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Help put my mind at ease

Posted: Tue Apr 17, 2012 11:03 am
by Strike
Hi Everyone,

I'm probably just a worried skink owner but I was hoping a more experienced owner could put my mind at ease. I've had Digger since last October. When I got him (he's a confirmed him from dropped sperm plugs) I'm not sure how old he was as he's seems fully grown (22-23 inches long). In the last week I've notice a change in behaviour. Less active more hiding in his cave. His eating has reduced and he's no longer bright orange on his belly. From what I've read shedding can turn a skink grumpy, mess with its eating patterns and change the color of the skink. Digger has shed once since I've had him. The first time I noticed the duller appearance but missed the belly color. Woke up one day and the tank was a mess with parts of skin everywhere. This hasn't happened yet. I'd say the eating and behaviour change started about a week ago approximately. I didn't notice the lack of belly color until last Saturday. I’ve taken a good look at Digger and I can’t see any signs that the shed is starting (besides the change in color) That is what worries me and I’m probably worrying for no reason (I can thank my mother for that trait).

Besides the above the only other odd thing was last night when he was out for a walk (which from 2 weeks ago he was less curious normally he inspects everything in the room) he looked like he tried awfully hard to poop but didn’t poop. It was rather funny because he half mounted my laptop bag and did his tail arch, then dropped a pair of sperm plugs on it instead. Now I know no food in means no poop out but what I don’t know are the signs of an intestinal blockage besides not pooping.

I also watch him via a webcam sometimes while I’m at work to keep an eye on him. Right now his back end and tail are on the basking tile with his head pointed down hill since its raised up a bit asleep.

Am I just worrying a little much?

Environmental info:
He’s in a glass 50 gallon tank (not a breeder)
Basking area with proper heat (I’ll need to double check it but it shouldn’t have changed. He does bask there) UVB bulbs (I’ll be replacing one soon)
Room Temp is kept at 73 degrees at the lowest
Coconut husk bedding

Cesar’s Dog food slices not pate (steak/beef, Turkey, chicken flavours I try switch it up weekly)
Belgian Endives
Home grown Dandy lion greens (These were grown indoors from seeds harvested from my lawn. No outdoor leaves were ever fed and I haven't used any lawn chemicals in 2 years)
Squash (although that’s a hard sell)
Offered some bearded dragon diet but didn’t seem to care for it so stopped.

Re: Help put my mind at ease

Posted: Tue Apr 17, 2012 12:10 pm
by Linnea
one week of hiding, not pooping, being more easily scared or angered, dull colour - all signs of regular shedding.

they drop sperm plugs even if they dont poop. as you said, no food no poop and then the only thing that can come out are the sperm plugs.

Re: Help put my mind at ease

Posted: Tue Apr 17, 2012 10:59 pm
by Fatal_S
First, I am in no way an expert or medically knowledgable, so this is merely some basic thoughts regarding poop.

I would offer your skink egg and/or banana. These foods are often loved (even with a skink who's being picky) and they have an added effect of causing quick, messy, smelly poops. That can help to alleviate worries regarding impaction.

It is possible that everything is simply due to a shed and that he'll be back to his normal self afterwards. Depending on your location (are you in Australia?) your skink could also be attempting to brumate for the winter. These are the typical causes for lethargy and not eating.

In regards to the poop issue it could be that he was only trying for the plugs, or that there was nothing else to go, or he could be bunged up. Without having seen the issue in person I won't attempt to diagnose anything. I'll suggest trying the egg/banana trick and letting us know what happens. Obviously if you're very concerned get help from a reptile-vet. Other, more experience/qualified, members may have better advice. Good luck.

Re: Help put my mind at ease

Posted: Wed Apr 18, 2012 6:08 am
by Strike
Thanks Fatal_S and Linnea. I'll keep an eye on him. To my delight he had a small bite to eat today :)