Care instructions for Bluetongue skink Tiliqua scincoides

Pasningsvejledning for Blåtungeskink Tiliqua scincoides

Scientific name: Tiliqua scincoides

Danish name: Bluetongue ham

Lifespan: 10 years

Distribution: eastern Australia, northeastern Western Australia, northern Northern Territory, northeastern Queensland, eastern South Wales, Victoria to southeastern South Australia.

Legislation: Peace in Australia

Toxicity: Not toxic

Appearance
Bluetongue hams are large, robust, very typical hams with an elongated, almost roller-shaped body, large triangular head, short limbs with small toes. They can grow to around 55 cm. The tail is very strong and relatively short. Colors and designs vary quite a bit depending on location. The basic colors are usually different shades of brown and gray. The back and tail are provided with more or less wide darker bands, which on the sides often turn into beautiful yellow or orange. The top of the head is like the top of the body, while the sides are light, often provided with a dark brown to black wide eye stripe, which runs backwards almost to the ear. Underside light brown to sand-coloured.

Biology
They are animals that rarely climb, but stick more or less to the ground surface, where they find shelter in burrows often dug by rodents, or hide under piles of stones, in rock crevices or even under old iron plates or other objects left by people.

All species of bluetongue hams are viviparous, the one mentioned here gives birth to from five to fifteen young per year. litter, in rarer cases over twenty.

The young should be transferred to a rearing terrarium immediately after birth. The adult hams will hardly intentionally prey on the young, but the size difference alone makes it too risky to leave the young with the parent animals, apart from the fact that special feeding of the young is a necessity.

Keep in terrarium
Bluetongue hams are distinctly bottom-dwelling animals, which require a large, spacious terrarium at least 150 X 60 X 60 cm. Since it is a relatively dry living species, the bottom layer can consist of coarse sand or gravel, possibly mixed with soil/potting soil. The terrarium should, in addition to various decorative materials such as tree roots, branches and stones, be provided with holes and other hiding places so that the hams can feel safe. Bluetongue hams are heat-loving animals, so an air temperature of around 27-35 °C will be suitable, but it is important to have heating areas with up to 50 °C.

Feed
Bluetongue hams are "omnivorous", which means that in nature they eat both animal food in the form of e.g. insects, snails and other small animals they can come across, as well as occasionally also carrion and vegetables such as various types of fruit and vegetables. This means that in captivity they can be fed with insects such as grasshoppers, crickets, larger cockroaches, but also to a large extent with different meat from the household, for example minced beef and cooked or raw chicken meat and giblets. By the way, shell-bearing snails are one of the best things you can offer them. Of fruit and vegetables, e.g. banana, grape, peach and other sweet fruit are used. In addition, many bluetongues will also eat thawed "vegetable mixes", but here are good opportunities to experiment a bit yourself. Adult bluetongues are fed 2-3 times a week - juveniles daily. Calcium and vitamins must be added to the feed, preferably a broad-spectrum preparation. It is particularly important that the preparation contains vitamin D3, which is necessary for the absorption of calcium. There should of course also be a bowl of fresh drinking water in the terrarium.

Signs of illness
They are fairly robust animals, but hams with obvious signs of emaciation and dehydration, such as a sharp back and root of the tail, as well as sunken eyes in particular, should be avoided.

Other things
They are usually calm, sociable animals who often become trusting quickly and come to their carer when feeding, changing the water bowl or cleaning the terrarium.

They are distinctly bottom-dwelling animals that, with their short limbs, are not particularly suitable for climbing, but there must be rocks, large tree roots or other sturdy objects in the terrarium that they can climb on.

Bluetongue hams are almost legendary for their propensity to become very tame in captivity and adapt easily to handling.

Breeding
Before breeding, bluetongue skink must go through a winter rest of approx. 10 weeks at approx. 10° C in the dark.

Hatching of eggs
Mating and eggs/young: After winter rest, the male is placed in the female's terrarium until mating attempts have ended. Repeat this process several nights in a row, if fights occur that lead to bite wounds, these must be treated before trying again. Pregnant females will eat normally until a week before giving birth, but they will spend longer periods under the heat lamp than usual. The pregnancy lasts 3-6 months, and 4-12 live young are born.

Babysitting
The young are fed from their first day. Their feed must consist of 50% fruit/vegetables and 50% animal feed.

This care guide has been made in collaboration with Pasningsvejledning.dk

Read the original care instructions here:

http://www.pasningsvejledninger.dk/files/bla_tungeskink.pdf

Yours sincerely
Vetboxen.dk

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