Why Is My Blue Tongue Skink Not Eating? 10 Causes & Solutions
Your Blue tongue skink not eating can be due to stress, low temperatures or illness. Most cases are easily corrected by making small adjustments in their care.
This article will help you establish the cause for your Blue tongue skink not eating and what’s the best course of action. To help you do this, we are diving into the following topics:
- How much and how often should Blue tongue skink eat?
- What affects my skink’s appetite
- Causes for Blue tongue skink not eating
Why Is My Blue Tongue Skink Not Eating?
Although, there can be a serious reason for your Blue tongue skink not eating, don’t panic. To properly establish the cause of the problem, you’ll need to:
- Review your skink’s care routine
- Look for any other symptoms
- How much and how often should my skink eat
Review Your Skink’s Care
In many cases, Blue tongue skink not eating is a result of something that’s gone wrong in their daily care. When reviewing your skink’s care, check the following is up to standard:
- Tank setup
It’s important to observe your skink in case there are any other symptoms present as that will help your establish the cause easier. For instance, not eating, no poop and bloating will mean your skink is constipated.
On the other hand, if your skink is acting “normal”, being active and no other symptoms are present, then the cause for them not eating can be something less serious such as being fed too much.
With that said knowing how much and how often your skink should be eating as a staple is essential; and that is exactly what we are looking at next.
How Much And How Often Should My Skink Eat?
Your Blue tongue skink not eating for anything up to 2 weeks shouldn’t be a cause of concern as long as they are still active and being their normal self. This is especially true if your skink is an adult.
Take a look at the table below to get a better understanding of how much and how often your skink should be eating on average depending on age.
|Age||How often||How much|
|up to 3 months||Daily to every 2 days||1 to 2 teaspoons|
|3 to 8 months||Every 2 to 5 days||1 to 2 tablespoons|
|over 8 months||1 to 2 times per week||1 to 2 tablespoons|
To learn aboutwhat to feed baby skinks and how much, click here for the full guide What Do Baby Skinks Eat? Blue Tongue Skink Diet
When To Worry?
As already mentioned if your Blue tongue skink is not eating but behaving normally, there is nothing to worry about.
Then, when should you worry?
Blue tongue skink not eating combined with them losing weight and/or being less active than normal is definitely something that needs to be investigated further.
Good practice is to weigh your skink once a week and record it in a diary. This way you’d be able to tell if your skink’s is actually losing weight. If they lose more than 7% of their body mass, you should take your skink to the vet.
Causes For Blue Tongue Skink Not Eating?
Causes for Blue tongue skink not eating can be either the result of normal behaviors such as:
- Your skink’s male
- Breeding period
Or your skink not eating can be the result of something that needs correcting in their care such as:
- Being overfed
- Lack of bright light and/or UVB
Your Skink Is Male
If your skink is male, they will slow down for winter and will be more interested in looking for a mate than food. Therefore, this can result in your Blue tongue skink not eating.
There is nothing to be worried about as this is only temporary and will resolve on its own.
Your Blue tongue skink not eating can be down to their age. Although, younger skinks need to eat more because they are growing, adult skinks don’t eat much at all. Therefore, if your skink is older than 12 months and not eating, it can be due to ageing.
Refer to the table below for guidance:
|up to 3 months||Daily to every 2 days|
|3 to 8 months||Every 2 to 5 days|
|over 8 months –||1 to 2 times per week|
Observe your skink and if they are not eating anything at all after 2 weeks, then you need to look for other causes.
If your Blue tongue skink not eating is during their breeding season, that’s a perfectly normal side effect.
Blue tongue skinks start displaying breeding signs such as lower appetite when they reach sexual maturity. This is at the age of 12-16 months for males and 24 to 30 months for females.
Normally, skink’s breeding period is from April to late September. However, this can vary in different climates.
As this is normal behavior, you don’t need to do anything. Just be patient for their breeding season to end.
Keep observing your skink after the breeding season has finished to ensure nothing else was causing your Blue tongue skink not eating.
A natural process that can result in Blue tongue skink not eating is brumation. Brumation is what helps skink survive winter in the wild.
Skinks can also go through brumation when kept as pets. It usually happens when the temperature lowers. Although, brumation times can vary due to climate, it’s normally between November and March.
During this period, your skink will sleep more, don’t eat at all or eat very little.
Other signs of brumation to keep an eye out for include lethargy, hiding and sleeping more.
If your Blue tongue skink is not eating due to brumation, there is nothing to worry about as this is a natural process.
During brumation, don’t try to feed your skink. As the temperature will be lower, the food won’t get digested and can result in impaction.
Shedding is another natural process that can result in Blue tongue skink not eating. During this natural process, skinks become fussy eaters for a few days.
There isn’t much you can do but provide your skink with fresh food each feeding and ensure the shedding is as comfortable as possible. You can do this by adjusting the humidity levels and providing a dish to soak in.
As reptiles have very slow metabolisms they don’t need to eat much. This is especially true if your skink is an adult.
Therefore, if your skink is eating very little such as only a couple bites every other day, it can be down to being fed too much.
Refer back to the table below and adjust how much you’re feeding your skink if needed.
|up to 3 months||1 to 2 teaspoons|
|3 to 8 months||1 to 2 tablespoons|
|over 8 months||1 to 2 tablespoons|
In some cases your Blue tongue skink not eating will be down to a problem in their care such as incorrect temperature or to be more precise cold temperature. If it’s too cold, not only will your skink have no appetite but they will also struggle to digest the food properly and it can result in constipation.
If it’s low temperatures that’s causing your Blue tongue skink not eating, the solution is simple – adjust their temperature.
Blue Tongue skinks need to have a temperature gradient in their tank with the basking spot being the hottest. That’s where your skink will go to digest their food.
The basking spot should be at temperatures of 95-105°F. Whereas, the cool side should be 70-80°F and the rest of the tank, in the middle should be 85-95°F.
You can track the temperatures in the tank by using a 3 digital thermometers placed in the basking spot, cool spot and middle of the tank.
Often Blue tongue skins won’t eat if they are stressed. Blue Tongue skinks can experience stress due to many reasons such as:
- New environment. If your skink is a new pet, it means their tank and even you will all be new environment to get used. Your skink will feed stressed and even afraid which is totally normal at first. Expect them to spend the first week or two hiding and either not eating at all or eating just a little bit
- Other stress factors that can result in Blue Tongue tongue skink not eating include – other pets, loud noises, incorrect setup such as tank size
If your Blue tongue skink not eating is due to stress from getting used to their new environment, what you can do to help them during this period is:
- Offer small, puréed, healthy meals, diluted with water every couple days for an adult and every day for under 12 months
- Hand feed by using a syringe (without the needle). Place the food near their nose, so they can just lick it off
- Avoid handling them in the first two weeks to avoid further stress
On the other hand, if your Blue tongue skink not eating is because of other stress factors such as their living set up, review the following aspects in their care:
- Ensure there are no loud noises near their tank
- Skinks should be housed alone
- Ensure their tank is the correct size – skinks need a large tank that’s at least 55 gallons, horizontal with a lot of walking space
- Check the temperature and humidity levels. This can also easily stress your Blue tongue skink and result in them not eating
- Lighting – ensure the lights you’ve chosen aren’t harmful to your skink, that they are positioned in the right places and are the right voltage
- Tank contents and accessories – make sure that your skink has a large, shallow and sturdy water dish to drink from and soak in; accessories should be minimal with only a 1-2 hiding spots, basking rock and some vines. Skinks don’t need any high branches as they are not climbers
Lack Of Bright Light And/Or UVB
Following the previous point, Blue tongue skink not eating can be down to the lack of bright light or UVB. In the wild, Blue tongue skinks are diurnal lizards which means they like the sun and especially enjoy basking. Not only that but UVB promotes hunger and activity.
To avoid Blue tongue skink not eating due to lack of warmth, you should provide heat by using a special basking light and you can also add a heat plate.
On the other hand, to mimic sunlight, you will need a UVB light. This can be in the form of UVB tubes of 10.0 high output.
At night, all lights should be turned off. This important, so your skink can properly set their sleeping cycle. If you think it’s too cold during the night, you can use a low wattage ceramic heat emitting bulb that doesn’t produce light.
To learn if skinks need UVB in the first place and what are the best options, read the full guide here Do Blue Tongue Skinks Need UVB? UVB Light Tank Setup
One of the more obvious causes for your Blue tongue skink not eating is incorrect diet. If your skink is either not liking the food you’re feeding them or their food is not nutritious enough, they simply won’t eat it.
On another note, your skink could be a fussy eater. This means feeding your skink the same foods every day can result in them getting bored.
If your Blue tongue skink not eating is because their diet is wrong, the solution is to get a better understanding what skinks should eat and ensuring you follow a feeding schedule.
On the other hand, if your skink is a fussy eater and is bored of being fed the same thing every day, the solution is to mix it up! You can do this by trying different veggies, greens and insects.
Normally, skinks should be fed 50% greens/veggies, 40% protein, 10% fruit but to learn in more detail what Blue Tongue skinks can eat, click here for the full guide What Do Blue Tongue Skinks Eat? The Full Guide
A health problem that can result in your Blue tongue skink not eating is dehydration. If you suspect that’s the cause, look out for the other signs of dehydration such as wrinkly skin and slimy saliva.
Furthermore, a way to test if your skink is dehydrated is to pinch their skin. If it doesn’t go back to normal, it means they are dehydrated.
If your Blue tongue skink not eating is down to dehydration, you’ll need to quickly hydrate your skink. By doing that their appetite will also come back. You can hydrated your skink by doing the following:
- Provide adequate water dish – it must be large, shallow (2-3 inch deep) and sturdy so they can soak in it
- Change their water often. As skinks like to poop in their water dish, the water must be kept fresh for drinking
- Ensure there is enough moisture in the food you feed them
- Their drinking water must be tap water and not distilled
- Bathe your skink daily in warm water. This can help hydrate your skink quickly
If you have ruled out all the causes we have discussed so far, your Blue tongue skink not eating can be due to illness or infection such as:
- Parasites – other symptoms include weight loss, lethargy, diarrhea
- Vitamin or mineral deficiency – other symptoms to keep an eye out for include weight loss, skin changes and secondary infection, particularly around the eyes and lips
- Metabolic bone disease – other symptoms include inflamed or curved joint, lethargy
- Mouth rot infection – other symptoms include redness, crust or yellow puss around the mouth
If you suspect that your Blue tongue skink not eating is due to illness, the first thing you need to do is take into account all symptoms.
- Parasites – to diagnose parasites, a vet must test a sample of your skink’s poop. This condition is usually treated with antibiotics and putting your skink in a quarantine
- Vitamin or mineral deficiency is corrected by ensuring your skink’s diet is nutritious and includes the correct supplements. To learn about what supplements skinks need, click here Blue Tongue Skink Supplements – Supplements For Healthy Skink
- Metabolic bone disease is treated by ensuring your skink’s is getting enough calcium in their diet and Vitamin D through UVB or walks in natural sunlight
- Mouth rot infection is treated with antibiotics and improving the cleanliness of your skink’s tank
A common cause for Blue tongue skink not eating is impaction. Other signs of impaction besides not eating include bloated torso, no stool.
If you suspect that your Blue tongue skink not eating is because of impaction, you can treat your skink by doing the following:
- Give your skink 2-3 drops of vegetable oil
- Offer some natural laxatives such as pumpkin, applesauce puree or boiled egg
- Fill your bath with warm shallow water and let your sink soak for 10-15 minutes
If you own a Blue tongue skink, at one point or another you might have to deal with them no eating. It’s important to remember that when skinks become adults, they will eat significantly less than in the first 12 months of their life.
Although, Blue tongue skink not eating at all can be worrying, the reason can be something that’s easily corrected such as their tank being too cold, being fed the wrong portions or being fed too frequently.
On the other hand, your skink not eating can just be a side effect of them going through natural processes such as shedding, brumation or breeding period.
What’s important is to properly establish the reason for your Blue tongue not eating, so you can make the needed adjustments in their care. To do that, first ensure that your skink’s care is up to a good standard.
Secondly, you must take into consideration all the signs and symptoms as there might be more clues as to why your skink’s not eating. For instance, if your skink also appears bloated, it can be constipation/impaction.
Related Topics Q&A
Why is My Blue Tongue Skink Not Eating Vegetables?
Similar to us, some Blue Tongue skinks are fussy eaters. This is especially true if they are used to eating only meat based cat or dog food. However, that doesn’t mean it’s impossible to introduce vegetables into their diet. You just need to do it the right way!
Don’t just give them a bunch of vegetables and expect them to be ecstatic about it. Instead, you can slowly introduce some chopped vegetables mixed with what they usually eat. Just increase the proportion of vegetables each time until they get used to the taste.
What Blue Tongue Skinks Eat In The Wild?
Blue tongue skinks are omnivores and their diet in the wild includes plant matter and animal protein such as insects.
As skinks are opportunistic eater, they will also eat carrion, mammals, reptiles, birds, amphibians, snails and more.
Ideally, Blue tongue skink’s diet when kept as pets should mimic their diet in the wild as much as possible.
The perfect diet for an adult skink consists of 50% veggies and greens, 40% protein and 10% fruit.