Do blue tongue skinks make good therapy animals?

Everything Blue Tongues! Have a question? Just got a BTS and want to introduce yourself? This is the place!
Forum rules
In this forum all are welcome to ask blue tongue skink-related questions, share information, ideas, tips, experiences, and pictures with fellow BTS enthusiasts.
If you are wondering if your BTS is acting normally or might be sick, this is where you can get help with that.
This is also where you can have some FUN while sharing the enjoyment you get from your blueys!
Hannasue
Tenderfoot
Tenderfoot
Posts: 6
Joined: Tue Sep 19, 2017 9:38 pm
Country: United_States
Location: Jarrell,Texas

Do blue tongue skinks make good therapy animals?

Postby Hannasue » Sun Sep 24, 2017 8:45 am

Hi guys i was looking into getting a BTS (northern) i was curious what you guys thought of them as companions.

Im looking for an animal i can handle often, has a more engaging personality (wants to come out and explore, play ect...) i dont mind upkeep or the amount of money. Im really looking for an animal i can hold a lot.

Ive done research and i notice no one really complains that their skinks arnt interactive with them. Is this true? Does your skink hide often? Is it ok with being handled?
Im aware that its a lizard and it doesnt feel companionship but if i can give it toys or hold it a lot. I would be happy.

Thank you
User avatar
Krahzii
Tenderfoot
Tenderfoot
Posts: 3
Joined: Tue Jul 18, 2017 10:50 am
Country: USA
Location: Indiana

Re: Do blue tongue skinks make good therapy animals?

Postby Krahzii » Mon Sep 25, 2017 7:57 am

I have a BTS who spent her past 7 years with a friend of mine. I had to take her in a few months ago. It took her a while to get used to me, but even when she didn't particularly like me, she was okay with me holding her. One of the biggest perks of skinks as pets is that they're very docile and don't mind being handled. I would definitely recommend that you look into all the subspecies before getting one, because some are more aggressive than others. Northerns are usually very calm. They can also be really inquisitive and love to explore, even my grumpy girl enjoys going outside and having a good look at everything. They don't really play with toys, but I have heard of people using plastic toys that they put different scents on to enrich their skink's enclosure.

Every lizard is an individual, but BTS in general definitely are very docile. I also work with two male Northerns at the zoo I volunteer at, they don't mind being held at all and they're very interactive. My skink hides a lot but not all of them do. Even mine comes out to bask every now and then, and we're at a point where she doesn't mind it when I take her out of her hide/substrate for a bit of handling. Even though she's still a bit grumpy sometimes, I hold her pretty much every day, and sometimes I have her outside for upwards of 40 minutes to get some sun, and she doesn't mind it one bit. The important thing to remember is that every animal is an individual. You may get a skink that loves to interact, is out to bask a lot, and doesn't mind hanging out on your lap while you watch TV. Or you could get a skink like mine that's rather huffy, hides a lot, and is very independent.
I have one BTS, a Northern named Kora. Gotcha date 6/18/17.

Check my Instagram for lots of pictures of her and my other pets! My username on there is Igloo9201.
Hannasue
Tenderfoot
Tenderfoot
Posts: 6
Joined: Tue Sep 19, 2017 9:38 pm
Country: United_States
Location: Jarrell,Texas

Re: Do blue tongue skinks make good therapy animals?

Postby Hannasue » Mon Sep 25, 2017 8:14 am

Thank you for the reply! I wouldn't mind an independent animal as i was fairly happy wity two super independent bunnies. To the point wherei couldnt pet them more than 5 minutes. Would i like a friendly skink? Yes. does it have to be like a golden retriever? No. Thanks for the response though. I chose northern cause i heard that was the best beginning skink and the most friendliest. If you know of a more docile subspeices please tell me. I would like the best chance as possible to get a skink that fits the personality i would like. Again thank you!
kingofnobbys
Bluey Beginner
Bluey Beginner
Posts: 312
Joined: Tue Apr 04, 2017 2:17 am
Country: australia
Location: NSW

Re: Do blue tongue skinks make good therapy animals?

Postby kingofnobbys » Mon Sep 25, 2017 8:15 am

Depends on how it's reared (BY YOU) and it's temperament and individual personality.

My easterns are really good, they seem us out when on the floor and we leave the room , they'll follow us like a puppy , and they love snuggles (both them live for mommy and daddy snuggles and really smoog into us.

Neither has ever shown any aggression towards us or our little grandson (who adores them - calls them Mr and Mrs Sausage), and have never bitten anyone in anger.

Yes - very good companion animals IMO. My advise = get the skink as baby (about 4 - 8 weeks old) and raise it from then and include hand feeding in the raising - forms a great bond. Our two came from a breeder as 2 month olds , I chose the two who came over to me and wanted to check me out and climbed onto my lap ( a great sign) and are getting towards 8 years old .
splashy07
Bluey Addict
Bluey Addict
Posts: 1001
Joined: Wed Aug 27, 2014 11:24 am
Country: usa
Location: farmingdale,LI,NY

Re: Do blue tongue skinks make good therapy animals?

Postby splashy07 » Mon Sep 25, 2017 8:37 am

Therapy animals? Most definitely. I have been keeping reptiles for over 40 years, and a few years back a friend asked me to get her a BT. So I got one myself also, after not keeping them since the 80's. I have to thank her every time we speak as they have made a hundred percent difference in the quality of my life. (I now have 12 and have been successfully breeding for two years.) I've kept hundreds of different reptiles over the years and I find these to be the most rewarding reptile pets ever, close second being the bearded dragon which simply does not live long enough. I keep Northerns and Easterns, and I find both similar in personality. Wise choice for a Northern, as Easterns are quite expensive on this side of the pond, and are usually only exchanged between breeders.
I actually look forward to seeing them when I come home from work every day, and I miss them all day. The love I feel for these endearing lizards is incomparable to any other pet I've ever kept. Unfortunately at this time of year, a baby Northern would be difficult if not impossible to find, as they are born from May to July here in the states and most sell out very quickly. I already have a waiting list for next season.
Hannasue
Tenderfoot
Tenderfoot
Posts: 6
Joined: Tue Sep 19, 2017 9:38 pm
Country: United_States
Location: Jarrell,Texas

Re: Do blue tongue skinks make good therapy animals?

Postby Hannasue » Mon Sep 25, 2017 9:04 am

Im hoping to get lucky with a reptile expo being in october and maybe just maybe finding one. (Doubtful)
I've read raising it takes a big part in how much they like you. My plan was to give it 3-4 days depending on how it settled down to its new home and start doing hand feedings then maybe after a few days of that escalate to holding. I might be to cautious but i think it might help socialize them better any tips?
splashy07
Bluey Addict
Bluey Addict
Posts: 1001
Joined: Wed Aug 27, 2014 11:24 am
Country: usa
Location: farmingdale,LI,NY

Re: Do blue tongue skinks make good therapy animals?

Postby splashy07 » Mon Sep 25, 2017 12:20 pm

Be nice to him. He will be nice to you. Food treats get them to trust you. Learn how to identify species, also, as other types (Indonesian imports) are often misrepresented as Northerns. Northerns are few and far between at expos.
When you get him home let him settle in first, and best to have a cage that you do not reach in from above. Many predators come from above.
Hannasue
Tenderfoot
Tenderfoot
Posts: 6
Joined: Tue Sep 19, 2017 9:38 pm
Country: United_States
Location: Jarrell,Texas

Re: Do blue tongue skinks make good therapy animals?

Postby Hannasue » Mon Sep 25, 2017 12:33 pm

Thank you! I was planning to make a cage with a sliding door on the side. Glad to hear they arnt very complicated to befriend. Thanks!
User avatar
Angcious
Bluey Beginner
Bluey Beginner
Posts: 128
Joined: Sat Feb 14, 2015 6:27 pm
Country: USA
Location: DE

Re: Do blue tongue skinks make good therapy animals?

Postby Angcious » Mon Sep 25, 2017 12:54 pm

Yes I have 2 Meraukes and they are so incredibly interactive, that's what I adore about them! They love not only being out of their cages and exploring, but just hanging out with me too. They're quite demanding with me!
My younger one is very busy and into everything but he'll always look around for me to make sure I'm still there watching him. My older is a big momma's boy and follows me around. They love their exploring but they also want to know you're close by too. I always have to tell them "Yes, I see you..." or "I'm right here."
But as far as cuddling or getting them to sit quietly with me for a little bit...with mine, that's all on their terms. They certainly will and do sit quietly, but they have to be in the mood for it. I can usually tell if they're just too hyper and want to run around, or if they're quieted down and might sit with me (for instance, if I wanted them to sit on my lap while I watch a movie). They both put a certain lovey, dreamy look on their faces when they're in the mood to cuddle...and they insist on curling up under my chin or as close to my face as possible lol. My older knows when I've had a bad day or I'm not in the best of moods, he'll be quieter then and just curl up under the cover against me and relax. They're truly wonderful :D
Hannasue
Tenderfoot
Tenderfoot
Posts: 6
Joined: Tue Sep 19, 2017 9:38 pm
Country: United_States
Location: Jarrell,Texas

Re: Do blue tongue skinks make good therapy animals?

Postby Hannasue » Mon Sep 25, 2017 2:35 pm

Wow that sounds like such a dream! Thats amazing!
kingofnobbys
Bluey Beginner
Bluey Beginner
Posts: 312
Joined: Tue Apr 04, 2017 2:17 am
Country: australia
Location: NSW

Re: Do blue tongue skinks make good therapy animals?

Postby kingofnobbys » Mon Sep 25, 2017 9:58 pm

Angcious wrote:Yes I have 2 Meraukes and they are so incredibly interactive, that's what I adore about them! They love not only being out of their cages and exploring, but just hanging out with me too. They're quite demanding with me!
<<<< they soon suss out their human slaves !

My younger one is very busy and into everything but he'll always look around for me to make sure I'm still there watching him.
<<<< that's the skink asking for permission , I get the same from wild skinks too and from my pet captive bred skinks and dragons . And yes they like you to acknowledge them when the look back at you .

My older is a big momma's boy and follows me around. They love their exploring but they also want to know you're close by too. I always have to tell them "Yes, I see you..." or "I'm right here."
But as far as cuddling or getting them to sit quietly with me for a little bit...with mine, that's all on their terms. They certainly will and do sit quietly, but they have to be in the mood for it. I can usually tell if they're just too hyper and want to run around, or if they're quieted down and might sit with me (for instance, if I wanted them to sit on my lap while I watch a movie). They both put a certain lovey, dreamy look on their faces when they're in the mood to cuddle...and they insist on curling up under my chin or as close to my face as possible lol. My older knows when I've had a bad day or I'm not in the best of moods, he'll be quieter then and just curl up under the cover against me and relax.
<<<< they can and do read us simple humans like a book , and do seem to know when you can do with a snuggle .

They're truly wonderful :D
kingofnobbys
Bluey Beginner
Bluey Beginner
Posts: 312
Joined: Tue Apr 04, 2017 2:17 am
Country: australia
Location: NSW

Re: Do blue tongue skinks make good therapy animals?

Postby kingofnobbys » Mon Sep 25, 2017 10:03 pm

Hannasue wrote:Thank you! I was planning to make a cage with a sliding door on the side. Glad to hear they arnt very complicated to befriend. Thanks!


Cage / viv
solid timber lid is best
my gang all love to see what's going on around them , so I have Perspex sides & back on my big viv (4ft x 2ft x 1.5ft (tall) for the big BTs , sliding glass doors on front.
Hannasue
Tenderfoot
Tenderfoot
Posts: 6
Joined: Tue Sep 19, 2017 9:38 pm
Country: United_States
Location: Jarrell,Texas

Re: Do blue tongue skinks make good therapy animals?

Postby Hannasue » Wed Sep 27, 2017 9:48 am

I'll keep that noted thank you!
BD99
Tenderfoot
Tenderfoot
Posts: 64
Joined: Tue May 09, 2017 6:47 pm
Country: Australia
Location: Victoria

Re: Do blue tongue skinks make good therapy animals?

Postby BD99 » Sun Oct 01, 2017 10:41 pm

Hi there. So, going to give you the sob details on me and my views, but ultimately you'll have to decide for yourself.

I'm someone who suffers with depression and anxiety from some bad treatment in life, along with Autism Specrtum Disorder and type 1 diabetes. I have a lot of subconscious crap going on that, frankly, can make me a walking timebomb.
I have found that my Eastern Blue Tongue Lizard, Gidge, was one of the BEST things for me. She has been an incredibly loyal, patient friend when I'm having a panic attack with her, or even when I just have a rough day I can't feel my limbs correctly. She was 8 when I got her, an ex breeders prize girl but in Australia easterns aren't all that valuable and she was dumped at a reptile shop. In the shop, she was very patient and almost lacklustre, being used as a log by the other skinks despite being twice their size (1 1/2 foot). Pretty easy to recognise her as a BIg girl with a lot of patience and very relaxed. Took me a few months to con my parents into her, seeing her every weekend. I'd sit with her for an hour or two, just watching. That was amazing for getting me out of the house.

Once I got her, very quickly I realised I was a wreck with no idea how to handle a lizard confidently. I kept the habit of sitting with her, offering any type of fruit I had on hand as a tribute whenever she came over to me. I learned within a week that 1 - Bluetongues are victims of their own inquisitive nature. 2 - Bluetongues have hearts in their stomachs. 3 - I had stopped shaking when I picked her up and no longer felt the need to chant "please don't bite me". I bonded with her by having her upstairs in cardboard box mazes. As I played video games and spoke, she was around the room exploring my little set ups. She'd come up and lick at my feet when she wanted attention, and was quite happy to be picked up and kissed before let back to her business. That helped me find a voice in online gaming, given I knew she was learning my voice.

I also learned that when I felt panic coming on, bringing her out made me settle down. Gidge loves curling around my neck and resting her head in my eyesocket as a general napping position, but she won't settle if my heart is racing. Working with her has begun teaching me how to manage my own heartrate a bit better, giving me a focus to settle. She gives me a focus, I give her a human heatmat and exploring buddy.

She is, without a doubt, the sweetest Bluetongue I've ever met. Lots of people comment on her sweetness too when I let them handle her, or see her at the vet. She huffs and expresses herself, but its never a violent manner. her huff is VERY different from a hiss. its more like an old lady sigh than grrr.

So, LONG story short. YES. Bluetongues make amazing therapy animals if their attitude is right and the human is genuinely dedicated to making them happy in return. That said, I have a 2nd eastie who is a bit of a cow. She isn't even 1 year old and already scarred beyond repair. She's my rescue project. So, I strongly advise finding an older, more confident bluetongue who is nicely handled if you want them for a calming purpose to build trust with. 4 months in and I still don't trust my youngster not to sneakily bite me when I relax. But I trust Gidge with everything.
splashy07
Bluey Addict
Bluey Addict
Posts: 1001
Joined: Wed Aug 27, 2014 11:24 am
Country: usa
Location: farmingdale,LI,NY

Re: Do blue tongue skinks make good therapy animals?

Postby splashy07 » Mon Oct 02, 2017 6:35 am

My BTs have made an incredible difference in the quality of my life also. I'll keep it short, I have severe allergies to anything with fur or feathers, some seasons I think I am simply allergic to air. Each of mine have different personalities
(7 Northern 5 Eastern) and I swear nothing beats raising a baby of either. Two of my Northerns I got as adults but were raised by those who knew what they were doing, so they came to me sweet as pie. I'd say go for a baby if you can't find an older one from someone you know or know it's past. Pet shop animals are often misrepresented, and it's sort of like buying a used car from a dealer. You have absolutely no clue what it has been through, and can be heartache to try and make it right. Good luck, hope you find one to love! (You'll probably end up with more than one, very addicting little creatures...)
kingofnobbys
Bluey Beginner
Bluey Beginner
Posts: 312
Joined: Tue Apr 04, 2017 2:17 am
Country: australia
Location: NSW

Re: Do blue tongue skinks make good therapy animals?

Postby kingofnobbys » Mon Oct 02, 2017 7:10 am

splashy07 wrote:My BTs have made an incredible difference in the quality of my life also. I'll keep it short, I have severe allergies to anything with fur or feathers, some seasons I think I am simply allergic to air. Each of mine have different personalities
(7 Northern 5 Eastern) and I swear nothing beats raising a baby of either. Two of my Northerns I got as adults but were raised by those who knew what they were doing, so they came to me sweet as pie. I'd say go for a baby if you can't find an older one from someone you know or know it's past. Pet shop animals are often misrepresented, and it's sort of like buying a used car from a dealer. You have absolutely no clue what it has been through, and can be heartache to try and make it right. Good luck, hope you find one to love! (You'll probably end up with more than one, very addicting little creatures...)


lot be said for getting skinks (or dragon) very young .... they grow up only knowing you and become very strongly bonded to you.

also a lot to be said for getting a male and a female even if you never plan on mating them, you get to see their body language and flirting (even if they are never allowed to be together) when they see each other.
splashy07
Bluey Addict
Bluey Addict
Posts: 1001
Joined: Wed Aug 27, 2014 11:24 am
Country: usa
Location: farmingdale,LI,NY

Re: Do blue tongue skinks make good therapy animals?

Postby splashy07 » Tue Oct 03, 2017 5:27 am

Oh yes, I used to breed Beardies a few years back and their flirting is absolutely adorable. With the BTs I just notice restlessness among the males when in season. They know there is a female around even if kept in another room. Interesting indeed!

Return to “General Discussion and FAQ”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Baidu [Spider], Bing [Bot] and 4 guests