Basking temps and overall humidity for Merauke BTS

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TimMih
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Basking temps and overall humidity for Merauke BTS

Postby TimMih » Sat Sep 02, 2017 10:17 am

So, my Merauke skink has been hiding quite a bit since I brought him home and I just wanted to make sure that its not the temps in the enclosure that are the cause. The warm side (with basking rock and heat bulb) is around 90-94 degrees daily while the cool side is roughly 75-77 degrees. I do have another heat lamp ready to use on the cooler side if need be. The overall humidity in the enclosure is hitting around 45% It was 60% last week but we've hit a cold spell in Cleveland already and that is sucking up a lot of the humidity. The breeder that I bought it from said it should be fine but he lives in Florida where it is hot and humid all year round. Is this too low and that is why he stays buried under the aspen substrate most of the time? Should I consider misting the enclosure daily if it is or does anyone have any other suggestions on how to maintain it at an optimal level?

Thanks!
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Re: Basking temps and overall humidity for Merauke BTS

Postby Janella » Sun Sep 03, 2017 11:58 am

Hey, congratulations on your new skink. I love my Merauke Noodles. He is absolutely the sweetest lizard. How old is your Merauke? How long have you had him? Your temps are good. I would keep the basking side about 95-100. Then make sure you have a nice gradient to about 72 at the lowest. Humidity is huge with these guys and it needs to be high. The lowest it should get is 40%. Part of your problem with that could be your substrate. Merauke's don't do well on Aspen. They need something that can hold humidity better like jungle mix, Ecoearth, or Cypress mulch. I have mine on jungle mix with Reptibark on top. He never ever has an issue with shedding. You can mist this down and it holds moisture well. All I do actually is once a week dump about 16oz of water through out the enclosure. Again, mine hasn't had any issues with shedding. You can also provide a humid hide to help as well.

If he is hiding all the time is the substrate, how many hides do you have? They like things to hide and climb on. My guy has 3 in his. This may help as well.

I hope I was able to help and answer your questions. Good luck.
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Re: Basking temps and overall humidity for Merauke BTS

Postby TimMih » Sun Sep 03, 2017 12:25 pm

Thanks for the info! Monster is about 6 months old and I've had him almost 2 weeks. Right now he hisses and lunges at me when I go near him lol. Very angry little guy. He has about 4 hides but likes to bury himself rather than go in his hides. I've gotten his humidity up to 50% and the high temp to 85 with the basking around 90-94. His low side still hit around mid 70s. Will the coconut fibers work for the humidity, I still have some of that I can use?
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Re: Basking temps and overall humidity for Merauke BTS

Postby Janella » Sun Sep 03, 2017 1:42 pm

Okay, he is still getting used to you then. Give the little guy time and right now try to build his trust up. Talk to him when near, offer him tasty treats by hand. Minimize handling if you haven't already.

Cocofiber does work. That should be fine.

Good luck with your little one. They are precious and I would have tons more if I could :-)
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Re: Basking temps and overall humidity for Merauke BTS

Postby TimMih » Fri Sep 15, 2017 9:42 pm

Ok, so it has just been 3 weeks my little guy and I've gotten the humidity to a steady 50-60% at all times by switching to cypress mulch. He doesn't seem to like the feel of it as much as he doesn't come out as much or as long as he was doing. He does, however, come out like clock-work around 12:30 when I feed him. I've been giving him treats (mostly just spoonfuls of his regular diet) from a small spoon before putting his food bowl down. He has gotten more comfortable with me, not hissing or huffing when I put my hand in there to feed him and for the most part he does take the treat very gently from the spoon until he wants more! I still haven't gotten close to being able to touch him yet though :/ When is done eating, he just goes back under his mulch and doesn't come out for the rest of the day. Is this normal? He is barely out of hiding for 15-20 minutes before going back in. I don't see any signs of shedding or illness, he just hides all day even though he knows his food schedule already and isn't afraid to eat from a spoon. Am I doing something wrong on my end? There are plenty of places to hide but he picks one side and stays under the mulch instead.
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Re: Basking temps and overall humidity for Merauke BTS

Postby Janella » Sat Sep 16, 2017 5:50 pm

Sounds like your doing everything right, but I think now is the time to try to start handling him and getting used to you. Just go slow and continue to feed by hand and offer tasty treats. After every handling also offer something tasty as a reward (end on a positive note).

What are your temps? Sometimes if those are off they won't bask and act right.

Hopefully you can get your little one to come around.
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Re: Basking temps and overall humidity for Merauke BTS

Postby TimMih » Sun Sep 17, 2017 2:02 pm

My temps are mid to upper 80s on the warm side with the basking spot mid to low 90s. The cool side is low mid 70s. The humidity is steadiest around mid 60s with the cypress mulch. How would you recommend handling him when as soon as I go to touch him he hisses and lunges at me even after he just took treats from the spoon super gently? I don't know how hard a 6 month old skink bites, but I'd kind of like to avoid it if at all possible lol. If he's still attempting to bite me, is it a right time to start trying to handle him or should I wait and keep trying to charm him with treats?
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Re: Basking temps and overall humidity for Merauke BTS

Postby Janella » Sun Sep 17, 2017 6:02 pm

Temperatures all sound good.

I would keep trying to tempt him with tasty treats. Mine love fruit as treats, scrambled eggs, chicken, etc. Have you tried to just place your hand in the enclosure after you feed to see what your guy does? If it approaches, and gives a lick, then reward. Do you talk to your skink? Read to it? Etc. By now it totally should be familiar with you and know you are it's food source and friend. You have been doing everything right and taking baby steps to get your skink used to you. At this point it is a toss up. Some people say to just handle in some amounts till it gets used to you. Others would say to keep waiting. If you so handle, go slow and make sure that it feels secure. Support the entire body. Hopefully, whatever you decide your skink will come around nicely.
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Re: Basking temps and overall humidity for Merauke BTS

Postby TimMih » Sun Sep 17, 2017 6:15 pm

I have put my hand in there after feeding him treats (his favorite is bananas or snails) and he just stares before leaving. If I try to move my hand closer then he'll hiss and lunge. I talk to him all the time and I feel like he knows my voice/face because he is more hissy and grumpy to anyone else that may go by him. He definitely knows I am his food source because he'll wait for me around the same time every day to bring his food and treats. That's why I'm not sure why he is still so hostile if I move to close to him.
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Re: Basking temps and overall humidity for Merauke BTS

Postby Janella » Sun Sep 17, 2017 8:09 pm

It is hard saying why your little guy still hasn't learned to trust. You are doing all the right things. Some skinks are just more feisty then others. I honestly think if this little one was mine, I would call its bluff and pick it up and handle it. Most skinks will huff and some may lounge, but it takes alot for the them to bite. Good luck and remember to go slow. Hopefully, your little one will come around.
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Re: Basking temps and overall humidity for Merauke BTS

Postby TimMih » Sun Sep 17, 2017 8:34 pm

Thank you so much for all your advice, I think I am going to try and call his bluff and see what happens. Hopefully good things! I'll let you know how it goes :)
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Re: Basking temps and overall humidity for Merauke BTS

Postby Janella » Mon Sep 18, 2017 3:52 am

No problem at all. I am glad to help. Another thing I do, is I don't let my skinks down or back in their enclosures if they are huffing or acting bad. I wait till they calm down and then end on a positive note. I literally had to do this maybe 2-3 times with my Merauke and every now and then with my Northern. They both are as sweet as sugar now. Good luck and keep me posted.
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Re: Basking temps and overall humidity for Merauke BTS

Postby TimMih » Wed Sep 20, 2017 5:34 pm

So I have sort of taken your advice but instead of straight picking him up, I fed him treats while I had my free hand flat on the ground and led him over to it. He actually bumped it with his nose and then licked it before ignoring it for more treats. Today I put my hand in first and he just watched it and slowly walked by, rubbing against it so I think it's working lol. I was afraid to just pick him up since he is so jumpy that he would regress and be afraid of me all over again. Does this method seem like it's working or would picking him up be the better way to go?
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Re: Basking temps and overall humidity for Merauke BTS

Postby Janella » Wed Sep 20, 2017 5:50 pm

No what you are doing is absolutely fine too. Keep working at it. They truly are my absolute favorite lizard. My BTSs are such loves.
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Re: Basking temps and overall humidity for Merauke BTS

Postby TimMih » Wed Sep 20, 2017 7:30 pm

OK, I'm not giving up, he seems like such a bright little guy with a big personality. Could it he possible that there is too much going on in his enclosure for him to feel fully comfortable? I posted pics of it under the thread "show me your enclosures" it has a couple levels and ramps and various other things. I wonder if it's too intimidating for him right now.?
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Re: Basking temps and overall humidity for Merauke BTS

Postby Janella » Thu Sep 21, 2017 3:59 am

I don't think your enclosure is the issue at all. Unfortunately some skinks are just stand offish. I am hoping yours won't be one of those. Just keep working at it and hopefully it will come around.
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Re: Basking temps and overall humidity for Merauke BTS

Postby TimMih » Thu Sep 21, 2017 8:52 am

Great, thank so so much for answering all my questions you've been awesome. I am hoping he comes around too, I got him as a pet my autistic nephew could enjoy since he really loves animals. The guu who sold it to me said the babies were really sweet so hopefully he wasn't lying to me lol
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Re: Basking temps and overall humidity for Merauke BTS

Postby Janella » Thu Sep 21, 2017 9:13 am

No problem at all. I love helping and educating people. I really do hope yours comes around. I am sure your nephew would love to handle him if it gets to that point. Hopefully so! Don't give up!

Like I said, they all do have different personalities though. My Merauke Noodles is just the sweetest thing on the planet and had been since he was a baby. I really do hope your little one will come around. Keep me posted ok.

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