Blue Tongue Skink Bedding – Best vs Worst Options

Blue Tongue Skink Bedding

When setting up your Blue tongue skink’s tank, the type bedding you choose can largely affect their health and happiness. The best Blue tongue skink bedding is loose and deep enough for your skink to burry themselves. Good options are sphagnum moss and coconut fiber.

Another way that we’ll be referring to Blue tongue skink bedding in this article is as “substrate”. The substrate is an essential part of any reptile’s tank setup. That’s especially true for skinks as they prefer to spend their time on the ground than to climb and be at a height.

This guide will help you pick the best Blue tongue skink substrate that will keep your skink happy and healthy.

Blue Tongue Skink Bedding Requirements

Blue Tongue Skink Bedding

As Blue tongue skinks will be spending all their time on the ground, their bedding plays a major role in their day to day life.

When picking your Blue tongue skink bedding, the first thing you need to know is that skinks love to dig and burrow.

Blue tongue skink bedding requirements include:

  • Helps maintain humidity levels that are essential to your lizard’s health
  • Dry, semi-soft material
  • It’s not too fine and dusty and can’t be ingested by your skink
  • Is not toxic such as treated woods

The ideal Blue tongue skink bedding is 4 to 6 inches deep, soft, loose and deep enough to encourage natural behavior.

Blue Tongue Skink Bedding To Avoid

Blue Tongue Skink Bedding

As already mentioned some materials can be harmful to your skink and some can be unsuitable for their love of burrowing and digging.

Some types of Blue tongue skink bedding can cause impaction, respiratory issues, parasite infestations and more. Therefore, it’s important to never use any of the following substrates:

  • Pine and cedar wood products – These materials run the risk of impaction and injury. Furthermore, they have scented oils in them that can cause irritation
  • Reptile carpet – As skinks enjoy burrowing on daily basis and it’s important to keep you skink happy, this type of bedding is not suitable
  • Sand – this type of bedding can result in impaction and is not recommended
  • Alfalfa – This is a very heavy and dense substrate which will make digging and burrowing very difficult. Furthermore, this material cannot provide high humidity
  • Clay litter – The clay has a tendency to clump, which can result in impaction
  • Cat litter –  This material can be highly toxic to your skink and can also cause them dehydration
  • Gravel is not soft enough to provide your skink with the opportunity to dig and burrow. Furthermore, it can result in impaction
  • Shredded Aspen – the shredded material can cause injury and impaction to your skink
  • Soil from outside – this can already be infested with bugs or parasites. Therefore, it’s not recommended

The incorrect Blue tongue skink substrate can result in your skink sneezing or huffing. To learn more about those topics, you can read the full guides here Blue Tongue Skink Huffing? What Causes It And How To Fix It

Best Types Of Blue Tongue Skink Beddings

Blue Tongue Skink Bedding

Choosing what your Blue tongue skink substrate is made of is essential. This is because some materials can make your skink sick.

With that said, the best material for Blue tongue skink bedding include:

  • Paper towels – The positives of this bedding is that it’s cheap and easy to change. Paper towels are the best substrate option for young or sick Blue tongue skinks as it makes it easy to monitor waste and health
  • Sphagnum moss – Moss retains moisture very well which makes it a good choice
  • Cypress mulch – Cypress mulch is a good option for skinks that need lower humidity. This is because this bedding must be kept dry, otherwise it can get an infestation of bugs and mites
  • Coconut fiber – This type of bedding retain moisture well and comes in the form of bark, husk, or soil. It also absorbs odors and waste, making it quick and easy to clean.
  • Aspen – If you’re thinking of using aspen, always use shaved rather than the shredded. Blue tongue skink bedding made of aspen is light, absorbs the waste and smell, and is perfect for burrowing. (Kaytee Aspen Substrate or Zilla Aspen Substrate).
  • Repti bark is also known as fir, orchid bark or orchid mulch. This type of bedding is highly absorbent and provides even distribution of heat. The negative is that it promotes mites infestation

Best Blue Tongue Skink Bedding Depending On Species

Now that we’ve discussed the best and worst options for your Blue tongue skink bedding, it’s time to get more specific.

Different types of Blue tongue skinks have different humidity requirements which is one of the main factors to consider when picking their bedding.

Australian Blue Tongue Skink Bedding

The Australian Blue tongue skinks will need to be provided with moderate humidity level. Australian Blue tongue skinks include:

  • Tanimbar blue tongue skink
  • Northern blue tongue skink
  • Eastern blue tongue skink
  • Western blue tongue skink
  • Central blue tongue skink
  • Blotched blue tongue skink
  • Singleback
  • Pygmy blue tongue skink

The best options for Australian Blue tongue skink bedding need to maintain comfortable humidity level. Some good options are:

  • Paper towels
  • Cypress mulch
  • Coconut fiber
  • Aspen
  • Repti bark also known as Fir, orchid bark or orchid mulch

The different wood substrates such as cypress, aspen and fir are probably the most popular because they are lightweight, fairly inexpensive, have good humidity retention, and are suitable for burrowing.

Indonesian Blue Tongue Skink Bedding

On the other hand, Indonesian Blue tongue skinks need high humidity levels. Indonesian Blue tongue skinks include:

  • Classic Indonesian blue tongue skinks
  • Merauke blue tongue skink
  • Kei Island blue tongue skink
  • Irian Jaya blue tongue skink

The best Indonesian Blue tongue skink beddings can retain humidity and are soft enough to encourage digging and burrowing are. Some good options are:

  • Paper towels – These need to be cut in multiple, long sheets in order to encourage burrowing and digging
  • Sphagnum moss
  • Eco earth
  • Coconut fibers

Blue Tongue Skink Bedding – Brand Recommendations

Australian:

  • Lugarti Natural Reptile Bedding
  • Reptichip
  • Reptile prime coconut finer substrate
  • Eco Earth and Tropical Soil
  • Zoo Med Loose Coconut Fiber Substrate

Indonesian:

  • Reptichip
  • Sugar cane mulch
  • Sphagnum moss
  • Exo Terra coco husk substrate

Final Thoughts

What type of Blue tongue skink bedding you pick can determine your skink’s happiness and health. For instance, dusty and fine substrates such as sand can result in health problems such as impaction. On the other hand, substrates that hold too much moisture can lead to respiratory infection.

The best Blue tongue skink bedding is 4 to 6 inches deep and is made of a material that encourages the skink to burrow and dig. The best options for Blue tongue skink substrate include sphagnum moss, coconut fiber, cypress mulch.

Related Topics Q&A

How Often Should I Clean My Blue Tongue Skink’s Substrate?

Once you have chosen your Blue tongue skink bedding, you must learn about the upkeep. Keeping your skink’s environment clean is essential for their happiness and most importantly – their health.

To reduce the risk of impaction, respiratory issues, parasites, bacteria and other health concerns, it’s important to keep their substrate clean.

The cleaning of the bedding should be split in daily spot cleaning and monthly deep clean.

–        Daily spot cleaning should consist of removal of waste and any mess you find on the bedding. This way you’d be reducing bad odors whilst providing your skink with a clean environment.

–        Monthly deep clean should consist of removing your skink from their tank to a separate container, followed by cleaning and sanitizing the entire tank, removing the substrate to sanitize it or replace it. If you have decided to sterelize the bedding, it’s important to always follow the heating instruction for wet or dry substrate

Can I Mix Different Substrates?

Yes, you can mix different substrates when setting up your Blue tongue skink’s tank. For instance, mixing Cypress mulch with sphagnum moss, coco fiber and coco husks can create a soft substrate that your skink would love. Another good option is to mix coco bark and coconut coir.


 References

https://www.thebiodude.com/blogs/reptile-and-amphibian-caresheets-with-cited-veterinary-and-herpetology-sources/blue-tongue-skink-care-guide

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