New owner questions

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!
bonnibel
Bluey Beginner
Bluey Beginner
Posts: 10
Joined: Tue Jan 14, 2020 10:11 am
Country: USA
Location: Michigan

New owner questions

Postby bonnibel » Tue Jan 14, 2020 10:26 am

Hello! I am new to this forum and have found it lots of help while researching for my skink, and now I have her and I couldn't be more happy! "She" (not confirmed) is a halmahera around 3-4 months old and I have some quick questions I couldn't find much answers on, I like to be extremely thorough with care so I just wanted some straight answers :-) !

Currently she is on her third day here and only really coming out at night for a little. I believe she is wild caught because the breeder wouldn't comment on it, so are there any things I can do to encourage her to feel safe? I read up and since she is in a 40 gal breeder glass enclosure I am thinking covering 2 of the sides will help with security, but can I cover them with anything? I was thinking of taking cardboard to the outside but I remember seeing someone suggest a specific material.

How long can her food stay out too? She hasn't eaten at all, there are some crickets in there but I can't keep track if any have been eaten. I offer her 2 tablespoons of wet dog food (Instinct grain free) with veggies & cut up earth worms mixed in. Normally I have kept it in for 2 hours but she doesn't even seem to know its there. I am wondering if theres something I can put out overnight so she will see the dish and realize that's where it is.

When is it okay to handle her? I know you should leave a reptile alone the first few days and I have other than misting and moisturizing her substrate, but I have not disturbed the hide she likes to burrow in at all and I'm worried it may be too dry in there since I hear some little sneezes at night. I would really like to pick up the hide and put some moss in there or just really mist that substrate but sometimes even when I open the enclosure she hisses. She seems very afraid of anything, if I get up when she is out at night she will immediately go back in. I think I may just have to be more patient for when she comes around to me because she may be wild caught and not have much human interaction in her past but I'd really like to at least check that hide.

Lastly, my enclosure is really well ventilated which doesn't help with keeping in humidity. I am getting a fogger soon since from what I've researched halmaheras need higher humidity and with how rare BTS are I couldn't guarantee what species before I found one. But with that being said, I mist like crazy now. Is there anything I can cover the screen top with a little to keep in humidity? I was thinking of only covering the half where there are no lights, but does that still allow proper ventilation?

Sorry for so much and if I sound like an idiot, a skink has been my dream lizard for a long time and I tried to do as much research and prep before but I want to give her the best possible care and these questions have been killing me!
bonnibel
Bluey Beginner
Bluey Beginner
Posts: 10
Joined: Tue Jan 14, 2020 10:11 am
Country: USA
Location: Michigan

Re: New owner questions

Postby bonnibel » Tue Jan 14, 2020 1:06 pm

Small update since I made this, I lifted up her hide to show her food was there and she eventually ate when I left her alone. She didnt eat much, I gave her 2 tbsp of wet dog food mixed with other veggies and she barely made a dent in it. I am glad she is eating but she seems overly scared of everything. Is this because she's wild caught? I am assuming it'll just take patience for her to come around but I want to help her feel comfortable in any way possible.
User avatar
splashy07
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 2402
Joined: Wed Aug 27, 2014 11:24 am
Country: USA
Location: Farmingdale,LI,NY

Re: New owner questions

Postby splashy07 » Tue Jan 14, 2020 1:30 pm

Halmaheras are 99.9 percent imported, only way he could have been born here is if he was born of a gravid female import. Humidity should be 80+. I would not leave loose crickets in the cage. Crickets are nasty little critters and could chew on him at night. The prey could become the predator. Offer live food with tongs or immobilize them and leave in a dish. I would not leave food in the cage at night, you don't want him eating when unable to bask and digest properly. Don't worry about messing around in his cage to make humid hides, etc. Do everything at once then leave him alone to settle in. Years back when I used glass cages I would cover the back and sides with black construction paper. When I kept halys I'd cover the entire screen except for the light to keep the humidity in. A large water bowl also helps. Make sure it is shallow being he is small. Let me know if I missed anything, and welcome and good luck with your new baby!
bonnibel
Bluey Beginner
Bluey Beginner
Posts: 10
Joined: Tue Jan 14, 2020 10:11 am
Country: USA
Location: Michigan

Re: New owner questions

Postby bonnibel » Tue Jan 14, 2020 1:40 pm

splashy07 wrote:Halmaheras are 99.9 percent imported, only way he could have been born here is if he was born of a gravid female import. Humidity should be 80+. I would not leave loose crickets in the cage. Crickets are nasty little critters and could chew on him at night. The prey could become the predator. Offer live food with tongs or immobilize them and leave in a dish. I would not leave food in the cage at night, you don't want him eating when unable to bask and digest properly. Don't worry about messing around in his cage to make humid hides, etc. Do everything at once then leave him alone to settle in. Years back when I used glass cages I would cover the back and sides with black construction paper. When I kept halys I'd cover the entire screen except for the light to keep the humidity in. A large water bowl also helps. Make sure it is shallow being he is small. Let me know if I missed anything, and welcome and good luck with your new baby!

thank you so much for the reply! Definitely need to go in there and get all the crickets out, I was worried that might be the case but I'm glad you said so! It seems like I will just have to get her out of her hide when it's feeding time, she ate a little today but is probably too scared about everything to really eat. Hopefully keeping a routine will get her used to it! Definitely gonna get a bigger water bowl and for now i have 1/2 of the enclosures lid, is there anything good that you recommend covering it with for moisture? Right now I have a large thin hardcovered book just to seal it kind of. Thanks again!!
User avatar
mb606587
ADMIN
ADMIN
Posts: 933
Joined: Sat Jul 21, 2018 10:11 pm
Country: USA
Location: Philadelphia

Re: New owner questions

Postby mb606587 » Tue Jan 14, 2020 1:47 pm

Your Halmahera is most definitely wild caught or farmed so it will likely need some time to acclimate. Best thing you can do is leave it alone for the time being. You can cover the sides with cardboard. I'd probably just cut some black or brown construction paper and tape it on for ease.

It's normal for your skink to be flighty and hissy. That's actually a healthy response. It'd be much more concerning if it was lethargic and not responsive. It may take a bit before it starts eating for you as that's a stress response. Just keep offering food everyday and remove after a few hours if uneaten. I wouldn't begin handling regularly until it begins eating consistently. Also make sure your basking temperature is hot enough to aid digestion and stimulate the feeding response. Ensure it is over 100 degrees Fahrenheit with the cool zone in the low 80's to 70's.

With a Halmahera skink, it's important to monitor humidity with a digital hygrometer. A rule of thumb is to keep the humidity over 80%. Coco coir is an excellent substrate for high humidity enclosures and sphagnum moss is recommended. You can use aluminum foil tape to tape off the screen to maintain the humidity. Leave a small square (mine are 5"×5") left uncovered to allow for some ventilation. Consider putting some springtails in the enclosure to consume any mold that often grows in a hot and humid terrarium.

Start searching for a qualified reptile vet now. Imported skinks tend to suffer from any number of health ailments caused by the exportation process so just be prepared before an issue may arise. It is universally recommended that all imports are checked for internal parasites through a fecal examination, being how common the issue is.
User avatar
mb606587
ADMIN
ADMIN
Posts: 933
Joined: Sat Jul 21, 2018 10:11 pm
Country: USA
Location: Philadelphia

Re: New owner questions

Postby mb606587 » Tue Jan 14, 2020 1:49 pm

Aaah seems splashy just beat me to it with mostly the same advice
bonnibel
Bluey Beginner
Bluey Beginner
Posts: 10
Joined: Tue Jan 14, 2020 10:11 am
Country: USA
Location: Michigan

Re: New owner questions

Postby bonnibel » Tue Jan 14, 2020 1:59 pm

mb606587 wrote:Your Halmahera is most definitely wild caught or farmed so it will likely need some time to acclimate. Best thing you can do is leave it alone for the time being. You can cover the sides with cardboard. I'd probably just cut some black or brown construction paper and tape it on for ease.

It's normal for your skink to be flighty and hissy. That's actually a healthy response. It'd be much more concerning if it was lethargic and not responsive. It may take a bit before it starts eating for you as that's a stress response. Just keep offering food everyday and remove after a few hours if uneaten. I wouldn't begin handling regularly until it begins eating consistently. Also make sure your basking temperature is hot enough to aid digestion and stimulate the feeding response. Ensure it is over 100 degrees Fahrenheit with the cool zone in the low 80's to 70's.

With a Halmahera skink, it's important to monitor humidity with a digital hygrometer. A rule of thumb is to keep the humidity over 80%. Coco coir is an excellent substrate for high humidity enclosures and sphagnum moss is recommended. You can use aluminum foil tape to tape off the screen to maintain the humidity. Leave a small square (mine are 5"×5") left uncovered to allow for some ventilation. Consider putting some springtails in the enclosure to consume any mold that often grows in a hot and humid terrarium.

Start searching for a qualified reptile vet now. Imported skinks tend to suffer from any number of health ailments caused by the exportation process so just be prepared before an issue may arise. It is universally recommended that all imports are checked for internal parasites through a fecal examination, being how common the issue is.

Thank you for the reply! For now to keep up the humidity I am misting the whole enclosure a lot, luckily I am home for the next few days and I am getting a fogger tomorrow to make sure the humidity stays up even when I can't mist it always! Covering part of the screen lid has already made wonders of a difference in keeping in the humidity.

I am definitely not over eager to begin handling, especially since she is wild caught I know it'll take a while until she comes around to the new environment let alone me. I know a reptile store that has given me good vet referrals before so I am going to get them again & call around. When should I take her to the vet? Is it an ASAP thing to get her checked out or do I wait until after she is comfortable with handling? I was going to go to the vet for a wellness check when she got used to me but I hadn't even realized that since she's specifically wild caught that's crucial!

For now I am going to cover the sides of her enclosure and get a fogger tomorrow for the humidity then leave her completely alone for a while. Just want to be sure everything is perfect, I have been leaving her alone for three days except feeding & misting but today I have been in there a lot (Not handling at all but moving things to make sure no substrate is dry)
But I plan to get a couple substrates to mix together and add a couple inches on top what she has thats already moistened and adding moss, I will definitely look into springtails!
bonnibel
Bluey Beginner
Bluey Beginner
Posts: 10
Joined: Tue Jan 14, 2020 10:11 am
Country: USA
Location: Michigan

Re: New owner questions

Postby bonnibel » Tue Jan 14, 2020 2:00 pm

mb606587 wrote:Aaah seems splashy just beat me to it with mostly the same advice

The more information the merrier :D
User avatar
mb606587
ADMIN
ADMIN
Posts: 933
Joined: Sat Jul 21, 2018 10:11 pm
Country: USA
Location: Philadelphia

Re: New owner questions

Postby mb606587 » Tue Jan 14, 2020 2:09 pm

Unless your skink is overly thin, as in visible bones protruding, a vet trip is not so urgent that it needs to be done ASAP. Waiting until the skink acclimates a bit is okay.
bonnibel
Bluey Beginner
Bluey Beginner
Posts: 10
Joined: Tue Jan 14, 2020 10:11 am
Country: USA
Location: Michigan

Re: New owner questions

Postby bonnibel » Tue Jan 14, 2020 7:17 pm

mb606587 wrote:Unless your skink is overly thin, as in visible bones protruding, a vet trip is not so urgent that it needs to be done ASAP. Waiting until the skink acclimates a bit is okay.

One more quick question that occurred to me.. Should I be lifting up her hides when it's feeding time to show her? That was the only way she ate today but I want to leave her alone if possible. I don't think she will come out on her own since she's so scared.
User avatar
mb606587
ADMIN
ADMIN
Posts: 933
Joined: Sat Jul 21, 2018 10:11 pm
Country: USA
Location: Philadelphia

Re: New owner questions

Postby mb606587 » Tue Jan 14, 2020 10:02 pm

Sure, especially if she's coming out to eat it. A good way for the skink to begin associating you with food.
SRH
Bluey Beginner
Bluey Beginner
Posts: 2
Joined: Thu Jan 16, 2020 4:45 pm
Country: USA

Re: New owner questions

Postby SRH » Thu Jan 16, 2020 5:13 pm

I also have a Halmahera that I rescued. They Huff quite a but since I have to get in there I just be very respectful of his space. I make sure he can see me and even if he huffs I still slowly run my finger down his back and he does stop. Again, though I am respecting his space and body language. Hand feeding is also helpful and a clear routine that they can follow. It takes time but soon you will be greated.

For the humidity I did not block all the air vents I run a humidifier piped directly in 2 hrs before lights on and 2 hrs after lights out. I also have a drip system into a central pool for the daytime. It keeps the humidity dip to 50% and the highest 95ish. He also likes to drink from the dripper.

They are definitely hard at first but you will get the routine down in no time

Return to “General Discussion and FAQ”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Majestic-12 [Bot] and 8 guests