Guest post by Mike Valverde
Although they might not be as popular as ball pythons or bearded dragons, blue-tongue skinks are a fantastic pet for any reptile enthusiast— even if you’ve never kept a reptile as a pet before.
Whether you’re a newbie or a pro, old or young, these beautiful and unique creatures are excellent ambassadors into the wonderful world of herpetology. Unlike some reptile species, BTS can be easily handled and aren’t very picky eaters.
But don’t assume that you can just feed your pet skink leftovers. Despite having the capacity for a varied diet, there are still some foods you should prioritize to maintain a healthy blue tongue skink diet.
Keep reading to learn what you should (and shouldn’t) feed your pet blue tongued skink!
Blue Tongue Skink Diet & Nutrition
What are the nutritional needs of a blue tongue skink? For starters, everything they eat should have a Calcium to Phosphorus ratio of 2 to 1. This way, your BTS’s body can properly absorb the nutrients from their food. Additionally, foods high in Vitamin D are helpful for the same reason— although a properly lit enclosure will also provide some of this nutrient.
As for specific foods, blue tongue skinks are omnivores; they can eat fruits, vegetables, and a few different forms of protein. However, you’re going to want to prioritize protein and veggies over fruit, since they offer more nutritional benefits.
Best Fruit for Blue Tongue Skinks
For the most part, you should limit the amount of fruit you feed your skink. It’s great as a reward when training your pet — or as a garnish on their salad — but you don’t want to feed them too much of it.
Can blue tongue skinks eat strawberries?
Technically, yes— but you shouldn’t feed them to your pet! Due to their poor Calcium to Phosphorus ratio, it’s not a great idea to feed strawberries to your BTS. They’re also rich in goitrogens, which can cause your blue tongue skink to experience thyroid issues if they eat enough of them.
Can blue tongue skinks eat bananas?
Yes, BTS can eat bananas; however, they have extremely poor nutrition and should be strictly limited. Not only do bananas have a very low ratio of Calcium to Phosphorus, but they’re also high in sugar without providing any other nutritional benefits.
Can blue tongue skinks eat watermelons?
You can feed your pet skink watermelon, but you should cut it into small chunks beforehand. That being said, it shouldn’t be a significant part of your pet’s diet for a few reasons. First, it has a meager amount of Calcium content in comparison to its Phosphorus. Second, feeding too much watermelon to your BTS in one sitting can cause it to have diarrhea!
Can blue tongue skinks eat cherries?
Blue tongue skinks can safely eat cherries. Additionally, they have a mostly even ratio of Calcium to Phosphorus— not ideal, but not exactly harmful. However, they do contain large amounts of goitrogens, so feeding too many of them to your BTS can lead to thyroid issues.
Can blue tongue skinks eat apples?
Yes! Apples are generally considered acceptable fruits to feed blue tongue skinks. They don’t provide nearly the same nutrition as a leafy green salad, but they make for a great salad topper.
Can blue tongue skinks eat pumpkin?
Blue tongue skinks can eat pumpkin, but you might want to feed them butternut squash instead. Both of these gourds have a decent amount of Vitamin A, they have poor ratios of Calcium to Phosphorus— although butternut squash comes close.
Best Vegetables for Blue Tongue Skinks
Image taken by Nicole Kearney and uploaded to iNaturalist.
Unlike fruit, veggies should be a large part of your blue tongue skink’s diet due to their rich nutrient content. As a general rule, try and feed your BTS equal amounts of vegetables and protein, or slightly less.
Can blue tongue skinks eat basil?
Yes! Basil is high in Vitamin A and has an impressive ratio of Calcium to Phosphorus. In fact, it ranks among the best vegetables for your pet skink to eat.
Can blue tongue skinks eat kale?
Absolutely! Kale is similar to basil in nutrition but is the slightly healthier choice. That’s because it has a higher Vitamin A content and a Calcium to Phosphorus ratio (2.4:1) that’s closer to the BTS’s ideal for maximum absorption (2:1).
Can blue tongue skinks eat broccoli?
You can feed broccoli to your BTS but it shouldn’t be a large part of their veggie content. That’s because it has too much Phosphorus for your skink to synthesize its Calcium content. It’s also 90% water, so it would fill up your pet’s stomach without providing any nutrition!
Best Protein for Blue Tongue Skinks
Image taken by Vik Dunis and uploaded to iNaturalist.
If you want your pet skink to have a healthy and balanced diet, protein should make up the largest portion of it. You should still feed your BTS a similarly sized portion of veggies — with fruit as an occasional treat or garnish — but protein should be #1.
Can blue tongue skinks eat fish?
Don’t feed your blue tongue skink any fish or seafood! Any protein benefits that might come with fish aren’t worth the overwhelming drawbacks. With huge quantities of fat and salt, they’re a poor nutritional choice if you want to keep your BTS at a healthy weight. Additionally, they can often contain parasites and/or toxic metals like mercury.
Can blue tongue skinks eat mice?
If you have other pet reptiles, like pythons or tegus, you might have some feeder mice on hand— but can blue tongue skinks eat pinkies?
Yes, BTS can safely ingest thawed pinky mice. You should avoid feeding them anything larger than pinky, and avoid feeding them live ones to prevent any health risks. However, keep in mind that mice are fatty and shouldn’t be a regular part of your skink’s protein intake.
Can blue tongue skinks eat eggs?
Yes! Skinks commonly eat eggs out of nests in the wild, so you can safely feed your pet skink eggs every once in a while. Whether cooked or raw, you can safely feed BTS chicken or quail eggs.
Can blue tongue skinks eat mealworms?
Yes, you can safely feed your pet blue tongue skink mealworms— but you should consider silkworms instead. They offer many of the nutritional benefits of mealworms without nearly as much fat. However, it’s a good idea to gut-load or sprinkle vitamin powder on any insects you feed your BTS to ensure maximum nutritional intake.
Can blue tongue skinks eat dog food?
Actually, yes! Super premium dog food can be a healthy source of protein and some vegetables for your pet skink. Look for natural ingredients with lean meat like chicken, and be sure to moisten any dry food before placing it in his or her enclosure.
The Best Food for Blue Tongue Skinks, Hands-Down
So what are the best foods to give your BTS in order to provide a healthy and balanced diet? Here’s our recommendation:
- Fruit and Veggies: Remember to keep fruit to a minimum and stick mostly to veggies. The best vegetables for blue tongue skinks are collard greens, dandelion greens, green beans, arugula, mustard greens, and endive. The best fruits are berries, squash, apple, and papaya. Avoid onion, avocado, rhubarb, and tomato greens!
- Protein: Lean meat like chicken and rabbit are great, as are many types of bugs: crickets, silkworms, hissing roaches, and locusts. Avoid seafood!
- Reptilinks: If you’re not able to find some of these foods or you want to save some time and money, we offer special Omnivore Blends of our links that are perfect for blue tongue skinks. Check out our 50/50 Links and 25/25/50 Links for more info.