New skink owner question about heating

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!
skating-beans
Bluey Beginner
Bluey Beginner
Posts: 9
Joined: Fri Feb 14, 2020 2:37 am
Country: UK

New skink owner question about heating

Postby skating-beans » Fri Feb 14, 2020 3:49 pm

Hello!

I currently have a ceramic heat emitting lamp in a top back corner of my skink's viv, with a big stone underneath that he likes to bask on. I've had this as my only heat source since getting my baby several months ago, and he's been eating/pooping/etc perfectly fine so far and has no obvious health issues. The only thing I've noticed is that he likes to hide in his substrate a lot, and when I pull him out from there he feels quite chilly. But he does also bask, clearly often enough to digest properly as he always poops within 12-24 hours of having a meal.

My question is, do I need a halogen basking lamp as well? Or is the ceramic lamp enough heat for him? I'm thinking of switching to a higher wattage too, but not sure if that's necessary either.

Thanks in advance!
kingofnobbys
Bluey Devotee
Bluey Devotee
Posts: 1193
Joined: Tue Apr 04, 2017 2:17 am
Country: australia
Location: NSW

Re: New skink owner question about heating

Postby kingofnobbys » Fri Feb 14, 2020 9:27 pm

Yes & he needs a good UVA/UVB source as well.

The UVA will encourage him to be more active and promote his appetite.
The UVB IS NECESSARY as he can't produce VitD3 in his skin without it and can't properly metabolise his dietary Ca to make nice dense bones and more of himself , no UVB ==> will likely develop MBD.
The bright warm overhead light will also encourage activity and help him find his food.

So either a MVB or a halogen + T8 10% UVB (or 12% UVB) if the tank is not very tall.

L x W x H of tank ?
Mesh or solid top ?
Glass or timber or other construction ?
what species BT is he ?
How old is he ?
User avatar
alichamp
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 747
Joined: Sun Mar 08, 2015 8:50 pm
Country: Australia
Location: NSW

Re: New skink owner question about heating

Postby alichamp » Fri Feb 14, 2020 10:40 pm

Hi there!

Sounds like the heat is working well but just to be sure what are the temperatures you're getting in the enclosure at both the warm/basking end and the cool end? CHEs are good as a heat source and a bonus is that if you live in an area that gets very cool overnight you can use them as a night heat too because they don't emit light so won't mess up sleep cycles. Regarding the wattage it really depends on temperatures.

Babies do tend to 'hide', because they are small and bigger things are scary, so it doesn't surprise me that he hides in the substrate. Make sure you have a few hide options in the enclosure for him to choose from. And the rock is good but under the basking spot you could have a type of hide that he could hide in/underneath and climb on top of to bask. If he's eating well and pooping well and appears healthy, I wouldn't suggest digging him out.

In terms of lighting you have a couple of options. Yes as kingofnobbys says they do need vitamin D3 in their diet and some people provide UVA/UVB lighting for this. Others use a calcium + D3 supplement which also works well. It's up to you. If you decide to go with the supplement you could provide a standard light globe to light up the enclosure during the day if you like.

If you want some more advice of enclosure set up feel free to post a pic. And we love to see pics of BTS too so let us see. :ohyes: Do you know what species you have?
skating-beans
Bluey Beginner
Bluey Beginner
Posts: 9
Joined: Fri Feb 14, 2020 2:37 am
Country: UK

Re: New skink owner question about heating

Postby skating-beans » Sat Feb 15, 2020 2:08 am

Thanks for the replies!

I do already have a UVA/UVB tube in there which I forgot to mention in the original post, so don't worry! My mum used to work in a reptile shop and had about 20 snakes/lizards of her own at one point (her babies before me lol) so she advised me on the basic setup, but she's never kept a skink of her own as she doesn't like them much so I thought I'd better check here too.

My temps are roughly 26C/80F cool end and 32C/90F warm end, not sure what the basking rock is exactly but it always feels nice and warm when I touch it. I really want to make a warm hide that he can bask on top of for sure, that's my next project! The enclosure is made of some kind of wood with a smooth coating on it so it doesn't go mouldy, solid top and sliding glass front, can't remember exact measurements but it's either 4ftx3ftx3ft or 3ftx2ftx2ft. It was custom made by my mum when I got a royal/ball python as a kid.

As for Bean himself (or herself), he's around 7 months old, captive bred by a local reputable breeder (I'm in the UK btw) and I'm pretty sure he's a northern. Attaching pics below...
IMG_20200215_090149.jpg

IMG_20191216_155931.jpg

IMG_20191204_192520.jpg

IMG_20191201_170824.jpg
You do not have the required permissions to view the files attached to this post.
kingofnobbys
Bluey Devotee
Bluey Devotee
Posts: 1193
Joined: Tue Apr 04, 2017 2:17 am
Country: australia
Location: NSW

Re: New skink owner question about heating

Postby kingofnobbys » Sat Feb 15, 2020 3:37 am

Nice BT .

I suggest replacing the bark chips with a mixture of course coco-fibre and expanded dry coir peet ( make sure no fertilisers are in this stuff ).

Since he's a northern , he'll appreciate a 12%UVB T5 ( with a reflector hood ), try to get the basking spot about 30cm from this .
User avatar
alichamp
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 747
Joined: Sun Mar 08, 2015 8:50 pm
Country: Australia
Location: NSW

Re: New skink owner question about heating

Postby alichamp » Sat Feb 15, 2020 2:54 pm

Looks great and a beautiful northern!

I wouldn't suggest using a higher wattage as your temps are pretty good and doing the job: a higher wattage will obviously make it hotter and could jump your cool end temp up too which you don't want (ie you want to keep a nice gradient). Of course keep an eye on it as you may need to change wattage etc as the seasons change depending on your area, but the wood enclosure should keep temps more steady.

My mum used to work in a reptile shop and had about 20 snakes/lizards of her own at one point (her babies before me lol) so she advised me on the basic setup, but she's never kept a skink of her own as she doesn't like them much

Oh man, that's rough!!! :lol:
skating-beans
Bluey Beginner
Bluey Beginner
Posts: 9
Joined: Fri Feb 14, 2020 2:37 am
Country: UK

Re: New skink owner question about heating

Postby skating-beans » Sat Feb 15, 2020 3:35 pm

Thanks for the advice both of you! I was at a garden centre today and found a nice rectangular flowerpot type thing which I think will make a great warm hide + basking spot... Planning on putting it in tomorrow so will update with a picture then! I've also got him a new water dish as he keeps pooping in his and it's difficult to clean properly due to the shape :roll:

alichamp wrote:Oh man, that's rough!!! :lol:


She told me they were stinky and boring!! But I keep sending her cute pictures to try and win her over... Like these :wink:

IMG_20200215_213818.jpg

IMG_20200215_213805.jpg
You do not have the required permissions to view the files attached to this post.
skating-beans
Bluey Beginner
Bluey Beginner
Posts: 9
Joined: Fri Feb 14, 2020 2:37 am
Country: UK

Re: New skink owner question about heating

Postby skating-beans » Sun Feb 16, 2020 9:58 am

New setup today!
IMG_20200216_165208.jpg

IMG_20200216_164704.jpg
You do not have the required permissions to view the files attached to this post.
User avatar
Yeshika
Bluey Beginner
Bluey Beginner
Posts: 129
Joined: Sun Jan 28, 2018 9:40 pm
Country: New_Zealand
Contact:

Re: New skink owner question about heating

Postby Yeshika » Sun Feb 16, 2020 10:41 pm

Very nice set up! He looks lovely too!

Eventually, as he gets bigger, he'll be able to reach up and touch the ceramic heat emitter in there. It'd be a good idea to pick up a protective cage to go around it, as blue tongues are just notorious for doing things they shouldn't. Mine shakes his lamp cage regularly, just because he can and nobody can stop him. If it wasn't there, I'd have no doubt he'd have a burn by now.
skating-beans
Bluey Beginner
Bluey Beginner
Posts: 9
Joined: Fri Feb 14, 2020 2:37 am
Country: UK

Re: New skink owner question about heating

Postby skating-beans » Mon Feb 17, 2020 8:21 am

Thankyou! :D

Yeshika wrote:Eventually, as he gets bigger, he'll be able to reach up and touch the ceramic heat emitter in there. It'd be a good idea to pick up a protective cage to go around it, as blue tongues are just notorious for doing things they shouldn't. Mine shakes his lamp cage regularly, just because he can and nobody can stop him. If it wasn't there, I'd have no doubt he'd have a burn by now.


I've just bought one today! That was my first thought on seeing how close he can get to it already -- definitely not a good idea to leave it bare. I've already taken away his big heavy pink+white rock due to him shoving himself under it within 15 minutes of exploring the new setup...who knows what he'll get up to next :lol:
User avatar
splashy07
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 2257
Joined: Wed Aug 27, 2014 11:24 am
Country: USA
Location: Farmingdale,LI,NY

Re: New skink owner question about heating

Postby splashy07 » Mon Feb 17, 2020 8:34 am

It's amazing how much trouble they can get into. I had one pull out an air vent and crawl out the hole. About a four foot drop to the floor! Thankfully he had no injuries, and being it was two years ago something would have surfaced by now. He was only 5 months old at the time! I was absolutely frantic when I came home from work to his empty cage...I have since siliconed all air vents in their cages! The little troublemaker was under the couch, the last place I looked after tearing the place apart. And don't ever let anyone tell you they are slow moving. Try catching one on a carpet.
skating-beans
Bluey Beginner
Bluey Beginner
Posts: 9
Joined: Fri Feb 14, 2020 2:37 am
Country: UK

Re: New skink owner question about heating

Postby skating-beans » Mon Feb 17, 2020 8:47 am

splashy07 wrote:It's amazing how much trouble they can get into. I had one pull out an air vent and crawl out the hole. About a four foot drop to the floor! Thankfully he had no injuries, and being it was two years ago something would have surfaced by now. He was only 5 months old at the time! I was absolutely frantic when I came home from work to his empty cage...I have since siliconed all air vents in their cages! The little troublemaker was under the couch, the last place I looked after tearing the place apart. And don't ever let anyone tell you they are slow moving. Try catching one on a carpet.


:shock: :shock: :shock: That sounds terrifying! I absolutely panicked the first time I couldn't see Bean when I looked in to check on him -- put my hand in and started patting at the substrate and was rewarded with a very loud huff :lol:

No escapes yet, but I'm thinking of getting a lock for the sliding glass once he gets a bit bigger and stronger...
User avatar
splashy07
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 2257
Joined: Wed Aug 27, 2014 11:24 am
Country: USA
Location: Farmingdale,LI,NY

Re: New skink owner question about heating

Postby splashy07 » Mon Feb 17, 2020 9:07 am

I have locks on my sliders too, I haven't had an issue with that yet but one of my male Easterns knocked the entire glass panel out last year when he went into season, and I've got a friend whose Northern slid a plexiglas door open and hit the floor! If they can get their little claws in place to slide the doors they will! Some of my larger cages have heavy glass sliders that are recessed to where they cannot do this, but I've got a few cheaper ones (that I needed to have shipped in a hurry at one time) with the plexi doors that are very light and even a much smaller lizard could move them! Lock 'em up! They are inquisitive little troublemakers, I've found youngsters and seasonal males to be the worst!
skating-beans
Bluey Beginner
Bluey Beginner
Posts: 9
Joined: Fri Feb 14, 2020 2:37 am
Country: UK

Re: New skink owner question about heating

Postby skating-beans » Mon Feb 17, 2020 12:11 pm

I'll definitely get a lock in the near future then!

Return to “General Discussion and FAQ”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: alichamp and 3 guests