Why Is My Blue Tongue Skink Sneezing? Causes And Solutions

Blue tongue skink sneezing

Normally, your Blue tongue skink sneezing is just them clearing debris from their nostrils. However, in some cases it can be a sign of infection. It’s important to observe your skink and take all symptoms into account before you start panicking.

This article will help you establish the cause for your a Blue tongue skink sneezing and find the best course of action. We are looking at all the possible causes that can result in your skink sneezing and providing a solution for each cause.

Let’s get right in!

Blue Tongue Skink Sneezing – Causes

If your Blue tongue skink is sneezing a bit too often, it can leave you very worried. However, before panicking, it’s important to take all the symptoms into account and to ensure your skink is really sneezing.

By that we mean, skinks can make a variety of noises such as purring, hissing, huffing, wheezing and of course sneezing.

For instance, hissing sounds exactly like, you guessed it – a snake hissing. Whereas, Blue Tongue skink sneezing sounds like a very short splashy sound. Normally, this will be accompanied with a quick twitch of the body.

The most common causes for Blue tongue skink sneezing include:

  • Clearing their nostrils
  • Irritation from substrate or dry air
  • Respiratory infection

Clearing Their Nostrils

Blue tongue skink sneezing

In most cases Blue tongue skink sneezing is a perfectly normal behavior. Your skink will do this to clear their nostrils from any debris that’s caught in there; or they will appear to sneeze as a reaction to something you’ve done such as startle them.

It’s important to remember that sneezing is a natural thing just like it is for us, humans. So, when should you worry?

If your Blue tongue skink sneezing is happening too often or if it’s accompanied by other symptoms such as being less active than normal, wheezing, breathing with mouth open, secretion and more.

With that said, Blue tongue skink sneezing from time to time and with no other symptoms is nothing to worry about and completely natural behavior.

Now, let’s take a look at the other causes.

Loose Substrate

As mentioned earlier, Blue tongue skink sneezing accompanied by other symptoms can mean that something is not right in their care. For instance, if your Blue tongue is sneezing more often than normal, it can mean that you’re using the wrong substrate.

By sneezing, your Blue tongue skink might be trying to clear the loose substrate particles that are stuck in their nostril and wind pipe.

A substrate that is too dusty or fine, can get into your skink’s nose and cause a complication after awhile. So, which substrate is a safe choice and which is not?

Safe Substrates

Let’s start by discussing what are the safe substrate options. It’s always best to consider using a substrate that is less fine such as cypress mulch, coco-fiber or topsoil.By providing them with a safe substrate, it can also prevent Blue tongue sneezing.

The substrate is your skink’s bedding. Thus, it’s important to choose something they will enjoy but also safe. Blue tongue skink love to bury themselves. Therefore, a substrate that is 4 to 6 inches deep will be perfected for them.

As there are many types of Blue tongue skinks, we are going to look at what is the best substrate for each skink.

Australian:

  • Lugarti Natural Reptile Bedding
  • Reptichip
  • Semi-arid DIY mix: 60% organic topsoil + 40% play sand
  • The BioDude Terra Firma bioactive kit

Indonesian:

  • Reptichip
  • Sugar cane mulch
  • Sphagnum moss
  • Humid DIY mix: 40% organic topsoil + 40% Zoo Med ReptiSoil + 20% play sand
  • The Bio Dude Terra Fauna bioactive kit (x2)

Substrates To Avoid

Now, to take a look at what substrates you should never use:

  • Pine/fir/cedar wood products
  • Reptibark
  • Carefresh rodent bedding
  • Sand

Some of these substrate retain too much moisture and it can result in the humidity being too high for your skink. Whereas, some of the other substrate can result in your Blue tongue skink sneezing and even impaction.

To read the full guide on what’s the perfect Blue tongue skink substrate, click here Blue Tongue Skink Bedding – Best vs Worst Options

Irritation From Dry Air

All reptiles will need different levels of humidity in order to be healthy. However, if the humidity is too low, the air will become too dry and it can result in your Blue tongue skink sneezing. If not corrected quick enough, this can even develop into a respiratory infection.

Solution

Ensure that you’re providing your skink with the right humidity.

Each Blue Tongue skink type require different humidity levels:

  • Northern blue tongue skink — 40-60%
  • Classic Indonesian blue tongue skink — 60-80%
  • Halmahera blue tongue skink — 80-100%
  • Merauke blue tongue skink — 60-80%
  • Irian Jaya blue tongue skink — 60-80%

To track your skinks’s tank humidity levels use a thermometer  and a hydrometer. The probe must be placed on the cool side of the tank to accurately track the humidity levels.

Respiratory Infection/RI

In some cases, Blue tongue skink sneezing can be due to a bacterial infection such as respiratory infection, also known as RI.

As respiratory infection develops in the lungs, it’s also often described as reptile pneumonia. Unfortunately, if not treated, this infection won’t go away on its own and can be fatal for your skink. Therefore, it’s important to catch this type of infections early on and act quickly.

The good news is that respiratory infection is easily prevented by providing your skink with good care such as correct diet, clean habitat and the right substrate.

To read the full guide on respiratory infection in skinks, click here Blue Tongue Skink Respiratory Infection – Causes, Symptoms, Treatment

Causes For RI

If your suspect that your Blue tongue sneezing is the result of a respiratory infection, it’s important to find what’s caused the infection in the first place, so you can make the necessary changes in their care. This is especially important in order to prevent reinfection.

With the that said, the two main causes for respiratory infections are:

  • Low temperatures in their habitat
  • High humidity in the tank. This can be the result of a substrate that holds too much moisture

Other factors that are also connected in causing a respiratory infection include:

  • Low immune system. Your skink’s immune system can be negatively affected if your skink is stressed or not getting enough nutrients from their diet
  • Long-term stress
  • Incorrect diet
  • Deficiency in vitamins and minerals

Symptoms Of RI

To be sure that your Blue Tongue skinks sneezing is sign of a respiratory infection, you need to observe them for additional symptoms.

Normally, persistent sneezing is one of the earlier symptoms. However, to confidently diagnose your skink, keep an eye out for other symptoms of respiratory infection such as:

  • Lack of appetite 
  • Difficulty in breathing 
  • Excessive saliva
  • Breathing with mouth open
  • Wheezing 
  • Your blue tongue skink raising its head when breathing
  • Sneezing 
  • Purring                             
  • Puffy appearance 
  • Nose discharge and mouth bubbles

Overall, when Blue tongue skink sneezing is accompanied with open mouth breathing and mucous and bubbles secretion around the nose, it’s very likely to be a respiratory infection. If you’re sure your skink has the infection, you’ll have to take them to the vet.

Treatment Of RI

If your Blue tongue skink sneezing is due to a respiratory infection, it’s essential that you act quickly and treat your skink. This is so important as respiratory infection can be fatal for skinks.

With that said, the treatment for respiratory infection involves antibiotics. That’s why is so important to take your skink to the vet, so they can prescribe the right antibiotics.

However, there is plenty that you can do to help your skink recover from the infection such as:

  • Increase the temperature
  • Include additional supplements
  • Change the water in their water dish
  • Clean the tank
  • Strip down the tank
  • Quarantine any tank mates

Not only will this speed up the recovery process but will also prevent reinfection which is essential.

Antibiotics

Normally, the treatment for Blue tongue skink respiratory infection is a course of antibiotics and anti inflammatory medicine.

The antibiotics will kill the bacteria that’s causing the respiratory infection. However, it’s important to note that antibiotics also kill the good bacteria in your skink’s body. Another side effect is lack of appetite and weigh loss.

Therefore, whilst taking the antibiotic, you should also work to improve their immune system and overall health. This can be achieved through combination of good hydration, nutritious diet and supplements such as probiotics – NutriBAC df or ProBio+.

As your skink’s appetite will be lacking whilst being ill, you can administered water, food and supplements through the use of a syringe (no needle) or hand fed.

Final Thoughts

Usually, Blue tongue skink sneezing is just them clearing their nostrils from debris and therefore nothing to worry about. Other times, your skinks’s persistent sneezing is a sign that something needs adjusting in their care such as their substrate or humidity levels.

Blue tongue skink sneezing is something to worry about when it’s a symptom of a respiratory infection. However, before panicking, it’s important to keep an eye out for other symptoms besides sneezing that can confirm the infection.

Once you suspect respiratory infection, it’s important to take them to the vet for antibiotics treatment. Alongside the antibiotics, it’s essential that you increase the temperature, deep clean and strip the tank of all accessories. This will help speed up the recovery and prevent reinfection.

Related Topics Q&A

Why Is My Blue Tongue Skink Huffing?

Normally, Blue tongue skink huffing is just your skink telling you they are annoyed or afraid. For instance, if you’re holding them and they start huffing, they might be telling you that they want to be put down.

It’s important to take into account how your skink feels and not force them to interact when they don’t feel like it.

I’m some cases, huffing can be a symptom of a respiratory infection.

To learn more about skink huffing, read the full guide here Blue Tongue Skink Huffing? What Causes It And How To Fix It

Why Is My Blue Tongue Skink Hissing?

Blue tongue skink hissing sounds just like a snake hissing. If your Blue tongue skink is hissing, it means they are telling you to back off.

In the wild, Blue tongue skinks get attacked by various predators. As they can’t properly defend themselves, hissing is their defence mechanism.

If your skink is hissing at you, it means they are feeling either threatened or agitated. It’s your responsibility to make your skink feel safe and comfortable. This is especially important as prolonged stress can result in health problems.


References

https://www.petmd.com/reptile/species/blue-tongued-skink

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