Blue-tongued skinks are great pets known for their long lifespan in captivity. That said, blue tongued skink lifespan is often impacted by species and care. So how long do blue tongued skinks live in captivity and what can you do to keep them healthy?
Blue Tongued Skinks have an average lifespan of about 15 to 20 years, although when given healthy conditions and high-quality care, they can live up to 30 years.
Providing them with adequate, spacious housing with appropriate light and heat sources, a varied diet with vitamin supplements, and access to water can keep a Blue Tongued Skink healthy for years.
Read on to learn more in-depth about their lifespan and care.
How Long Do Blue-Tongued Skinks Live In Captivity?
Blue-tongued skinks can have quite a long lifespan. On average, regardless of species, you can expect your blue-tongued skink to live from 15-20 years.
However, there are several factors that can affect this. Let’s take a deeper dive into those.
Blue-Tongued Skink Lifespan: Providing The Right Environment
One of the biggest parts of giving a blue-tongued skink a long, happy lifespan is ensuring that their care is of the utmost quality. Let’s take a look at some of the key factors.
Diet Plays a Huge Role In The Lifespan Of a Blue-Tongued Skink
Blue Tongued Skinks eat everything! Ideally, these omnivorous lizards should be fed meals that are 50% vegetables, 40% protein and 10% fruit. Variety in diet and texture of food is important.
Adult skinks should be fed every 2-3 days, while young skinks should be fed every other day. After each feeding is completed the dish in which it was served should be removed from the enclosure.
Water should also be kept easily accessible in a sturdy, shallow water dish. They aren’t very good at swimming, so it shouldn’t be very deep. A shallow dish filled with water for them to soak in helps with shedding. Make sure they can’t tip it over!
Dietary Supplements Can Help Blue-Tongued Skinks Stay Healthy
Calcium and vitamin supplements, particularly vitamin D3, are important for Blue Tongued Skinks. These supplements can be sprinkled over the skink’s food at intervals:
- For adults, give every 3 meals
- For juveniles, give every other meal
They Need The Proper Enclosure
Blue Tongued Skinks grow fast, and they are quite active. So, the larger the enclosure the better! Even for baby blue-tongued skinks “the minimum recommended enclosure is 4’x2’x2’, or 8 sq. ft. of floor space.”
Enclosures that open from the front are more convenient than those that open on the top. The material the enclosure is made of should be waterproof.
Ideally, Blue Tongued Skinks should be housed individually. Even baby blue tongue skinks can get belligerent when housed together.
A shared enclosure may lead to fighting which could hurt or kill the skinks. So, the lizards should also be separated if they fight or visual barriers should be placed within the enclosure if separation is not possible.
Blue Tongued Skinks burrow so they need 4-6 inches of substrate in their enclosure. Whether your skink needs dry or humid substrates depends on the type of Skink you have, but they’ll all like it loose enough to dig in.
Good substrates for blue-tongued skinks include:
- Cypress mulch
- Aspen shavings
- Cage carpet
You should also keep a “hide box” for them to shed their skin in (keep it nice and humid).
How Lighting Can Affect a Blue-Tongued Skink’s Lifespan
Blue Tongued Skinks are active during the day and need vitamin D to remain healthy. In enclosed environs, a UVB light should be provided, particularly for young Blue Tongued Skinks.
The UVB light helps them create vitamin D, strengthens their immune system, and stimulates the production of endorphins. It may also help to keep the enclosure germ free.
The UVB light should cover about half the enclosure and be on the same side as the heat lamp.
How Temperature Can Affect Thier Lifespan
Blue Tongued Skinks are cold-blooded and need external heat for their bodies to work properly. The enclosure should have a gradient of temperatures inside it so that when the Skink is cold, it can go to the hot spots to warm up and vice versa.
Temperatures should range from around 100F to 80F during the day and no lower than 65F at nighttime. Ideally, heat should be provided from an overhead source so it can imitate the sun.
How Long Does It Take a Blue-Tongued Skink to Reach Adulthood?
Blue Tongued Skink babies are able to look after themselves just four days after birth. They mature sexually within two to three years. By the time they are four years old, they are fully grown adults.
Adult Blue Tongued Skinks average 18-22 inches in length. They have smooth, shiny scales. Their bodies are tough and a bit bigger than those of other lizards. So, they can be handled, even by children with firm grips.
Keeping Your Blue Tongue Skink Healthy
One of the most, if not the most, important factors in your skink’s lifespan is its health. Let’s discuss how to keep them fit and healthy.
To begin with, purchase your Blue Tongued Skink from a reputable source. Buy a skink that looks active. Check to see if the ear canals are open and if the toes are clean and not retaining any shed skin.
Once you have a healthy pet, make sure its habitat is the right size, within which it has adequate exposure to UV rays and temperature control. Feed them a well-balanced diet and provide access to water and vitamin supplements.
Begin safely handling your Blue Tongued Skink, using proper techniques, only after they are feeding regularly. And keep an eye out for symptoms of common illnesses.
Blue Tongue Skink Lifespan: Common Illnesses To Watch Out For
Keep an eye out for some of these symptoms which may alert you to the occurrence of one of these common medical problems faced by Blue Tongued Skinks. A quick diagnosis can allow you to treat your skink quickly to resolve the issue.
Nutritional Secondary Hyperparathyroidism ( NSHP )
This condition is common in baby skinks because their diets may be low in calcium and they may not have exposure to UV rays and be low in vitamin D. If caught early, you can treat this condition to prevent spinal abnormalities.
Dysecdysis ( Retained Shed )
Over time, if a habitat is too dry, shedded skin gets caught in the toes, the tip of the tail and on eyelids of adult skinks. If the skink has a vitamin A deficiency, this too will contribute to the problem.
If the retained skin isn’t removed, it can cut off circulation to these parts of the skink. You can give the skink supplements of vitamin A and soak it in warm shallow baths to loosen the skin so it can be gently removed.
Fighting or a diet with too much soft food will cause infection and inflammation in the mouth and gums of Blue Tongued Skinks. This condition is called Stomatitis. It can result in permanent changes to the shape of the gingiva and the bone around the tooth socket.
To prevent it, give the skink a well-balanced diet that has crunchy elements as well, and house them separately to prevent fighting.
If you observe your skink sneezing, discharging mucous, breathing with its mouth open, or drooling, they may have a respiratory infection. This occurs when the temperature is low and there are poor artificial hibernation practices in play.
Higher temperatures and daily soaks in shallow warm water may help the condition. Antibiotics and anti-inflammatories may also be required.
If your pet skink was wild-caught, it may suffer from a variety of parasites. In this case, proper identification and treatment are necessary. Take him to a veterinarian if you suspect this problem. They can also be exposed to parasites from other pets as well.
Blue Tongue Skinks Live Long Lives In Captivity
Blue Tongued Skinks are popular lizard pets. They do have specific needs, but it is not difficult to provide what they need. They live long healthy lives when they are cared for properly.
Their friendly personalities – and distinctive blue tongues – bring joy to their owners for years on end.
All in all blue-tongued skinks have long lifespans compared to many other pets and are one of my top picks when it comes to pet lizards! For more check out our complete blue-tongued skink care sheet here!