
Like any other pet you might bring into your home, a blue-tongued skink is going to have its own personality and moods. Learning to understand these moods can go a long way to preventing them or knowing how to fix it when it happens.
That said, I am assuming that proper handling has already taken place and your skink is still not being friendly. There could be some reasons behind there new mood swings.
Shedding Affects the Mood of Reptiles
Shedding is the big one. It’s most often the cause of a cranky skink. Many Blue Tongue Skink owners will see a big change in their lizard’s mood about a week before they start to shed their skin.
This can involve being grumpy, hiding or burrowing more than usual, and eating less than their usual amount. There’s no real solution for this other than to give them space and wait it out.
Lizards, especially captive-bred ones, are used to their homes being at the right climate and temperature, so if their home isn’t set up properly, their mood may drop drastically. If their home is too cold, they may get lethargic or even ill because of their cold-blooded nature, and overheating isn’t good for them either.
Feeding your Blue Tongue Skink the wrong food can certainly put them in a bad mood and can make them sick as well. Ensure they’re getting a variety of foods with all the nutrients they need or use supplements to keep them healthy.
Because they have personality, they also might hate a type of food, so try to avoid giving them what they hate to keep their spirits up.
Skinks generally have the same health concerns as any other reptile you might have as a pet, mainly Vitamin A deficiency, metabolic bone disease, and inability to shed their skin properly. Health issues can affect the temperament and lifespan of the blue tongue skink.
Supplements and proper care can help prevent the first two issues, but if your Skink is having trouble shedding their old skin, they should be taken to their veterinarian. It’s a good idea to make sure a vet who is familiar with or specializes in exotic pets is in your area before getting a skink for a pet.
Is This Friendly Lizard Right For You?
Not only are Blue Tongue Skinks friendly, but they’re also known as one of the friendliest and most affectionate lizards to have for a pet. In my opinion, they are the perfect size lizard to have as a pet. Because of their size and temperament, the blue-tongued skink is one of my top picks for beginners.
They are a great choice for experienced reptile owners as well, especially those who want to challenge themselves with breeding. For more on the blue-tongued skink check out our complete blue-tongued skink care guide here.