Blue tongue lizard

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Mulberry Lane Vet Hospital
294 Lords Place
NSW 2800

02 6360 3071

Quick Facts:

− Common species kept as pets include the Eastern Blue-tongue, Blotched Blue-tongue and the Shingleback (remember to check your states laws on keeping protected species).

− Some species can grow up to 45-55cm long (including tail).

− Blue-tongues can live for around 12-15 years.



− Suitable enclosures include plastic tubs or glass timber-fronted cabinets at least 1m long by 0.5m wide (depending on the size, age and number of lizards).

− Blue-tongues can be housed in groups but beware of fighting that can occur.

− Boxes or rocks should be provided to hide under.

− Floor covering can be simply and hygienically provided by using newspaper or recycled paper kitty litter.

− A shallow water bowl should be provided, avoid large or deep bowls as the lizards could drown. Shinglebacks are from dry areas and prefer a lower humidity so water should only be offered one day per week.

− Temperatures should be monitored at both ends of the enclosure using a thermometer, it is best to provide them with a 'cool' end and a 'hot' end. The hot end should be around 30-35C and the cool end around 24-28C. Use a thermostatically controlled ceramic or reflector globe to provide heat, overnight temperatures should not fall below 17-18C. To prevent this heat mats or weaker ceramic heat lamps may need to be used. Do not use heat rocks as these can cause burns to the lizards.

− Blue-tongues rely on UVB light to be able to adequately produce Vitamin D3 in their skin which is essential for proper calcium metabolism. Correct lighting can also stimulate natural foraging and feeding behaviours. UVB light can be provided by artificial UV-lights, most UV-lights designed for reptiles need to be placed at a minimum distance from the reptile and their UVB emission lifespan is usually around 3-6 months so need to be replaced at least every 6 months.

− However there is no substitute for natural sunlight! Blue-tongues should be placed in sunlight for 20-30 minute periods 1-2 times a week. The sunlight should not pass through any glass or plastic as this can filter out the UVB rays. Ensure the lizard is enclosed with an escape proof and predator proof cage and also that they have access to shade. Recommended day and night cycles for most Blue-tongues is 12 hours light and 12 hours dark



− Cages should be disinfected each week using a bleach and water solution (bleach 1:10 with water) and rinsed well afterwards.

− Blue-tongues are omnivores and should be fed equal quantities of fruits, vegies and animal foods. Food items can also be supplemented with weekly calcium/vitamin/mineral powder.

− Vegies and fruit that can be offered include Chinese greens, endive, dandelions, mustard greens, sweet potato, squash, carrots, beans, peas, apple, pear, melons, figs, pitted stone fruits, berries and occasional banana.

− Animal foods include snails, insects such as crickets, roaches, moths, beetles etc and boiled egg.

− Juveniles should be fed 1-2 times daily and adults 2-3 times per week. Feed with small portions no bigger than 1/3 the width of their head.

− Overhandling can become stressful though most Blue-togues can become very used to being handled. Ensure you support the whole body from underneath, particularly the fore and hind limbs and avoid squeezing them.


Health Notes:

− It is essential that you quarantine any new Lizard, it is not worth the risk of introducing disease or parasites to your existing Lizards.

− Always have any new Blue-tongue examined by your vet and continue to have your lizards vet-checked annually, especially if you intend to breed them. Parasite checks and blood screens can be also be performed. It is also a good idea to regularly weigh your Blue-tongues.

− Always wash your hands after handling any reptile and between handling each one.

− Blue-tongues can be transported individually in tied cotton bags, remember to ensure they cannot escape or overheat.


Copyright; Mulberry Lane Veterinary Hospital