How to tame down an adult skink?

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CalistaL
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How to tame down an adult skink?

Postby CalistaL » Wed Feb 19, 2020 9:22 am

I have a two year old skink who isn't very fond of being handled. She doesn't bite, but she does hiss and huff when picked up. I know she's captive bred, but she wasn't handled very often it sounds like. I'd like to work on bonding with her, but I'm not sure how best to go about it.

I've only had her a couple months now and have mostly just been working on getting her used to my presence by spending time around her enclosure every day and talking to her. She doesn't mind me walking past or going to clean her water or putting food in, just when I try to handle her.

So my question is how do you go about taming down or bonding with your blueies? Is it just a matter of handling and time, or are there other tricks I could try to get her to be more comfortable with handling? Any tips would be greatly appreciated!

Edit: I heard hand feeding is a good way to do it, have you found that to be helpful? And would just sitting nearby during mealtimes help with getting her more comfortable around me and possibly more comfortable hand feeding? (I've tried but she so far hasn't eaten from either my hand or feeding tweezers, even fruit or egg, both of which she seems to love)
Last edited by CalistaL on Fri Feb 21, 2020 3:13 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: How to tame down an adult skink?

Postby splashy07 » Wed Feb 19, 2020 9:59 am

They all have their own personalities. For the most part, say 85 percent, are tame right from the start.
I am not talking imports here, because that is an entirely different situation. There are those who will simply tolerate us, but complain when we want to hold them. I have a northern juvenile (last year's) that came out snapping like a crocodile. Was from a friend's litter and he told me to come get it out of his shop, it's insane and no one will touch him. Well, he is fine now after some gentle handling and lots of food offerings he has learned to trust me. At first, he will hiss and huff a bit (some of my older ones do this too, it's like...don't bother me not a mean thing). Some just prefer to be left alone. I do find they do not like being reached down at, (such as in a top opening cage) there are predators that come from above. I would try a daily routine (same time every day) take him out for a bit, try when he's not buried or hiding and already up and about. Give him favorite treats when you put him back (not a good idea to feed first, they lose body temp when out) so he may even look forward to coming out. Hold him, don't put him on the floor where he'd have to be chased to pick up again and stay at his level so you're not coming in from above. When you are putting food in his enclosure let him see you doing this, as he will associate you with good things happening. Just a few things that I've tried over the years.
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Re: How to tame down an adult skink?

Postby splashy07 » Wed Feb 19, 2020 10:01 am

Oh, and would like to add that reptiles often don't take well to change, so give it some time as he is used to his routine where he used to live. Most of mine grew up here, but some did not and it took a little while for the older ones.
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Re: How to tame down an adult skink?

Postby CalistaL » Wed Feb 19, 2020 10:36 am

splashy07 wrote:They all have their own personalities. For the most part, say 85 percent, are tame right from the start.
I am not talking imports here, because that is an entirely different situation. There are those who will simply tolerate us, but complain when we want to hold them. I have a northern juvenile (last year's) that came out snapping like a crocodile. Was from a friend's litter and he told me to come get it out of his shop, it's insane and no one will touch him. Well, he is fine now after some gentle handling and lots of food offerings he has learned to trust me. At first, he will hiss and huff a bit (some of my older ones do this too, it's like...don't bother me not a mean thing). Some just prefer to be left alone. I do find they do not like being reached down at, (such as in a top opening cage) there are predators that come from above. I would try a daily routine (same time every day) take him out for a bit, try when he's not buried or hiding and already up and about. Give him favorite treats when you put him back (not a good idea to feed first, they lose body temp when out) so he may even look forward to coming out. Hold him, don't put him on the floor where he'd have to be chased to pick up again and stay at his level so you're not coming in from above. When you are putting food in his enclosure let him see you doing this, as he will associate you with good things happening. Just a few things that I've tried over the years.


Thanks for the advice. I'll try to start a daily routine with handling. I expected it to take some time, but I'm happy to put in that work. She's such an awesome lizard :) I always try to wait for her to come out on her own before trying to handle her unless I need to take her out for cleaning. Thanks again!
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Re: How to tame down an adult skink?

Postby splashy07 » Wed Feb 19, 2020 11:33 am

What type BTS is she? My Northerns are all in season now and they want nothing to do with anything. The males are still tearing the place apart (they've already done what they had to do!) and the females have retreated to their hides. Regardless of the fact that your skink is the only one (correct?) they still go into season even if there is not a member of the opposite sex around! Seasonal moodiness is common with adults, as is their anti-social behavior when going into shed! Good luck with her, we'd love to see her! Can you post a picture?
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Re: How to tame down an adult skink?

Postby mb606587 » Wed Feb 19, 2020 12:38 pm

Some skinks are going to just be naturally huffy when picked up. For a few, it can be worked out over time, others will always do it and then relax when held. And as splashy noted, it's individual personalities. I've seen captive bred skinks that will bite anything that moves, and on the flip side, wild caught skinks that handle like a dream. What you've described is fairly normal with most skinks I've handled though, with the initial huffing, but not biting.
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Re: How to tame down an adult skink?

Postby CalistaL » Wed Feb 19, 2020 2:58 pm

splashy07 wrote:What type BTS is she? My Northerns are all in season now and they want nothing to do with anything. The males are still tearing the place apart (they've already done what they had to do!) and the females have retreated to their hides. Regardless of the fact that your skink is the only one (correct?) they still go into season even if there is not a member of the opposite sex around! Seasonal moodiness is common with adults, as is their anti-social behavior when going into shed! Good luck with her, we'd love to see her! Can you post a picture?


She is a northern and the only one I own. Didn't know about the seasonal moodiness thing, but that makes sense. And I say she, but I'm not exactly sure, that was just my best guess. She's been out and about basking every day though for a while. I'll try to post a picture if I can :) Thanks for the help!
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Re: How to tame down an adult skink?

Postby lalat » Sun Feb 23, 2020 6:47 am

trowsersnake may be the way to go, but size does matter (yes..not joking keep reading :) )
letting the lizard bed down in your jeans pocket for a few hours a day, where the warmth and familar smell of her human may be associated with safety

itll take a while to learn how to turn around but once shes perfected it, it should work

it was a favorate of my wild eastern bluetongue
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Re: How to tame down an adult skink?

Postby kingofnobbys » Sun Feb 23, 2020 7:58 am

Food treats (umm bribes) work for me with wild skinks , dragons , frogs and geckos . Given by hand is my approach.

&

lots of patience , remember the skink is not going to work on this to YOUR AGENDA .
CalistaL
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Re: How to tame down an adult skink?

Postby CalistaL » Mon Feb 24, 2020 7:09 am

lalat wrote:trowsersnake may be the way to go, but size does matter (yes..not joking keep reading :) )
letting the lizard bed down in your jeans pocket for a few hours a day, where the warmth and familar smell of her human may be associated with safety

itll take a while to learn how to turn around but once shes perfected it, it should work

it was a favorate of my wild eastern bluetongue


Lol, that's an interesting idea. My pockets would probably be too small, but I could try a sweater pocket maybe. Thanks for the idea!
CalistaL
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Re: How to tame down an adult skink?

Postby CalistaL » Mon Feb 24, 2020 7:11 am

kingofnobbys wrote:Food treats (umm bribes) work for me with wild skinks , dragons , frogs and geckos . Given by hand is my approach.

&

lots of patience , remember the skink is not going to work on this to YOUR AGENDA .


Thanks for the idea. She has yet to actually take food by hand, but I'll keep trying it. Any foods you've found are a favorite? Thanks again!
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Re: How to tame down an adult skink?

Postby kingofnobbys » Mon Feb 24, 2020 10:09 am

CalistaL wrote:
kingofnobbys wrote:Food treats (umm bribes) work for me with wild skinks , dragons , frogs and geckos . Given by hand is my approach.

&

lots of patience , remember the skink is not going to work on this to YOUR AGENDA .


Thanks for the idea. She has yet to actually take food by hand, but I'll keep trying it. Any foods you've found are a favorite? Thanks again!


If you want to get her attention, and become her pal , try something live and wriggling ( I've found very few skinks ( or dragons for that matter ) can pass up a mealworm, or superworm or very soft and yummy silkworm ).
Of favs for my gang are crickets and soft white instar 2 BSFL ( the wrigglier the better ).

Hard boiled egg goes down a treat for my BTs , as does banana .
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Re: How to tame down an adult skink?

Postby lalat » Tue Feb 25, 2020 6:22 pm

another idea my naga was good with
a storm hug, not sure if its every bluetongues thing but naga acted like a scared dog during a thunderstorm, hiding in tight obscure spots and hissing in fear if she was disturbed

ignore these hisses and show it the warmth and security of an arm or belly to bury its head in.
itll stick like glue and never forget it

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