Why Is My Blue Tongue Skink Whistling? Causes
Skinks making different noises is nothing new. However, it’s important to know which noises are normal and which should be of a concern. One of the noises that owners worry about is whistling. Normally, Blue tongue skink whistling can be nothing to worry such as just being annoyed or it can be something more serious such as a Respiratory infection.
Hearing your Blue tongue skink whistling for the first time can be worrying. This is especially true if you’re not very familiar with how these reptiles behave. However, before panicking, it’s important to check for any other symptoms.
This article will help you establish the cause for your Blue tongue skink whistling and what is the best solution in case it is something more serious.
Why Is My Blue Tongue Skink Whistling?
As already mentioned Blue tongue skinks can make variety of noises such as grunting, huffing, hissing, whistling. Your skink making noises can be due to many different reasons and situations.
When it comes to Blue tongue skink whistling, it can be nothing to worry about such as:
- Mood changes such as annoyance or feeling threatened
- Clearing their nostrils from debris
Or on the other hand, it can be a symptom of:
- Respiratory infection
- Keratin build up in their nostrils
- Problem in their setup such as the wrong substrate
One common cause for Blue tongue skink whistling is mood changes. Your skink whistling can mean they are feeling either annoyed, threatened or just telling you to back off.
As Blue tongue skinks are not naturally social animals, they can easily get agitated by various situations and factors such as:
- Being handled incorrectly
- Loud noises near their tank
- Sudden movements
On the other hand, if your skink is a new pet, they will naturally be feeling extremely stressed and afraid in the first few weeks. Therefore, you can observe your Blue tongue skink whistling as a result of feeling stressed due to still getting used to a new environment.
Being able to read your skink’s moods is very important. After all, you want your pet to be happy and comfortable at all times!
If you believe Blue tongue skink whistling is a result of either annoyance, stress or feeling threatened, you should try the following:
- Remove sources of loud noises. As mentioned earlier, skinks can get easily frightened by loud noises. Therefore, it’s essential to position their tank away from any loud noises such as TV, radio, appliances, kids, etc. Furthermore, you should speak softly when you handle them
- Avoid sudden movements. Besides noises, you should also avoid any sudden movements. This is especially important when you’re handling your skink
- Gentle Handling. Knowing how to handle your skink is essential part of their care. If you’re handling your skink incorrectly, it can result in stress and even injury in some cases
Clearing Their Nostrils
In some cases Blue tongue skink whistling can be your skink clearing their nostrils from debris.
When Blue tongue skink whistling is not accompanied by other symptoms or abnormal behaviors it’s not anything to worry about.
So, when should you worry about Blue Tongue skink whistling?
When the whistling has appeared out of nowhere, has become more frequent or is accompanied by other symptoms, you should look further into what’s causing it. We discuss one of these situation in the next paragraph.
In some cases, Blue tongue skink whistling is a symptom of respiratory infection. Respiratory infection, also known as RI, is a common disease that skinks suffer from.
Respiratory infection is very treatable and most importantly preventable disease through good husbandry.
One of the early symptoms of respiratory infection is irregular breathing which can sound like whistling. However, that symptom alone doesn’t mean it’s definitely a respiratory infection you’re dealing with. To be fully sure, it’s important to look for other symptoms of the disease such as:
- Sneezing and runny nose
- Excessive salivating
- Heavy breathing such as huffing noises and open mouth breathing
- Lack appetite
- Mouth bubbles such as mucus and froth. In some cases, eye bubbles
- Puffy appearance, swollen body (check picture above)
- Raising head to be able to breathe and open mouth breathing
- Scabby lips
- Watery eyes
Usually, treatment for Blue tongue skink respiratory infection is antibiotics prescribed by a vet. However, you can help your skink recover by doing the following at home:
- Increase the temperature
- Include additional supplements
- Change the water in their water dish
- Clean the tank
- Strip down the tank
- Quarantine any tank mates
To learn more about diagnosing and treating respiratory infection in Blue tongue skinks, click here for the full guide Blue Tongue Skink Respiratory Infection – Causes, Symptoms, Treatment Blue Tongue Skink Respiratory Infection – Causes, Symptoms, Treatment
Keratin Build Up
In some cases, Blue tongue skink whistling can be the result of keratin build-up inside one or both nostril/s. Some skinks are susceptible to this condition and one of the signs are whistling through the nose.
Owners of skinks that have this condition report that it can come and go; sometimes it’s more noticeable and sometimes it’s less.
If your Blue tongue skink whistling is the result of keratin build-up in the nostrils, it’s nothing to worry about. Normally, the condition will take care of itself over time.
The only thing you should keep an eye out for is their breathing. If the condition start affecting your skink’s breathing too much, you’ll have to take them to the vet.
The wrong substrate can cause many problems, including Blue tongue skink whistling. Substrate that is too dusty or fine, can end up getting stuck in their nose and subsequently cause whistling noises.
Solution – The Right Substrate
If your Blue tongue whistling is the result of a substrate that is too fine or dusty, the solution is to provide your skink with the right substrate.
The safest substrate option for your skink are less fine such as cypress mulch, coco-fiber or topsoil.
As there are more than one type of Blue tongue skinks, we are going to look at what is the best substrate for each one.
- Lugarti Natural Reptile Bedding
- Semi-arid DIY mix: 60% organic topsoil + 40% play sand
- The BioDude Terra Firma bioactive kit
- 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
On the other hand, knowing what’s the right substrate is as important as knowing what to avoid such as:
- Pine/fir/cedar wood products
- Carefresh rodent bedding
To read the full guide on what’s the best substrate for your skink, click here Blue Tongue Skink Bedding – Best vs Worst Options
Although, Blue Tongue Skink whistling can be worrying at first, it’s important to take into account all the factors and additional symptoms.
For instance, if yours skink is making whistling sounds and there aren’t any other symptoms present, it shouldn’t be of a concern. In some cases, your skink will make different noises such as whistling if they feed annoyed, threatened or just trying to tell you to back off.
It’s important to note when does the whistling occur. If you notice it when handling your skink or when you’re rearranging something in their tank, it can be a sign of annoyance.
On the other hand, if your skink’s whistling is accompanied by other symptoms such as excessive salivating, open mouth breathing, mouth bubbles, it can be a sign of a respiratory infection.
If you’re concerned about your skink’s health, it’s always best practice to take your skink to the vet.
What Are Normal Noises And Sounds That Blue Tongue Skinks Make?
Although, Blue tongue skinks are normally quiet reptiles, they still make some noises and sounds that you should be aware of. Usually, these sounds are for communication and to express how they feel.
Some of the mentioned sounds and noises can include whistling, grunting, squeaking, hissing, wheezing, clicking, etc.
Read here to learn more about Why Is My Blue Tongue Skink Sneezing? Causes And Solutions
Although, most of these noises are perfectly fine, it’s important to always take into consideration if other symptoms are present. For instance, your skink making wheezing or whistling noises combined with laboured, open mouth breathing, can mean a respiratory infection.
How To Tell If My Blue Skink Is Annoyed?
Understanding your skink’s body language is important. Especially, when they are trying to tell you that they want to be left alone.
The following quick guide, can help you navigate through your skink’s moods:
- Short snorting or huffing means they are annoyed
- Tail flicking or wagging means they are either irritated or angry
- Long huffs or hisses, combined with body tilt and puffing means they are bing aggressive
- Displaying mouth and tongue, it’s their defense mechanism and means “Back off!”