First time Skink owner with environment questions!

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Strangelyry
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First time Skink owner with environment questions!

Postby Strangelyry » Sat Mar 21, 2020 6:47 pm

Hi there! This is my first post (sorry for the length) and also my first Blue Tongue Skink! Everyone meet Tofu!! He is a Northern Blue Tongue skink that I got from a local reptile store, I was told he’s captive bred and a few months old! So far he seems healthy and happy but shy! I have a crested gecko as well so I’m familiar with working with humidity and seemed to get that humidity level on lock down within the first few days I’ve had him (it’s been 3 days since I got him) but have a few questions about his other tank components!

1: I’m struggling with his basking spot and heat lamps because I’ve never worked with anything on this scale! I currently have a 100 watt heat lamp on one side of his enclosure with some rocks for him to bask on, he’s super shy so I’ve only been able to watch him bask twice because he usually runs and hides when he sees me but when he’s basking he seems to like shimmy his body the whole time? Meaning he never really just like lays down fully on them, does that mean they are too hot of rocks? His overhead temp gage is reading right around 100 degrees and his colder side around 75-80 (I wanted to get a temperature gun but they are sold out everywhere because of the pandemic :noknow: ) and I’m stressed that I’m either not giving him enough heat or too much of it! Does anyone know the best way to go about checking the heat and keeping it regulated when I can’t get my hands on a temperature gun?

Second question: For his basking spot I put a few different large rocks and a few fancy looking polished rocks and a larger chunk of (I think but not sure) fluorite (all the rocks are in the picture with Tofu). I tried doing research on whether it was safe to put prettier looking rocks and/or crystals in skinks tanks but haven’t been able to find anything on it! I think using crystals or even a big slice of a agate would be a very pretty basking spot him but I’m worried they are maybe not safe? Also wondering the same about those bigger round colorful glass stones? Does anyone have more knowledge of minerals and stones that can chime in and help? I’m not opposed to using normal rocks but just love colors and crystals and think it could be a beautiful addition to a tank :mrgreen: but know his safety and comfort is most important!
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mb606587
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Re: First time Skink owner with environment questions!

Postby mb606587 » Sun Mar 22, 2020 4:10 am

Well, first things first, that's not a Northern from Australia. It's a Merauke from Indonesia. So maintaining a tropical humidity range of AT LEAST 50% is more imperative. It seems the infrared temperature guns are in stock on Amazon however shipping is delayed. Try checking your local Lowes or Home Depot. If not, any digital thermometer/hygrometer combo will work. Again those can be found there as well. As for the stones, I don't see any reason why they'd be harmful. Just ensure they are large enough not to be swallowed.
Strangelyry
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Re: First time Skink owner with environment questions!

Postby Strangelyry » Sun Mar 22, 2020 1:22 pm

Wow! I started to have a feeling he wasn’t a northern after looking at different types on here... I’m disappointed I was told he was a northern but I love him just the same! :lovers: :lovers: Thank you so much for confirming that for me! I’ll raise his humidity right now! I have a temperature/hygrometer combo right now attached to the back of the tank but was nervous that the basking rocks were putting off a higher temp that I couldn’t read and were possibly getting too hot for him! Thank you so much for the advice! As for him being a Merauke and not a Northern is there any other changes I should be aware of that I might need to make to his environment or enclosure?
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Re: First time Skink owner with environment questions!

Postby mb606587 » Sun Mar 22, 2020 2:45 pm

No Meraukes are fairly low maintenance as far as the Indonesian species go. They are pretty forgiving with the humidity. If you have trouble maintaining proper levels, create a new thread as there are a few things you can do to help. As for the rocks overheating, put your hand on it. If you can keep it on it, it's not too hot.
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kayla990
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Re: First time Skink owner with environment questions!

Postby kayla990 » Mon Mar 23, 2020 8:31 am

Strangelyry wrote:I tried doing research on whether it was safe to put prettier looking rocks and/or crystals in skinks tanks but haven’t been able to find anything on it!

I agree - difficult to find info on such things. But what I would recommend is to only use large rocks. We found using smaller rocks (like river rocks/pebbles) encourages them to try bite the rock; perhaps from mistaking them for large snails? So I would say, what ever type you use - make sure they are pretty big compared to your Bluey :) Ours still tried to take on rocks that were about the size of his head!

In general, if they are not too jagged, no risk of breaking/imploding at high temperatures, don't give off dust when touched/cleaned - or leach chemicals (if there is something I'm unsure of, I use distilled water and test with a TDS water meter to see if any minerals are given off) - then arguably they should be ok to use. As a personal preference; mainly due to not knowing how crystals have been produced or if they are coated with a resin that wouldn't be safe - I just use natural, large, untreated rocks.

Goodluck with your new bluey!
- Hons. Degree Animal Management -4 years volunteer in a Zoo -10 years volunteer in animal shelters -Enclosure enthusiast

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