How often can I handle my tamed and comfortable bluey?

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How often can I handle my tamed and comfortable bluey?

Postby McBoredFace » Sat Dec 29, 2018 2:12 pm

So I’ve had my northern BTS since the first week of September and he and I are VERY comfortable around each other. I take him out a lot... and when I say a lot I mean when he started getting really comfortable we just kept hanging out longer and longer each week. It’s to a point where he’ll sleep in bed with me all night. Then in the morning I’ll feed him(I feed him outside his enclosure. He likes it that I basically spoon feed him... spoiled baby!) but after that we’ll chill, he’ll poop and we’ll still hang out. I’ll put him away for bit in case he’s thirsty and needs to drink something. We have a code, he knows when he goes to this one corner of the bed or couch that it means I want to go back in my room. So far I think it’s working pretty well. But still I want to be sure I’m not taking him out TOO much. So if anyone knows the limit that would be extremely helpful :) thank you so much.
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Re: How often can I handle my tamed and comfortable bluey?

Postby mb606587 » Sat Dec 29, 2018 2:41 pm

He really shouldn't be sleeping with you...I would stop that behavior. Not only can it be dangerous if you were to roll over onto him, but many BTS have taken leaps off of high areas. You wouldn't want him to be injured from a fall or managing to escape somewhere while unsupervised. While I think its great that you prioritize so much time spent with your BTS, I would also be concerned about him spending too much time outside the enclosure. Being from Philadelphia myself, I know how cold it is here. Its not healthy to be feeding your BTS and allowing him to begin digestion in a cool state. They need heat to regulate bodily function, hence why we recommend a basking area over 100 degrees. So at the very least I would be placing him back into the enclosure for a few hours after feeding. On hot summer days, I spend many hours outside rotating my guys in and out of the garden (supervised of course). They'll sit on my shoulder or in my lap for several hours at a time while I drink my coffee and watch the world go by. But in the winter, I limit my handling to shorter sessions and that's my advice to you.
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Re: How often can I handle my tamed and comfortable bluey?

Postby kingofnobbys » Sat Dec 29, 2018 9:04 pm

Definlitely a bad idea to sleep with the skink in the bed with you, all too easy to roll over ontop him and do serious injuries to him or even suffocate him by crushing his chest.

Other than that , my approach is a much time with me or out to explore as I can manage provided the skink gets enough time to bask/warm up and metabolise it's dietary calcium and food and to gets sufficient UV.

2 hours basking after a meal is IMO the minimum.
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Re: How often can I handle my tamed and comfortable bluey?

Postby McBoredFace » Sun Dec 30, 2018 10:49 am

Thank you so much :) so after he eats put him away for at least a few hours, then I can take him back out and let him sleep in his own enclosure. Got it :)
Although I am going to miss waking up to him snuggling my feet lol
Okay, thanks so much guys!
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Re: How often can I handle my tamed and comfortable bluey?

Postby McBoredFace » Sun Dec 30, 2018 10:52 am

Oh one more thing! I know they need all this heat but for some reason he’s always under his water bottle and freezing! He usually never basks! I thought maybe because it’s winter he’s doing that? But That’s another reason I’ve had him out so much cause I figured snuggling me is probably warmer then the cold spot under his water bottle where he likes to sleep lol
So is that normal that he’s got a nice warm enclosure but goes to the coldest areas? I don’t even think his enclosure is too hot either, if anything I think I could heat it up a bit more!
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Re: How often can I handle my tamed and comfortable bluey?

Postby mb606587 » Sun Dec 30, 2018 11:25 am

His water bottle? I'm assuming you're using one of those bottles that automatically refill the water bowl, please tell me not like one a rabbit or ferret would use? And what exactly are your temperatures since you admit they are a bit low? If your BTS is chronically cold, he is going to be fairly inactive. They tend to become most active when their body temperatures reach 90 degrees. As I said, the basking area should be at least 100 degrees. And yes, most BTS tend to spend more time burrowed away and eat less during the winter months when temperatures noticeably drop.
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Re: How often can I handle my tamed and comfortable bluey?

Postby McBoredFace » Sun Dec 30, 2018 12:46 pm

Lol yeah I should clarify it’s not a rodent water bottle! It’s flat with a dish and has an upside down bottle attached to it! He always claws underneath where it’s the coldest in his enclosure. So the cool side where the bottle is is like 83-85 F and the hot side is in the 90’s and the basking spot is about 105-110F and he’s always under the water bottle. Now I know they brumate in the winter but there’s this one breeder I watch on YouTube who’s pretty good and he tries to not let his skinks Brumaire the first year and they end up growing way nicer! So I wanted to try it. But my baby seems like he’s still trying pretty hard to Brumate lol
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Re: How often can I handle my tamed and comfortable bluey?

Postby mb606587 » Sun Dec 30, 2018 2:18 pm

Haha I figured that's the one you were using but had to ask. I'm assuming you're referring to TC Houston. Yeah sometimes you can't stop them from brumating but they'll typically put the weight back on without issue, although correct me if I'm mistaken, I thought you stated that yours is still eating regularly. Your temps are not low at all! If anything they may be a bit high. Try dropping the cool side down 5 to 10 degrees and see if that promotes more basking behavior. Same with the basking temps. While many gigas species bask at 110 degrees and higher, Northerns can be a bit more variable. Some like it hotter, others might do better around 100 degrees. Dimmer switches work great for controlling heat output or you could try using a lower watt heat bulb and figure out what your skink prefers.
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Re: How often can I handle my tamed and comfortable bluey?

Postby McBoredFace » Sun Dec 30, 2018 4:01 pm

Lol yeah TC Houston, there’s something about him that screams arrogance but at the same time I’ve learned a lot from him.
I’ll definitely lower the heat! Wow I thought it was low lol
Alright so I’ll lower that a little bit. Thanks a lot, I really appreciate it. I get so scared having to use the forums because of how rude people can be on here. I always respect someone who’s kind to a noobie.
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Re: How often can I handle my tamed and comfortable bluey?

Postby mb606587 » Sun Dec 30, 2018 6:22 pm

No problem. I think TC's videos on YouTube are full of excellent information so good starting point. And please don't feel intimidated to come learn and ask questions here. There are many excellent people that regularly contribute on this forum and would love nothing more than to help. I see alot of snarkiness and rude comments on Facebook and I'm happy to say we don't have much of that here. We all started out asking the same questions and making the same mistakes so I try to remember where I came from. But you're from Philly so I'm sure you can handle a bit of rudeness :wink:

PS. What are you using to measure your temperatures? Digital probes and temperature guns are widely regarded as the most reliable. The pet store dials are generally regarded as the worst and not always accurate.
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Re: How often can I handle my tamed and comfortable bluey?

Postby kingofnobbys » Sun Dec 30, 2018 8:08 pm

Trouble with hot water bottles is they quickly loose the heat and become cold water bottles.

I think if you are a place where it can be very chilly inside the house (and therefore inside the tank) your skink will definitely benefit from a heat source for overnight ( a ceramic heat emitter on a thermostat hung under a solid timber lid , the CHE will radiate heat and warm the air (which will be forced to circulate under a solid lid rather than simply being immediately lost - warm air rises) .

A heat pad sandwiched between 2 layers of tiles (also controlled by a separate thermostat) will also be appreciated by the skink, it could be left on 24/7 and the skink will soon find the warmed area and make use of it.
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Re: How often can I handle my tamed and comfortable bluey?

Postby mb606587 » Sun Dec 30, 2018 8:32 pm

Kingofnobbys, the water bottle isn't used for heat, just to refill the water bowl. I suspect the skink isn't basking and claws underneath the water bowl because the temps may be a little high. At extremes, 110 basking spot and 85 cool zone is a bit warm if you ask me. As for your recommendation for the tiles and heat mat, I am doing something very similar with heat tape sandwiched in between tiles, so I think it can be a good idea, but not necessary if temperatures don't drop under 65 or even 60 in some cases. In my case, I have skinks in my basement, the coldest room in the house. Temps are dropping as low as 64 overnight so I'm preparing just in case it gets lower.
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Re: How often can I handle my tamed and comfortable bluey?

Postby McBoredFace » Wed Jan 02, 2019 7:06 am

I do have the probes and temp gun to measure the heat. And he does have a heat mat under his tank but I have nothing but a reptile carpet over it. So it doesn’t reach through the carpet and when he climbs under the carpet I’m afraid it’s too hot for him... I do have a ceramic heater for at night but I haven’t used it in a bit since he just keeps going under the water bottle anyway. I’ll turn the heat down a little bit. And I would really like to get a tile to place over the heat mat. Where do I get a really cheap one? Also I want to get either a separate rock to file his nails on or a rougher tile he can file his nails on. I know you can find a rock from outside and bake it but it’s going to take up way too much room to get the tile and the rock. Do they have like a nice tile I can put in that will file his nails too? Or should I just do the rock?
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Re: How often can I handle my tamed and comfortable bluey?

Postby kingofnobbys » Wed Jan 02, 2019 7:58 am

McBoredFace wrote:I do have the probes and temp gun to measure the heat. And he does have a heat mat under his tank but I have nothing but a reptile carpet over it. So it doesn’t reach through the carpet and when he climbs under the carpet I’m afraid it’s too hot for him... I do have a ceramic heater for at night but I haven’t used it in a bit since he just keeps going under the water bottle anyway. I’ll turn the heat down a little bit. And I would really like to get a tile to place over the heat mat. Where do I get a really cheap one? Also I want to get either a separate rock to file his nails on or a rougher tile he can file his nails on. I know you can find a rock from outside and bake it but it’s going to take up way too much room to get the tile and the rock. Do they have like a nice tile I can put in that will file his nails too? Or should I just do the rock?


Home materials recyclers would be a good place to try .

Try Ebay , the tiles (2x) need to be a little longer and wider than the heatpad . One tile on each side of the heat pad will work well (a tile sandwich).

Any tile shop will have sample tiles you can buy (1 or 2 of to take home), these are sold pretty cheap.
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Re: How often can I handle my tamed and comfortable bluey?

Postby mb606587 » Wed Jan 02, 2019 10:05 am

The Home Depot in Cheltenham and Lowes in Plymouth Meeting is where I buy everything! You can get tiles and all assortments of flat rocks in the garden section. I would also be concerned about your BTS laying on the glass directly on top of the heat pad. I would only really recommend those for night use if temperatures drop into the danger zone. And hopefully you have it on a thermostat since again there's not much between your lizard and the mat if it were to overheat, which some do.

I'm more of a proponent of a tile or flat rock directly under the heat light. You can do the "tile sandwich" with the heat mat but I'd turn the heat mat off during the day and wouldn't even run it during the summer, only cold winter nights. As for your reptile carpet, I think your skink would benefit from a few inches of substrate. I think Zoomed Forest Floor or reptibark would be my recommendations.
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Re: How often can I handle my tamed and comfortable bluey?

Postby splashy07 » Wed Jan 02, 2019 10:14 am

Totally agree with above post, and to add about reptile carpet...I wouldn't use for any lizard that likes to dig/burrow. Tiny fibers will come loose and wrap around their nails and toes, causing another problem in what is already considered a problem area. Fine for some, such as anoles, geckos and snakes...but not for others. And absolutely NO under tank heaters on glass without thermostat.
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Re: How often can I handle my tamed and comfortable bluey?

Postby McBoredFace » Tue Jan 08, 2019 2:02 pm

So he can’t be on the glass but I shouldn’t use a carpet either? And what if he borrows through the substrate to the glass? Is there something similar to the carpet or maybe covering the whole bottom with tile? Is there anything else?

And thanks I’ll check those out for the tile. And good to know about the size! I would have gotten the wrong size lol

And I know this has nothing to do with this topic but I’d rather not start another thread when this could probably be answered easily by you guys already here.

So basically you know how it’s said when a bts huffs it’s because he’s annoyed? Well I get that but what if he’s just happily exploring and making that sound? Like does it always mean they are annoyed or is it just the general sound they make? Also I have a slight cold right now and I’m sniffling a little and sometimes he’ll notice and stop and stare at me like I’m making the sound for the same reason he does lol is this what I’m thinking or is it okay for me to make that sound without him thinking I’m mad at him? Haha
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Re: How often can I handle my tamed and comfortable bluey?

Postby mb606587 » Tue Jan 08, 2019 11:00 pm

Are you only using a heat mat or do you have a lamp and heat bulb also? If you don't have your heat mat set up with a thermostat, you shouldn't use it. The problem is that if the heat mat overheats and a thermostat isn't used to shut it off, then the glass will get too hot for your skink. If you don't have a thermostat, ditch the heat mat and just use a lamp. Put a few inches of substrate and a tile underneath the light so it gets hot. If there's no heat mat, then it's not a problem for your skink to burrow to the glass since the glass won't be hot. I think maybe posting a picture of your setup would be helpful.

As for the huffing, he's probably doing it because you're outside the enclosure and he doesn't want to be bothered. They only huff as a defense mechanism.
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Re: How often can I handle my tamed and comfortable bluey?

Postby kingofnobbys » Wed Jan 09, 2019 4:38 am

mb606587 wrote:Are you only using a heat mat or do you have a lamp and heat bulb also? If you don't have your heat mat set up with a thermostat, you shouldn't use it. The problem is that if the heat mat overheats and a thermostat isn't used to shut it off, then the glass will get too hot for your skink. If you don't have a thermostat, ditch the heat mat and just use a lamp. Put a few inches of substrate and a tile underneath the light so it gets hot. If there's no heat mat, then it's not a problem for your skink to burrow to the glass since the glass won't be hot. I think maybe posting a picture of your setup would be helpful.

As for the huffing, he's probably doing it because you're outside the enclosure and he doesn't want to be bothered. They only huff as a defense mechanism.


I concur , that's excellent advise .

All my heatpad & tile sandwiches are regulated by thermostats , I DON'T trust the built in termperature limiting cts in heatpads. If the heatpad fails (shorts ==> overheating, o/ct ==> no heat ) the result can be a burnt reptile , even a house fire , but if you have a thermostat closing the temperature control loop and there is short in the heatpad , the thermostat simply cuts the current to the pad ).
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Re: How often can I handle my tamed and comfortable bluey?

Postby McBoredFace » Wed Jan 09, 2019 6:11 am

Okay, I’ll remove the mat. But yes I have his basking bulb, uvb, and for night time if it’s too cold I have a red bulb but we don’t use it much cause the temp is usually fine.

As for the huffing, *darn so he’s a little *prissy pants then who nearly tolerates me?? After all I do for that little baby! I mean I basically spoon feed him! And get him the best of food since he’s super picky! And he huffs! What a drama king!
(Totally being sarcastic and silly by the way, I don’t really feel this way about my lovely little shmoopie lol)

Okay I do have another question by the way. He is very picky but do they not eat during the winter? Because when I first got him he ate everyday. Then it started getting cold and it was like every other day. Now he hasn’t eaten in a like a week... he’ll take a little bite cause I shove the food by his face until he licks it cause then he’ll realize he likes it and eat but he’s just taking a bite and walking away. I’ve tried different flavors and brands of the grain free natural dog foods but he’s just not hungry. When he goes to the bathroom it’s just a little white pee and 2 biiiiig balls of his sperm plugs! Way bigger than they used to be ... gross lol but no poop. Is this a problem or is this normal for the winter?

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