Blue tongue skinks are a special category of beginner lizard that seem to fulfill the wish list of all the attributes that one would want as a starter reptile. They are touted as easy keepers with obvious intelligence and pleasant personalities. They have simple cage requirements, uncomplicated diets (i.e. no live food requirements), seem to enjoy handling, are hardy yet docile, and live to 15-20 years.
The Northern blue tongue skink (Tiliqua scincoides intermedia) comes from northern Australia woodlands and grasslands, grows to an adult size of 18”-24”, and needs a cage of at least 36”x18”x10” (length x width x height). Their grassland and forest origin makes them terrestrial rather than tree climbers, so they prefer floor space over climbing perches. They can live in a family arrangement if dwelling in a suitably large enclosure, but if so, they must be watched for signs of fighting. Males should not be housed together. Their habitat should have warmer areas and cooler areas, known as an appropriate thermogradient. Basking areas can be 90-100 degrees and cooler areas 75-82 degrees. They are omnivorous and feed daily or every other day (adults). They are touted as being able to reward owners with their surprising and curious personalities regardless of the level of herp experience. The other most commonly seen blue tongue species in the pet trade is the Indonesian blue tongue (Tiliqua gigas).