how to get an aggressive sick BTS to the vet

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Remi
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how to get an aggressive sick BTS to the vet

Postby Remi » Thu Jan 23, 2020 1:28 am

Hi, I am a new reptile owner and have purchased an Indonesian blue tongue skink. She is 6.5 months old currently and took her home 3 weeks ago. She settled pretty quickly so after a week and a half my partner and I started to handle her to tame her. We have been very careful to use antibacterial gel before and after touching her. She didn’t like it but took to handling pretty well and slowly stopped hissing so much. She even let us stroke her back a little. She also didn’t seem as annoyed anymore when we picked her up and calmed down very quick as we gave her some banana as a treat to win her over.

The other day when I handled her I noticed she had diarrhoea and there were small worms in it. She also started refusing food so we made an appointment at the vet for de-worming. The following day when we went to take her out, she was super aggressive, hissing loads and attempted to bite my partner. She has never tried to bite any time before. We decided to leave her alone as we were worried she was being aggressive because she was sick. Now any time we go anywhere near the vivarium she begins hissing and if we try put our hands in she tries to bite. It is such a compete change in her behaviour I’m assuming it must be because she’s unwell?

She is due at the vet tomorrow morning for de-worming but she’s so aggressive at the moment we don’t know how to get her out her vivarium in order to take her to the vet? And also how will we give her medication when we can’t even touch her? Any advice please? I’m really worried about her!
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Re: how to get an aggressive sick BTS to the vet

Postby mb606587 » Thu Jan 23, 2020 3:10 am

Thick gloves, such as welding gloves. It's how handlers work with some of the more aggressive varanids, which can actually seriously hurt a handler. In some cases, they'll settle down once removed from the enclosure.
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Re: how to get an aggressive sick BTS to the vet

Postby mb606587 » Thu Jan 23, 2020 3:22 am

An old trick dirty sellers sometimes employ with aggressive reptiles is cooling them off. The reason being is they present as lethargic until the body temperature warms up. You could try scheduling an early morning appointment so that your skink can be removed before the enclosure fully warms during the day.
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Re: how to get an aggressive sick BTS to the vet

Postby kingofnobbys » Thu Jan 23, 2020 3:31 am

I've seen rescuers and zoo keepers ( Gosford Reptile Park and at croc farms in the Far NW , NT and far NQLD ) use the a very simple approach to calm and easily handle wild crocs, wild goannas , big wild dragons and big wild skinks , who are very bitey or scratchy .

Essentially all need is a bath towel or a cloth bag ( like unwashed potatoes in bulk might be found in, used to be called sugar bags / hessian bags here in Australia when I was kid in the 60s and 70s , every fisherman had one in their bucket or fishing shoulder bag for putting their catch in) .
A pillow case will work too.

Simply wait for the bitey skink to be in an open area in it's tank and just drop the towel or bag over the lizard , and then pick up the lizard with the bag or towel covering it, and deposit the lizard and towel/bag in a suitable sized tub with a clip lock lid .
Could even turn the bag inside out so the skink winds up inside the bag , and the fold over the loose end so the skink can't find it's way out and transport the skink the bag in a tub to the vet.

This is much less stressful way of handling a less than tame lizard or wild lizard.
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Re: how to get an aggressive sick BTS to the vet

Postby Remi » Thu Jan 23, 2020 11:53 am

Thanks for the advice! I’ll definitely give these a go when getting to the vet tomorrow!

I am quite worried about her dramatic behaviour change…we noticed the worms on Sunday night so didn’t handle her Monday. Then on Tuesday was when she suddenly changed and became very aggressive. She was relatively docile before and now keeps acting aggressive. She’s also not moving around very much. Just sits in one spot and if anyone comes near starts huffing with her chest loads and hissing.

Is it normal for them to get aggressive with worms or is it a sign something more serious is wrong? Only had her 2.5 weeks so not sure what to look out for!
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Re: how to get an aggressive sick BTS to the vet

Postby mb606587 » Thu Jan 23, 2020 12:30 pm

So typically aggression isn't associated with a parasite load. It's actually quite the opposite that when the skink is on death's bed, it becomes lethargic and unresponsive to any movement or touch. Aggression or a will to fight back is sometimes a positive in a sick skink. And instinctively an ill skink may spend more time in the basking area. I know you didn't clarify where your skink is staying put at but that could be the case. But don't delay on getting it to the vet. Based on your observation, it assuredly will need dewormers and hopefully the temperament will come back around with a clean bill of health.
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Re: how to get an aggressive sick BTS to the vet

Postby Remi » Thu Jan 23, 2020 12:45 pm

Thanks for clarifying! She’s definitely fighting back so glad that it’s not a sign of the parasite infection being serious. No idea what has caused her sudden change in behaviour but hopefully deworming will sort it. She hasn’t particular been in the basking area either in her hide or in the middle of her vivarium.

She is seeing the vet first thing tomorrow!
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Re: how to get an aggressive sick BTS to the vet

Postby kingofnobbys » Thu Jan 23, 2020 10:05 pm

Remi wrote:Thanks for the advice! I’ll definitely give these a go when getting to the vet tomorrow!

I am quite worried about her dramatic behaviour change…we noticed the worms on Sunday night so didn’t handle her Monday. Then on Tuesday was when she suddenly changed and became very aggressive. She was relatively docile before and now keeps acting aggressive. She’s also not moving around very much. Just sits in one spot and if anyone comes near starts huffing with her chest loads and hissing.

Is it normal for them to get aggressive with worms or is it a sign something more serious is wrong? Only had her 2.5 weeks so not sure what to look out for!


One my friends had similar sudden change in temperament in the BT at one time , turned out the skink had a painful desease and suddenly started being aggressive and bitey because it was in severe pain ( kidney failure ? fatty liver desease ? , can't remember the exact cause of the problem , but the prognosis wasn't good ).

Good luck.

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