Skinks are adjusted to natural conditions where they bask under the sun and receive plenty of D3 and other basic needs to regulate their temperature. Do blue tongue skinks need UVB lights in captivity?
What does UVB do for blue tongued skinks? How should you set up UVB lights? Do skinks need light or heat lamps at night?
There is so much to share in this article and I thank you for taking the time to find out what is needed for your blue tongued skink to thrive.
Do Blue Tongue Skinks Need UVB?
Yes. Blue-tongue skinks should have a gradient of UVB lighting within their cage, ranging from:
- UVI 3.0–5.0 in the basking zone
- 0.0 in the shaded zones.
Also, the light needs to be set up out in accordance with the guidelines provided by the manufacturer. It is advised to use UVB lighting in order to help blue tongue skinks thrive and absorb much needed vitamin D3 in captive care.
What Level of UVB Exposure Is Needed for Blue Tongue Skinks?
While basking is a natural behavior for blue-tongued skinks, they require a strong source of UVB light to thrive. We advise installing a powerful 10-12% UV tube that runs for at least 2/3 of the entirety of the enclosure’s length.
T8 and T5 are the two sizes of UV tubes that should be used. The T8 lamps have a diameter of around one inch, they have an effective range of nine to twelve inches, and they need to be changed approximately every six months.
The most recent development in UVB lighting is the T5 lamp. They have a lifespan of one year, have a diameter of around half an inch, and their effective range is between 18 and 24 inches.
Where To Put UVB Lighting For Skinks?
I would recommend installing the light on the ceiling, quite near to the rear wall, regardless of whatever option UVB light you choose.
This should provide a nice UV gradient all the way from the back of the cage to the front of the enclosure. With the enclosure set up in this manner, you are able to produce a temperature gradient along the length and a UV gradient along the width.
This ensures that the skinks, no matter what their needs are, will be able to choose the ideal location within the enclosure.
Even though the skink is a species that like to sunbathe in the sun, it may occasionally seek out dark places to spend its time. In order to accomplish this goal, we would distribute concealment areas, both partial and complete, over the enclosure.
Danger, poison or aggression are commonly spoken of when regarding skinks. Do these claim have merit. This article will explain it.
Do Blue Tongued Skinks Need a Basking Light?
Yes. Blue-tongued skinks naturally spend a lot of time soaking up the sun’s rays. They need a heated basking area that is 90-100°F during the day.
Skinks like the warmth from their basking lamp, but they also value the additional belly heat that warmth emits.
- Decorations and naturally occurring rocks like slate are ideal to be positioned beneath and around the area used for basking, and they should warm up beautifully.
- It is best to monitor the surface temperature of natural rocks to prevent burns because if the light is too low, there is a danger that they might get excessively hot.
There will be occasions when the skink needs some shade and doesn’t want any UV light. Make sure the skink can escape the light whenever necessary. UVB illumination is also necessary for the health and survival of blue-tongued skinks.
Are Heat Lamps Needed For Blue Tongue Skinks?
Yes. I advise using a heat lamp. Make sure it is:
- between 40 and 75 watts depending on the enclosure
- mounted in a heat-resistant dome light on top of the metal mesh.
- emitting around 38C in the basking area
Place logs, rocks, or piece of slate beneath the light at a proper distance to not cause any burns.
Hydration is a risk factor to learn more about in this article I wrote about skinks drinking water.
Why Do Skinks Need UVB?
Both natural vitamin D3 and synthetic D3 from UVB are processed in a different manner. Reptiles like skinks that are subjected to enough quantities of UVB have:
- greater levels of vitamin D in their blood
- more D3 than traditional supplements in their food.
In addition, UVB provides many advantages order to help them flourish in their environments rather than simply survive.
Providing UVB illumination is the recommended method for the management of blue tongue skinks.
Do UVB Lights Need Protectors?
No. Check to see that the UVB light fitting does not include a piece of glass or plastic that serves as a protector for the bulb.
- Glass and plastic protectors both filter out UVB rays!
This means that the UVB bulb you just purchased will be worthless.
Do Skinks Need Light At Night?
No. In general, blue tongue skinks don’t require any type of heating or illumination at night. For overnight heating, some people like red or black bulbs, but it’s really better for skinks to experience a dip in temperature at night.
Chilly temperatures might cause brumation or disease if there is little daylight warming. Use a non-light emitting heat source, such as a ceramic heat emitter or a radiant heat panel to warm the enclosure to the proper air temperature if you need to heat it at night.
Skinks sleep at night since they are diurnal, much like humans. This also means that they require darkness at night for their wellbeing.
Since ceramic heat emitters only produce heat, we use dimmer switches in our house to control their brightness or turn them off during the summer when our home is cooler at night.
Best Basking Bulb for Blue Tongue Skink
In order to survive and remain healthy, blue-tongued skinks need to be exposed to UVB illumination. You will be able to give your blue tongue skink the ideal amount of heat and UVB that it needs in order to grow if you use:
- Zilla Heat & UVB Basking Fixture
- Zilla 50W Mini Halogen bulb
- Zilla Desert Series 50 UVB Lamp
- Zoo Med ReptiSun 10.0 T5 HO UVB
- Arcadia Desert 12% fluorescent tubes
Be careful to position the light such that it shines over the part of the thermal gradient and keeps enough distance or height to not cause any burns or overheated decorations.
Do Blue Tongue Skinks Need A Basking Stone?
Although it’s optional, we recommend that you get one. In my experience, adding the stone resulted in noticeably better activity and behavior from our skink. I wish I got it from the beginning.
Put a chunk of stone or slate tile below the heat bulb. The lamp’s heat will be absorbed by the stone, which will provide warmth from above and below in a similar fashion to how blue tongue skinks love to bask in the sun in the wild.
This is a necessary element of terrarium décor if you want a healthy blue tongue skink.
No Heat Rocks
Avoid using heat rocks because they are heated internally by electrical wiring. They are not the same as a basking stone. Heat rocks since they are notorious for scorching reptiles.
Blue Tongue Skink Temperature and Humidity
Blue tongue skinks need a temperature gradient in their habitat ranging:
- from 65 to 115 degrees Fahrenheit (18 to 46 degrees Celsius)
They need to keep their body temperature :
- between 86 and 99 degrees Fahrenheit (30 and 37 degrees Celsius).
Humidity levels should be kept at a range of:
- between 40 and 80 percent.
The blue tongue skink will perish if kept in a tank that is too hot, since this will cause it to become lethargic, dehydrated, and eventually die.
As a consequence of this, the skink can make an attempt to flee, which is a sign that it is unhappy with its environment.
Maintaining Humidity Levels For Blue Tongue Skinks
Keep an eye on the humidity level:
- A digital hygrometer may be used to measure the humidity in a tank. To acquire precise measurements of the amount of water vapor in the air, place it on the front or side glass of the tank.
- Checking the skin of your blue tongue skink is a good idea even if the dimensions seem normal.
- It is a good sign that the humidity in the cage is exactly correct if you notice your skink regularly shedding its skin.
In contrast, the development of mold in the tank indicates that the humidity levels are too high. Dry, rough scales are a sign that additional moisture is needed.
Health Issues For Blue Tongued Skinks
Common health problems for blue tongued skinks arise when their enclosure is lacking basic husbandry needs.
The UVB lighting helps them thrive in captive care. Without it, you may unfortunately witness some common skink illnesses that I will outline below:
1. Intestinal parasites
Worms, particularly the potentially deadly coccidiosis pathogen, can harm blue-tongues. A qualified vet for reptiles can do feces checks and deworming.
2. Dysecdysis (Abnormal Shedding)
Low humidity levels can occasionally cause a skink to have a incomplete shed (dysecdysis).
3. Metabolic Bone Disease (MBD)
Calcium or vitamin D3 inadequacy brought on by an improper diet, a lack of UV illumination, or both leads to MBD in skinks.
Symptoms of illness to observe:
- reduced appetite
- the tail tip or the toes retaining old skin
- Unusual motions
Aside from using UVB lighting, these conditions can worsen if not treated by a vet. Consult with a professional if these symptoms continue.
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