New owner of BTS, Tips?

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VereMyth
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New owner of BTS, Tips?

Postby VereMyth » Wed Feb 27, 2019 2:23 am

Hi all I am relatively new to herping(been at it for about 7 months now) but I just got my first Skink. After getting some Ball Pythons a Red tail Boa and some adorable little hognoses which are all doing great I wanted to diverge a little bit from snakes before setting down the "Fever." Lol

I am here to
1. introduce myself and get any tips from you experienced owners.

Any warning signs to look out for? I have read the care sheet and the FAQs.

My enclosure is fairly basic right now but I have some little things to fill the enclosure coming in the next few days.

No pictures offered at the moment because he/she is hiding a lot..
The move I think stressed he/she out a lot. I am content that they are eating at least some. They ate some blueberries and meal-worms the supplier had run out Dubia roaches unfortunately. He/she might have also eaten some Collard greens but I cannot be entirely sure. I fed them a kind of salad of collard greens a few sprinkled blueberries(About 3 or 4) and meal-worms.

Now on to what I know I was a reptile show (Repticon in Tampa bay)
I purchased from a breeder who said they were Captive bred(The only thing I was particularly concerned about)
I believe he/she is Irian Jaya as her/his coloring does not seem to match northern. I also seem to recall asking the breeder(I was super tired and failed to write this down I probably should have.) Also the example website does not seem to load properly so I can't make my own deductions.

When they get more acclimated to their environments I will take plenty of pictures

right now I can tell you that the hottest spot is 100-102 degrees F for basking which is where his/her hide is at its a ceramic/pottery hide the they may climb on top of to bask It also holds a bit of heat There is also a UTH on that side as well.
That right now is hooked up to the timer I have for night time temps so they stay at about 80F.

Something like this but not quite the same, https://www.pangeareptile.com/store/exo ... -cave.html

I use a 50g Exo-Terra low terrarium for housing(36/18/18)

I do need help getting a day lamp though right now I have an incandescent 45w heat lamp above the hide my concern is needing UVB and the day cycle If I remember correctly most reptiles can't see the "Red"? Any recommendation on a lamp with stand and clamp plus bulbs would be greatly appreciated!.

All of this is set up to a thermostat except for the lamp due to it being unnecessary after extensive testing with a temp gun. The hottest temp was clocked at about 103. The inside of the hide it hit was reading anywhere between 95-98.

I would love some feedback and if you have any problems with my setup as of right now please tell me I am not perfect just like anybody else I make mistakes however I do think the setup so far is not terribly detrimental.

One last request an reputable online live insect feeder sources? I would like to start a dubia roach colony for this little guy.
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Re: New owner of BTS, Tips?

Postby VereMyth » Wed Feb 27, 2019 12:52 pm

So I have a picture of the little guy I think his nails need trimming. But i think that should wait until he acclimates further? Hes been. Up there a good amount of the day which has me rather excited because basking seems to be a good sign of acclimating well. Its only my third day with him or her. I have a UVB light on the way with a solar glow
Bulb with the light dome from exo terra. I am slightly concerned about something though, when he got a bit active right before posting this he kind of walked sideways? Is that normal behavior? It looked like he could of been testing his boundaries in the enclosure
I could not find anything on the web about this. He also seems to breath heavily like hes taking deep breaths erratically(is this just huffing?). I am used to a snakes stressed out breathing being heavy but steady so I thought this might be similar googling has yet again provided little(besides huffing). The same goes for caresheets.
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Re: New owner of BTS, Tips?

Postby mb606587 » Wed Feb 27, 2019 1:19 pm

Welcome, I will attempt to answer all of your questions here to the best of my ability. First, do you remember the name of the breeder you purchased your skink from? There are very few people who actually breed Irian Jaya BTS, although there is one very well known breeder, Ray Gurgui from ThunderBay Herps, who attends that show and does. Many vendors at shows will pass off skinks that are CB, which in most circumstances means Captive Born as opposed to Captive Bred. Captive Born usually means that a skink has just recently been imported while already gravid and gave birth shortly after in captivity. Most Indonesian skinks you find at reptile shows are usually a result of this.

While insects are a nutritious food choice when properly gut loaded and dusted with calciums and vitamin powder, I, along with many others on this forum, personally advocate for the feeding of canned dog food as the main protein source. I have fed my skinks on that diet alone for 20 years without a single health issue, and I personally know of others who have fed that diet to skinks who have lived past 30 years. If you do decide to stick with feeder insects, I really don't have much experience with them so I'm sure somebody else on this forum could help you with that.

As for lighting, I typically buy my light fixtures from the hardware store. Any dome fixture should do the trick. The trick is finding the right wattage heat bulb to produce appropriate basking temperatures. Ideally you want a basking temperature of 100-115 degrees, and the temperature on the opposite side between 70-80 degrees. This will provide your skink with a wide range of temperature gradients allowing your skink to choose which area is appropriate for proper thermoregulation. As to UVB lighting, it is encouraged, however, not necessary if you are lightly dusting your skink's food with calcium w/d3 powder, which you should do regardless of whether you use UVB or not. It just becomes more of a priority to do so if you choose not to use the UVB.

As to your picture, it does appear to be an Irian Jaya although a better picture from directly overtop would allow me to confirm that for sure. If you have any other questions, please ask, I'm sure I'm missing something.
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Re: New owner of BTS, Tips?

Postby VereMyth » Wed Feb 27, 2019 1:50 pm

Alright, The breeder was, if I recall correctly Aquatics & Exotics. I can try to get a better overhead picture, however I did not realize Irian Jaya or I guess IJ's for short were so rare to successfully breed. This causes me no small amount of concern.

Seems I am a but too trusting though the breeder stated that the animal was captive bred I asked specifically if it was captive bred and held it on site. It reacted very friendly I have only ever been hissed at once and that was from lifting his or her hide up.

Also the scales that are white is that most likely calcium dust? Or a bigger problem... I just noticed it after taking the picture was not there while transporting home I had a whole 1 hour ride to stare at it lol.
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Re: New owner of BTS, Tips?

Postby mb606587 » Wed Feb 27, 2019 2:47 pm

Yes that is an Irian Jaya for sure. At one point in the not so distant past, almost nobody bred these guys. In more recent years, people are starting to have more and more success, although the vast majority of IJ's on the market today are not captive born and bred, so I'd be a bit skeptical of purchasing one at a reptile expo from anybody not named Ray Gurgui. Anybody breeding them would know this however, and should be able to easily provide proof and would readily do so. Anybody who can't or becomes defensive when asked would be very suspect to me.

As to the white dusting on your skink, no it wouldn't be calcium. Does it easily brush off? If so, I would closely examine your skink and the enclosure for signs of reptile mites, which spread like wildfire in those reptile expos, a reason why many reptile breeders refuse to bring their captive bred animals to those venues. The feces of the mites can be white in color. And hopefully you are quarantining your new skink away from the rest of your reptile collection. There are a number of sick and diseased reptiles that are brought to those places and bringing home one of these animals, or one that has been exposed to these animals, and placing it in close quarters with your other reptiles can have devastating consequences.
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Re: New owner of BTS, Tips?

Postby VereMyth » Wed Feb 27, 2019 4:41 pm

Thanks again for the help I did re-examine him due to the mite question I knew where to look on a snake so I started from similar areas Eyes/breathing(vents?) around the mouth moving some scales just a little bit. and there are no mites(I was sure of this when I got him/her) The white is actually a part of his or her scales..That I did no notice because it does not show unless he or she moves and spreads out the scales a certain direction. The breathing seems to be me overreacting as while holding them to examine I could feel the breathing was normal and he or she did huff at me lol. Overall I am not finding any medical problems that are obvious no mucus/bubbling/wheezing. No mites and if there are the enclosure she or he is in right now was treated with PAM not even 2 weeks prior I tend to freak out at the slightest mention and ended up doing my whole collection one day just because I thought I saw one..(Turned out to be a bit dust from the repti-bark I used at the time.)

As for the quarantine I do in fact keep my newer reptiles in separate enclosures. I am a member of a good Ball Python forum much like this one that taught me that.

I may be panicking a bit here. So far everything seems to be going alright no obvious signs of distress will make a call to my vet though and get him or her in sooner rather later for a basic exam and a fecal. If all that checks out I will decide I have a happy new edition. If not, I will do what I can to fix anything ongoing and get them back on track and still be happy. I already got the little guy, I will not give up on it >.<!
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Re: New owner of BTS, Tips?

Postby mb606587 » Wed Feb 27, 2019 5:10 pm

Yes the huffing is very normal. Nothing to be concerned about with that. I own skinks who still huff after decades of being handled by me. If you were to see your skink gaping and open mouth breathing, that would be cause for concern, as would be the signs you mentioned, but it seems that your skink by all appearances is healthy. A veterinary appointment for a routine fecal exam would be advisable when there is even a slight question as to whether the animal was possibly imported, so its probably in your best interest that you are going through with that test. Newly acquired skinks tend to be pretty shy and will frequently spend more time hiding than out in the open for the first several weeks. Their feeding response may be unpredictable as well. Some tend to refuse food for quite some time, until the stress of the relocation subsides a bit and the skink becomes more acclimated to you. A healthy adult or sub adult skink can go weeks, if not months, without eating with little adverse effect, so there isn't reason to panic, as some do, if that were to occur, although as somebody who owns ball pythons, I'm sure you are familiar with that.

Being that you own a more tropical species of Blue Tongue Skink from the island of New Guinea, it is imperative that you provide the proper humidity your skink will need to thrive. Humidity levels of 60% or higher will be ideal and your choice of substrate will aid you in achieving this. Personally, I use organic top soil mixed with generous amounts of sphagnum moss, however, you are not limited to just that. I would just advise that you avoid aspen bedding, however, you seem to have done your research so I'm sure I'm not telling you anything you don't already know. The question to using red lighting is very controversial. My OPINION on the matter is that the ill effects that most people will tell you regarding the use of such lights are a bit exaggerated. Most will tell you to avoid these lights for several reasons ranging from issues with establishing a proper sleep routine all the way to damage to your reptile's eyes. I have noticed neither after years of use, however, night heat really isn't necessary so long as the temperatures in your tank do not drop under 60 degrees. Furthermore, there are other options, ranging from under tank heat mats (which I believe you stated you use, although ensure its regulated by thermostat) to ceramic heat emitting bulbs which produce heat without any light.
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Re: New owner of BTS, Tips?

Postby VereMyth » Thu Feb 28, 2019 5:24 am

Indeed going off feed is not too much of an issue for me xD. I tend to wait until weight loss to start worrying but after seeing all the posts on here it seems its normal thankfully though this one is eating.

every single device that heats an enclosure is run by a thermostat in my collection the one exception being my heat lamp right now. Which I plant o switch to a daylight basking one simply because It will help provide some UVB, and it will look nicer while providing a better day/night gradient I have a zilla timer on for the lamp so that it does not mess up the day/night cycle. The under tank heater is only ever on if the temp drop below 75F then it kicks on at night though I may now lower that temp seeing all the responses about how tough BTS are I might just keep it for if the tank goes under 70F. I thank you for all the help good person! My next update will probably wait until I get that fecal from the vet.
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Re: New owner of BTS, Tips?

Postby Edward » Thu Feb 28, 2019 12:03 pm

:btsnet2:
Nemo me impune lacessit.

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