When Skinks Bite

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April_Snow
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When Skinks Bite

Postby April_Snow » Fri Jul 27, 2012 11:37 am

Okay so my skink got me last night pretty good. The tip of my right pointer finger is broken. He actually managed to crack the bone in half before I could pry his mouth open and off me. He didn't break the skin thankfully but now my finger hurts like crazy.

He tried to bite me this morning. What I'm worried about is if he's realized that by biting, it makes me leave him alone.

Will he continue to bite now as he found out it makes me put him back down? I just picked him up a few minutes ago and he was okay. He huffed & puffed away at me and gave me the stink eye but didn't bite. I'm pretty determined to tame him and make him all friendly. I want to be able to spend time with him out of his enclosure but not if it means he will use me as a chew toy.

Any thoughts, advice, comments? You guys are my only source for bluey info. I live in a very small rural farming area. So any and all info I need will be coming from this forum. So please don't post a response with guesses or making stuff up. My skink's survival and well-being may depend on it.

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Re: When Skinks Bite

Postby Jeff » Fri Jul 27, 2012 12:46 pm

Are you saying the bone in your finger is actually broken? Did you have it x-ray'd? Adults can give a powerful bite, but I have never heard of one breaking a bone. That is pretty impressive.

The only way I am aware of to make a skink more tolerant of handling is to handle it. If it is biting, it is out of instinct. You have to teach it that handling won't hurt him. People have many different ways of dealing with an defensive/aggressive bts, but if I want to make one less aggressive, I just handle it regularly. No tricks or special method, just handle it every day if possible, increasing the length of time each day. Generally, once you have the skink in your hands, they don't try to bite. Really aggressive skinks will still try sometimes, but if you keep your eyes on him, you can usually read the body language and see it coming in time to reposition the skink or move whatever part of you that he is about to bite.

I am also moving this to the General Discussion Forum because it is not an advanced topic, and more people will see it there anyway.
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Re: When Skinks Bite

Postby Linnea » Fri Jul 27, 2012 1:04 pm

if you have broken the bone, you need to see a doctor rght away. it can get very bad with an open/cracked bone that is left untended, even inside with no skin open.
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Re: When Skinks Bite

Postby Richard.C » Fri Jul 27, 2012 5:49 pm

perhaps he was trying to say its quite rude to point at him,lol

how have u come to the conclusion that your finger tip is broken ,the reason i ask is ive had similar bites,one in particular grabs pinky finger and held on for around 20 mins,anything we tried made it clamp harder,it hurt,bled on both sides but finger tip bone was fine

in the end relaxing and leaving it be rekaxed it enough to let go

as to taming yours,remember its scared of you,not being aggressive but using its natural instinct of self defence when it feels threatened

give it time,it has to learn it can trust you,some take longer than others,some may also never be fully tame,but you learn to adjust to that,most settle in time though

he wont bite u to make u put him down now,they dont learn that per say,thats natural instinct,when threat display and hissing fail they bite,latch on bite usualky a last resort where they unleash there full arsonary,lol
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Re: When Skinks Bite

Postby Lea » Sat Jul 28, 2012 2:18 am

Linnea wrote:if you have broken the bone, you need to see a doctor rght away. it can get very bad with an open/cracked bone that is left untended, even inside with no skin open.


:lol: sorry, this made me laugh. Umm, any doctor of any good standing, would send you home with your tail between your legs. Aside from complete amputation :wink: not much can be done for a broken finger, except RICE. Rest,Ice, Compression (for swelling) and Elevation.

If its really giving you pain and discomfort, you'll just have to have the whole thing taken off.

Let's just hope you can tame your skink before you end up with ten little stumpies. :wink:

But, as Richard says, the bite is usually out of fear or just investigative, to see if your worth eating.kind of like a shark bite, only not usually fatal. :nervous:



Sorry, trying so hard not to laugh, but this is a blue tongue skink site and the poster did ask for advice on taming her skink, not her finger, which would be so OT. Just be patient, hold your skink securely around the middle, palm up, fingers making a sort of clasp around the forelegs, without getting too close to the mouth. Use you other hand to help support flailing legs or close over the top of your skink, holding firmly, but not tightly. Hold him close to a solid surface, don't walk around too much in the beginning, at least, this gives too much information to process and the skink can start to wriggle out of fear because what was all close and still in his enclosure, is now far away and swinging to and from, like a roundabout.

If he's really new, allow some settling in time, a week or so. After that, just placing a hand, not too close to skink, in the enclosure, allows him to see you as just another thing, not an octupussy hand that always goes In for the grab.

Patience, patience and more patience. Use light gloves if you are worried you might drop him, should he try to bite again.

Welcome. Rest your finger, I'm sure it will heal just fine.
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Re: When Skinks Bite

Postby April_Snow » Sat Jul 28, 2012 3:05 pm

Well, the reason I think it's broken was the snap, crackle, pop without the Kellogg's Rice Krispies part. And that it swelled up like a club and is purple & blue?

And I was pointing at him, I was trying to remove a stubborn ear-bag.

And I know there's nothing to be done about broken digits. Just ice and be careful not to slam it in a car door or anything :P

And no, the bluey's not an adult, as many think. He's a 4-5 month old ( I'm guessing here ) Juvenile Indo.

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Re: When Skinks Bite

Postby Jeff » Sat Jul 28, 2012 3:38 pm

If he is 4-5 months old, your finger is not broken. That would not be possible unless you have some kind of bone disease that makes your bones incredibly brittle. I hear that happens to 70 year olds soometimes. :P I would be concerned that the sound you heard was your bluey's mouth. Does he seem ok?
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Re: When Skinks Bite

Postby Linnea » Sun Jul 29, 2012 8:42 am

LeaBilby wrote:
Linnea wrote:if you have broken the bone, you need to see a doctor rght away. it can get very bad with an open/cracked bone that is left untended, even inside with no skin open.


:lol: sorry, this made me laugh. Umm, any doctor of any good standing, would send you home with your tail between your legs. Aside from complete amputation :wink: not much can be done for a broken finger, except RICE. Rest,Ice, Compression (for swelling) and Elevation.


if your doctors/nurses send you away that quick, its just different from where i live. and i assure you ive met some good doctors, and nurses.

it depends on how it is broken. if it heals a bit tilted it will be a little annoying, especially if the person is an artist or the like, so certainly a nurse can make sure it heals in place. i never said they would glue it together or the like. if it is the finger tip you want to be especially careful to help the nerve threads heal in place, since the fingertips are sensitive. its of course not a matter of life and death, but if an artist or working with the hands it is again, annoying.

A broken finger here would get a bandage of plaster to keep it in place. you see it a lot on handball players of all ages. of course along with tips alike those you wrote.
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Re: When Skinks Bite

Postby April_Snow » Sun Jul 29, 2012 10:40 am

I actually have no idea how old this guy is but my doctor did say that the bone is cracked. I don't have OI or any other brittle bone diseases. Just bad luck. My mom fractured her pelvis in 2 places and she never fell, doesn't have osteoporosis and wasn't in a car accident. Who knows how it occured. It just did. My doc just did an x-ray, found a crack lengthwise in the first section of my finger. No biggie. I've broken my digits many times. Mostly toes.

The doctors here aren't always so happy to help either. Case in point, I have needed surgery for something for about 6 years and I've only been just booked for it this september.

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Re: When Skinks Bite

Postby Richard.C » Sun Jul 29, 2012 12:18 pm

could you post a pic of your finger and the x ray,be great to see, and show what they are capable of
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Re: When Skinks Bite

Postby Cathy20 » Sun Jul 29, 2012 7:34 pm

[quote="Richard.C"]could you post a pic of your finger and the x ray,be great to see, and show what they are capable of[/quote]



I, also, would like to see this! It's very interesting to see someone actually get (slightly) injured by these mostly harmless animals.
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Re: When Skinks Bite

Postby James Wilson » Mon Aug 06, 2012 12:36 pm

April_Snow wrote:Okay so my skink got me last night pretty good. The tip of my right pointer finger is broken. He actually managed to crack the bone in half before I could pry his mouth open and off me. He didn't break the skin thankfully but now my finger hurts like crazy.


I am sure it is not broken. Just curious, are you one of those people that cracks your knuckles. I am just wondering if the skink did that to your finger thus causing that crack sound you heard.
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Re: When Skinks Bite

Postby Spindown » Tue Aug 07, 2012 6:16 pm

I'd suggest leather gloves if you are afraid of a repeat bite
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Re: When Skinks Bite

Postby Richard.C » Wed Aug 08, 2012 8:35 am

gloves to hold bluetongues seems very over kill,bare hands u have better control,if biting worries you there are ways to restrain them to prevent bites,but if not confident,gloves may be an idea whilst gaining some confidence

restraining them to prevent bites can stress them though,and if trying to gain there trust,stressing them as little as possible is the best bet,which means gentle well supported holding
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Re: When Skinks Bite

Postby James Wilson » Wed Aug 08, 2012 9:10 am

Richard.C wrote:gloves to hold bluetongues seems very over kill,bare hands u have better control,if biting worries you there are ways to restrain them to prevent bites,but if not confident,gloves may be an idea whilst gaining some confidence

restraining them to prevent bites can stress them though,and if trying to gain there trust,stressing them as little as possible is the best bet,which means gentle well supported holding


Good advice!
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Re: When Skinks Bite

Postby Lea » Wed Aug 08, 2012 9:16 pm

http://www.bluetongueskinks.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=4&t=17128&hilit=Handling

The above is a useful thread discussing handling techniques.

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Re: When Skinks Bite

Postby Joey1983 » Wed Oct 03, 2012 8:55 am

I am scared to write this.. because I will jinx myself. But my bluey has never hissed or tried to bite me. Is that normal? I thought they were pretty friendly in general.
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Re: When Skinks Bite

Postby Rhianimal » Wed Oct 03, 2012 10:56 am

Joey1983 wrote:I am scared to write this.. because I will jinx myself. But my bluey has never hissed or tried to bite me. Is that normal? I thought they were pretty friendly in general.

Depends on the skink, but typically they aren't bitey. My skink is very huffy about everything but has only nipped my fingers when they have food or smell like food. He's just greedy. He stops after he realizes there's no treat. That's why it's important to make sure you haven't been handling any food before you're handling the lizard (and you should wash your hands before anyway to keep your germs away from your skink).

Handling regularly will calm a skink down and get them more accustomed to being around you and being touched. Just need to be patient and try to keep the skink as calm as you can.
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Re: When Skinks Bite

Postby Rani-May » Wed Oct 03, 2012 4:02 pm

Joey1983 wrote:I am scared to write this.. because I will jinx myself. But my bluey has never hissed or tried to bite me. Is that normal? I thought they were pretty friendly in general.


Ive owned skinks all my life and only been bitten once *touch wood* and that was by a wild, injured adult bluey. Usually you can prevent it by the way you approach them and if they dont mistake your fingers for food XD. Like someone else said, they arent generally very bitey unless they feel threatened. Mine tend to huff a lot when they are trying to climb something but is a struggle, i don't know if thats something most peoples do, but its cute :) Apart from that, mine arent too huffy or bitey.
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Re: When Skinks Bite

Postby Dan » Wed Oct 03, 2012 5:33 pm

Mine are like a cross between an alligator and a tortoise and you never know which one you're gonna get. I get a lot more exploratory nips as far as biting, but huffing ranges from a perturbed sigh from my Irian Jaya to a gaped-mouth lunging defensive display from my young Northern. I've really tried to take Richard's advice to let my lizards set the pace when it comes to bonding. (Speaking of which, Richard, I'd still like to see photos/video of the dozen or so blueys climbing your pant legs. I've wanted to see it since I heard about this spectacle months ago while yours were brumating.) Give your skink a reason to want to know you and be handled, so offer treats. Don't rush holding and don't restrain him too tightly if you do. If he struggles to get away, let him explore a bit. It's OK if he doesn't want to play Madden Football with you. Under optimal conditions, these can be active, inquisitive creatures, but remember that they're still animals and each has a mind of its own.

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