Blue tongued skinks are in my opinion the perfect-sized lizard to keep as a pet. They are big enough for holding but are not so big that they can inflict much harm. Before you go out there and pick one up, you should know just how big a blue-tongued skink gets. Blue-tongued skink size does vary from species to species.
Blue tongued skinks are medium-sized lizards that range between 15 and 30 inches long or around one to two feet. A blue tongued skink’s weight is typically between 10 and 20 ounces or .5 pounds to 1.5 pounds.
How big the blue-tongued skink gets can vary, and numerous factors can come into play. Read on to find out just what factors will determine the size of your blue-tongued skink.
Blue-Tongued Skink Size Depends On The Species
The Genus Tiliqua, or blue-tongued skink, is the most popular pet amongst the skink species. Their habitat ranges from desert to forest, preferring warmer climates.
These docile reptiles average a foot long and do very well in captivity. While they average a foot long, the length can vary depending on the species.
So, a western blue-tongued skink, not usually kept as a pet, will be much larger than the pygmy variety.
Or the Tanimbar Island blue-tongued skink will be much smaller than the Merauke species. There are about ten types of blue-tongued skinks in the world. The large variety of blue-tongued skinks means there is a large gap in sizes, a 15-inch length gap between the shortest and the longest species to be precise.
While we do not have much information on the weights, we do know that the Northern blue-tongued skink from New Guinea and the northern and eastern regions of Australia is the heaviest blue-tongued skink.
Blue-Tongued Skink Size By Species
There is also a considerable size difference between males and females, with males consistently being the larger of the two. This list is in order from the longest to the shortest.
- Merauke blue-tongued skink Native to Indonesia and New Guinea are 25-30 inches in length.
- Northern blue-tongued skink Native to Northern and Eastern Australia is 24 inches long and is the heaviest species.
- Blotched blue-tongued skink Native to Australia is 23.5 inches from nose to tail.
- Kei Island and the Indonesian blue-tongued skink Is an Indonesian sub-species and is 19.75 inches long.
- Western blue-tongued skink From Australia comes in at 19.5 inches from end to end.
- Eastern blue-tongued skink Another Australian sub-species is 19 inches in length.
- Centralian blue-tongued skink Hails from new south wales, Australia, and is between 15.5 to 17.5 inches long.
- Tanimbar Island blue-tongued skink This one is an Indonesian sub-species skink coming around 15 to 17 inches in length.
- Pygmy blue-tongued skink From Australia is the smallest sub-species at 4 inches short.
Male Vs Female Blue-Tongued Skink Size
Male blue-tongued skinks tend to be longer and heavier than their female counterparts, which is one of the only ways to tell the males from females, as there isn’t much sexual dysmorphia within the species.
Males tend to have slimmer bodies, larger throats, heads, and lighter eyes. Males are longer than females roughly, 2.5 inches up to 4.13 inches, from the nose to the end of the tail. Females also have longer, skinnier heads than males.
How Long Does It Take For a Blue Tongue skink to reach full size?
Female blue-tongued skinks have an unusual trait they; do not lay eggs. They’re what is called viviparous. Instead of laying the eggs, they remain in the female’s body until they hatch, at which time she gives live birth.
Blue tongued skinks are long-lived, living on average 18 to 20 years in captivity and 12 to 20 years in the wild. Most species reach adulthood at two to three years, also maxing out their size.
Blue Tongue Skink Enclosure Size and Set-Up
Blue-tongued skinks are relatively large lizards and need space to move around. A 55-gallon glass tank is best for an adult Northern blue-tongued skink, and a 20-gallon will work for a baby.
The temperature will need to be 85 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit and should have a basking area of around 95 degrees. The night temps should go no lower than 70.
Leave the UVB heating lamp on for eight to 12 hours, and if you can, make half the enclosure a humidity chamber to help with shedding.
You can keep the tank simple; a few levels of branches and some flat rocks to climb over will keep them happy, along with someplace to hide.
Diet and Nutrition Can Affect Blue-Tongued Skink Size
Blue-tongued skinks are omnivores and will eat just about anything you put in front of them. From bugs to carrots, anything goes with these guys.
A good diet should consist of an assortment of roaches and worms, along with a variety of greens. Both a healthy and unhealthy diet can affect the size of a blue-tongued skink in both a healthy and unhealthy way.
They may also enjoy eating small rodents, depending on their size. They’ll even eat things like dog food, eggs, and turkey! Of course, make sure you know how to prepare these first.
You have to keep an eye on them because a blue-tongued skink will eat non-stop. So, a regimented feed time is necessary to keep them from becoming overweight. On average, an adult should eat once every other day, and adolescents every day.
Foods To Avoid
Ok, so when we said they eat just about anything, we may have been exaggerating a bit. They will devour anything you put into their cage, yes.
But some things aren’t exactly healthy for them. Here’s a list of food you shouldn’t give to your blue-tongued skink.
Some of these things are incredibly hazardous others are just not the best choice for nutrition.
- Star Fruit
- Berries of any kind
This isn’t a complete list, but it’s some of the most common bad foods for your new skink.
Are Blue-Tongued Skinks Too Big For Beginners
Blue tongued skinks make good pets. Docile and personable, the blue-tongued skink seems to enjoy attention from their owners; rather than just putting up within.
Overall, their care is painless, and maintenance costs are relatively low. I do not think they are too big for beginners.
The most common is the Northern blue tongue skink which is the one most people keep as a pet. They are ground lizards, so they don’t do much climbing. T
Blue tongue skinks are large-bodied with short stubby legs, a big spade-shaped head, and of course, a bright blue tongue, their trademark characteristic.
While they are very calm lizards with flat teeth and seem to enjoy the affection of people, they can bite.
While I personally have never been bitten by one, people who have, say it isn’t pleasant. They don’t just bite without warning. When agitated blue-tongued skinks will puff up and start hissing, this is their way of saying back off.
Blue-Tongued Skinks: The Perfect Sized Pet Lizard
All in all, these guys make great pets if you’re looking for an exotic reptile that is friendly, social; and enjoys being out of its cage with a low maintenance effort.
The blue-tongued skink is a great choice. Personally, I think blue-tongued skinks are the perfect size for a pet lizard.
If you live in the U.S., you can pick them up at just about any large pet store. They are completely legal across the U.S., and you don’t need a license to own one.
This is even true in places like Hawaii, Rhode Island, and California, where owning exotic pets is completely banned. For more info on the blue-tongued skink check out our complete blue-tongue skink care guide here!