One of the most appealing things about keeping blue tongue skinks is their diet. Unlike many other popular pet reptiles, blue tongue skinks will eat a huge range of different food stuffs.
The varied diet of blue tongue skinks can have a number of benefits. Firstly, it can make feeding your blue tongue skink rather more interesting than some other pet reptiles.
Secondly, by offering a broad range of foods you can minimize the chances of mineral deficiencies. Thirdly, for more squeamish reptile keepers, it is possible to select dietary elements that don’t repulse you!
So – what do blue tongue skinks eat, and what does a suitable blue tongue skink diet look like?
The first thing to understand is that blue tongue skinks are omnivores – which means they will eat both meat and plant material. Broadly speaking a 50/50 split between the two tends to work well. That doesn’t necessarily mean you need to serve both food types in the same meal, but over the course of a week you should aim to try and balance these two broad food groups.
Luckily, there are many different ways to achieve this goal. What follows is a list of foods that are approved for blue tongue skinks. If you have other foods that you have experimented with then please feel free to add a comment at the end, and I’ll endeavor to update this article regularly to include the additions. Let’s get going…
One of the easiest “base” foods for blue tongue skinks is one of the pre-made foods designed specifically for reptile keepers.
I recommend keeping a few tubs on standby for cases where your livefood delivery gets delayed. In this way you’ll know you always have something suitable no matter what happens.
- Carefully formulated by nutritionists to be a balanced diet to meet the nutritional needs of Blue tongue skinks for proper growth and development.
- Contains Chopped grasses (timothy, alfalfa) to provide long-stem fiber, An important part of their natural diet.
- Contains small amounts of fruit (mango) and animal protein (Black Soldier fly Larvae) to meet there unique dietary requirements.
Super Premium Cat or Dog Food
A staple of blue tongue skink owners around the world, cat and dog food can represent a core part of your blue tongue skink’s diet. Generally canned foods seem to be more readily accepted, though dry kibble can be soaked in warm water to soften it up and make it more appealing.
Note that when selecting these foods it is worth focusing your attention on the “super premium” brands, which typically have a higher meat content, whereas cheaper alternatives can be made from lower quality ingredients.
Blue tongue skinks aren’t the most agile of lizards. You’re unlikely to find your skink throwing itself around it’s enclosure hunting down fast-moving prey. Slower-moving alternatives, or those can be restrained in a bowl, however, are more readily accepted. For example, a shallow dish containing mealworms, calciworms or waxworms can represent a tasty treat for your pet.
Hard Boil Egg
Hard boil an egg and serve it thinly sliced. Be sure to allow the egg to cool somewhat to avoid burning your pet.
Cooked Lean Meats
Human-grade meat like chicken, turkey and beef will all be accepted by blue tongue skinks. As blue tongues can be lazy in captivity, so are prone to obesity, I would suggest aiming for lower fat meats.
Of course, leftovers from your roast chicken can be divided up into suitable portion sizes and frozen for future use. To defrost the meat simply place the plastic freezer bag of meat into a bowl of boiling water and allow it to thaw completely.
A host of different vegetables will be taken by blue tongue skinks. To keep your lizard lean I would suggest focusing your attention on those foods with a lower sugar content. I recommend finely chopping or grating these foods to make it easier for your pet to eat them. Furthermore, selecting a range of vegetables to create a well mixed “salad” can help to prevent selective eating.
- Brussel Sprouts – Fed up with being served sprouts at Christmas? Well, your blue tongue skink can become your best friend. Experiment with both raw and cooked versions to see which is more appealing.
- Greens – A range of different greens will be accepted, including collard greens and mustard greens.
- Peas – Raw or cooked.
- Squash – I have found that squash tends to be more readily accepted when roasted or boiled so that it is softer.
While blue tongue skinks will eat fruit, I would suggest that they make up only a small portion of your lizard’s diet due to their higher sugar content. Fresh, finely-diced fruit is generally easier to eat, more filling and contains fewer calories gram-for-gram than dried fruit.
- Berries – If its safe for you then it should be fine for your skink. Popular options include raspberries or strawberries.
- Figs – Sweet, sticky and delicious when in season.
- Mango – Stoned and skinned.
- Melon – Cantaloupe or honeydew are two popular options. Be sure to remove the skin and seeds to prevent the risk of choking.
- Papaya – With the skin and seeds removed.
Offering a varied diet is a crucial first step in ensuring that your blue tongue skink receives all the nutrients that it needs. However, it is far from the only thing that you can do. It is also recommended that you add a good quality mineral supplement to your lizard’s diet.
Mineral supplements come in a range of types. For example, gut loading supplements can be fed to feeder insects for 24 hours before they are given to your skink.
Due to the broad range of foods that a skink will eat, however, a dusting supplement is probably the most practical option. Simply follow the manufacturer’s instructions and gently dust your pet’s food before it is provided.
- Highly bio-available source of calcium carbonate
- Free of harmful impurities (not from Oyster Shells)
- Safe levels of Vitamin D3
Before I finish this article I want to highlight that meat, fruit and vegetables can quickly sour in the warmth of a blue tongue skink cage. Simply piling in some fresh fruit and leaving your skink to it is therefore probably not the best option.
Firstly, consider using a shallow food dish to limit contact between the food and your skink’s substrate. This will reduce the amount of cleaning that you need to do. Additionally, however, remove uneaten food regularly, and spot-clean any unwanted food that has been scattered around the enclosure. Doing so will help to prevent stomach upsets in your skink, and will keep their cage smelling fresh for longer.