best way to grab your skink

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Surgat
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best way to grab your skink

Postby Surgat » Wed May 16, 2007 11:00 am

I´ve bought a skink rather recently( 1month or so) and was wondering what the best way to grab him/her is. I saw the pictures in the caresheet but I'm not talking about holding but getting him off the ground.
I usually carefully try to get my fingers somehow under his belly and slowly lift him up. Problem is only that recently he usually tries to bite me which makes lifting up like this impossible. Furthermore if I warn him through rustling leaves etc. he usually switches to hunter mode and surprise..tries to bite me, in fact he even jumped at my hand to bite me. And well if I come from above its about the same. If I just lay my hand in and wait, he usually ignores it until I withdraw it at which point he seems to consider my fingers/gloves worms and attempts to bite me. When he was smaller he was a bit more..shy and never attempted to bite me intriguingly..

Btw. He shed yesterday and well everything except for the head and the tailtip is off. How long should I wait till removing the rest by hand?couple of days?a week?

The Skink was sold to me as a northern( I think, got to ask the guy again soon anyway), but deciding on the pictures on this page it could also be an irian jaya..
He is about 2 years old, captive bred, and i got him out of the pet store about 10 days after he arrived there.

Well, would be nifty if somebody could help me since the way it currently is, interaction is rather difficult. Well, or its good as long as i dont try to touch or grab him :-).
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Postby MartinsPerson » Wed May 16, 2007 4:42 pm

I'm a newbie at this whole snotty skink business, but here's what I've been doing the last two days since I got my feisty one. I have been putting my hand in the tank and letting him huff, then when he stops I move it a little closer. I repeat the process until I can touch him (I've been approaching at about the hind leg). I then just keep my finger still until he stops huffing and being agitated, then I begin to rub slowly in a small area. I've been working my way around his whole body, avoiding the head for now. I'm pretty sure Tarzan would like to bite me if I mess with his face at this point.

Once I can rub his sides and down his back I've been slowly slipping my fingers under his belly and barely lifting. Not enough for his legs to come off the ground, but enough that he has some resistance. I wait until he's calm and then put him down. Once this is successful I gentle pick him up and lay him on my arm so that he is fully supported.

I'm not sure that this is the best tactic as today I certainly couldn't get close enough to start the process, but it worked the last two days. Just take things slow and give it lots of time. Good luck!
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Postby Brigget » Wed May 16, 2007 8:04 pm

How big is your guy. I know if they are small a bite cant be that bad I mean my cats have got me with thier claws and left scars. I have decided like peeing on your hand let them get you once or twice and pick them up anyways let them know you are the boss and nomatter what they do you will still be in charge. even wear gloves and let him think hes ripping into you but dont put him down.
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Postby Leigh » Thu May 17, 2007 1:09 am

Slow and steady wins the day, hee,hee, try to hand feed him, I used a whole bannana peeled half way using the skin to cover my fingers and he chomped his way up it ,then the next time half a nanna , then whole with no skin ,then half no skin, I did the same with morio worms and tweezers getting my fingers closer to the worm each time. He was very calm from the off though,and didn't need much settling in time. Good luck, you can win.
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Postby Surgat » Thu May 17, 2007 3:21 am

First of all thanks to all of you for your kind help!
How big hmm..difficult question, i guess about 30cm, but i could be terrible wrong since he manages to stretch himself to become alot bigger;-)
About getting bitten, well..its not that im actually scared of that since i wear gloves, only problem is i have to train my reflexes to hold still when something(no matter if skink, dog, etc.)tries to snap my hand not to withdraw:-)
And i should still move my hand below his belly and then slowly lift right?
I didnt ask the shopkeeper to show me his way, since he just grabbed them somehow and didnt seem to have all too much special knowledge about skinks. I also bought a book about reptiles to check for a good grabing technique but the book sucks (company called GU) and they only offer me a method to grab him quick and in a manner that he cant move anything, which doesnt look tempting to me, since it must be really awkward for the animal.
How long should I wait before aiding him with shedding?
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Postby Leigh » Thu May 17, 2007 4:11 am

Maybe the problem stems from the shop keeper doing the lift and jerk with him in the first place, your slow from below is correct. With shed general consensus is let them do it, after a week I help with little bits, one toe and a few scales on his head, I'm sure toes and tail tip constriction are the worst areas, has he got a dish he can stroll/lie in that might help, good luck
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Postby thesilverbeast » Thu May 17, 2007 5:54 am

i just support the belly and lift his front off the ground slightly, then slide my finger under his feet. then di the same with the back.


i come from above but tap the ground in front of him. he has never ever even tried to bite me even if i come from the top straight away.

i have found the opposide to whats been said here, if i come to his face first and rub his head he just licks but if i go to the body first he huffs once then accepts that im not going away :P but thats only if he was sleeping when i get him.
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Postby Arkangel » Thu May 17, 2007 6:51 am

Grabbing or sudden movements is not a good idea.

If you want a pet you can hold, (as opposed to a specimen that you only remove for cleaning) you're going to have to work at building a relationship with the guy. Start by putting your hands in and out of the tank without picking him up. Move his stuff around, put in food, etc. This lets him know that your hand is not necessarily a bad thing and he's got nothing to be afraid of.

I have mixed feeling about offering food at the same time as handling. You don't want him to associate your fingers or hand with food. But it also may show that your hand represents good things. It's a judgment call.

Once he is used to your hand and smell being in the tank, then start picking him up. (You can even leave a washcloth that you've rubbed on your skin, or old t-shirt with your smell on it after you've worn it, in the tank at all times so he can learn to accept your smell as routine.)

I would use a towel to handle him. This protects both your hand and him, and helps keep him feeling safe and hidden. Once he's in your arms, slowly walk him around and get him used to the feeling of movement. Keep the sessions short for the first few times. Use the towel to cover his head and eyes if he feels threatened or scared.

It may take a lot of work since he's an adult and 2 years old.

Reptile bites can HURT! I once had a young bearded dragon take a cookie-cutter chunk out of my fingernail down through the skin underneath! Yowza! :tired:
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Postby Shellyjean » Thu May 17, 2007 7:16 am

I did the bad thing of opening their cage and offering them treats for awhile. A really stupid move on my part, since mine are both sweethearts. I quickly realized after a few times, that they started looking at my hands and fingers as food everytime I would reach in there. "Wings" tried to get a bite of me once and I've since stopped offering treats by hand in the cage. He's now back to his docile self.

Both of mine prefer having a towel under them when being carried around or just "held". For some reason they just feel more secure that way.

I've been bit by large snakes and a uro and I sure wouldn't want to be bit by an adult skink. OUCH! I definitely wouldn't "let" him bite you.
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Postby Fatal_S » Thu May 17, 2007 7:36 am

Any animal that can crush snail shells in one bite it not one I'd want latched onto my finger...
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Postby KyleWeiss » Thu May 17, 2007 6:51 pm

That was an excellent post, Kristine. The part of leaving the cloth in the tank with the scent on it is brilliant!

The only thing I want to stress otherwise is the approach. Try not to grab from above, the lower rear or the sides are much preferred by most animals. It may be hard with a top-opening cage, but it's still possible and will be greatly helpful.

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Postby Blotch » Thu May 17, 2007 7:04 pm

I don't have a fandangly way of picking up Lance (my agro blotchie) - I just VERY quickly grab him behind his ears with fingers either side of his front legs . This way he can't bite me. Apart from that - when I have him in my hands, I support all 4 legs and he's cool as a cucumber!
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Postby Lisa » Thu May 17, 2007 8:09 pm

I'm similar to Silver. I say hello first, have a bit of a chat so they know I'm there, then I stick my hand in near their face but in a fist (mine have never shown any inclination to bite, but just in case, I don't want them biting off a finger plus I don't like pain), I think it's also because I'm a dog person and that's how I was taught to approach stranger dogs, anyway they usually have a sniff and a lick, then I just pick them up from behind their front legs with the lower half of their body dangling a bit and bring them out straight onto my chest so all their legs are supported. (I have open top tanks).

To put them down, I pull them off me from around their middle, hold them two handed and place them down front legs first and then slide my hand down their bodies till they're on solid ground.

Your bluetongue is only a baby and you're like this huge scary monster. But he will get used to you. If he does hiss or nip or lunge, stand your ground or else he'll know to keep doing it. They all end up realising that you're a good person to have around them. (Well, almost all!)

Also, try and keep things usual for a while, like don't pick him up and put him down in all different spots. Try to start with just a simple routine, say from his tank to the lounge or floor or bed. Once he's got the hang of coming out, then you can progress to taking him out and putting him other places. Good luck and welcome!
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Postby DeadEye » Fri May 18, 2007 6:08 am

Depends if there your babies . Or wild as the hair on your back.

Bawk hisses and puffers with the left , then go in with a right around the chest , with head in a position wear it can,t tag you..They hate being grabbed by the scruff of the kneck.As do i , But i might be potty but i always reward a lick, with there thats a good boy, Handle them like my old bently shotgun .....gently bently :love: They pick up the good Karma vibes, Hello mr agro ..Oh stop making a fuss , Here stick this breast turkey meat in your mouth & smoke it ..MMMM your not to bad hey ?? LOL :lol:

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Postby Zach » Sun May 20, 2007 2:31 pm

Great posts everyone...


And as far as the shedding, if it's still on there after a day or two, simply squeeze the trail and pull downwards and it should simply slide right off. For the head, apply some firmness with your finger, and they should pop right off. The head scales are often last to come off because there's no flexibility on the head; thusly, the scales don't work themselves off in a hurry.

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Postby Leigh » Mon May 21, 2007 3:03 am

Zach wrote:Great posts everyone...


And as far as the shedding, if it's still on there after a day or two, simply squeeze the trail and pull downwards and it should simply slide right off. For the head, apply some firmness with your finger, and they should pop right off. The head scales are often last to come off because there's no flexibility on the head; thusly, the scales don't work themselves off in a hurry.


Nice one Zach, I thought that the head ones were last because mine can't burrow as in nature ,and didn't get the friction from that to dislodge them
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Postby Peter » Mon May 21, 2007 10:33 pm

if you need to lift your bluey place you thumb and forefinger around the lower body just in front of the hind legs and lift. The bluey will hang without moving. It will allow you to inspect the underside of your lizard with ease.
They would of course prefer to have all legs on some surface so dont do it for fun or for to long.
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Postby Zach » Mon May 21, 2007 10:49 pm

Leigh wrote:
Zach wrote:Great posts everyone...


And as far as the shedding, if it's still on there after a day or two, simply squeeze the trail and pull downwards and it should simply slide right off. For the head, apply some firmness with your finger, and they should pop right off. The head scales are often last to come off because there's no flexibility on the head; thusly, the scales don't work themselves off in a hurry.


Nice one Zach, I thought that the head ones were last because mine can't burrow as in nature ,and didn't get the friction from that to dislodge them




That's certainly a reason as well!

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