Concerned about skink

KarenSoCal

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Hello, all!

I'm a bit concerned about my almost 5 month old blue tongue skink, Thistle.

The last several days she has only come out of her hide to eat, then straight back into it she goes. She does not come out again til the next meal. She is eating slightly less than before, but still a decent amount.

Her temps are warm...basking 100°, with a warm to cool ambient gradient of 95° to 82°. At night it goes as low as 75°. Prior to these last days, she seemed to be slowing down, not spending as much time out of her hide, and really doing whatever she could to avoid me. She's been fine when I actually get hold of her and put her on me. She climbs all over me and does not seem nervous or scared. But it's clear she would rather have me leave her alone.

But that's been going on for a long time. It's this never coming out that worries me.

Is she trying to brumate? Do BTS's stop eating and need to clear their guts like torts? Should she be even warmer? Should her lights be on more than 12 hours?
 

Tom

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Totally normal Karen. I usually stop feeding them around the end of November but leave the lights on their timer. The day I stop feeding I start taking an hour off the heat lamp timer daily, until I eventually just shut the lamp off.

They don't really "hibernate", they just stop eating and sleep more. Temps around 65F suit them well during this time and I keep the water fresh and clean because they will occasionally come out and drink or have a look around.

When I see a warm spell coming on the 10 day forecast in spring, usually March, I plug the heat lamp back in and start adding time to it daily until I reach 13 hours. When the lamp is on for at least 10 hours a day and I see the skink up and active more, I begin introducing food again. Small amounts at first. Your skink will let you know when it is hungry.

When they first wake up after not being handled all winter, expect to go back to the scared baby phase for a few days at least. After some handling and a few meals, the baby will go back to normal. Just don't put your hand near the mouth when picking him/her up during that time.
 

KarenSoCal

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@Tom Thank you! I knew they brumate, but didn't know lights and heat wouldn't keep them up.

The only difficulty I see is the 65°. The enclosure is in my living room, and I have no other place to put it. I don't know if I can keep it down to 65° during the day. Fortunately the living room is a cool room.

So once you turn off the heat light, all lights go off and the enclosure stays dark? That's no problem, I'll take the plants out of there for the winter.
 

KarenSoCal

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KarenSoCal

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Low desert 50 mi SE of Palm Springs CA
I am just glad what I found wasn't called 💩by Tom!
Actually, I know that Tom holds that site in high regard, as do I.

But when I have questions, I like to get other keepers' opinions as well as ideas on how to solve a particular problem.

Thanks to anybody who responds and offers suggestions! 🙂
 

TammyJ

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Actually, I know that Tom holds that site in high regard, as do I.

But when I have questions, I like to get other keepers' opinions as well as ideas on how to solve a particular problem.

Thanks to anybody who responds and offers suggestions! 🙂
How is your skink doing now?
 

KarenSoCal

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How is your skink doing now?
Hi, Tammy!
She's just weird right now! :p The day after I posted she got up to eat in the morning and stayed outside her hide the entire day. She's never done that before. She finally went to bed after her lights went off. 🤷‍♀️

So now one day she sleeps all day, and the next she's up most of the day. She eats every day, but only about a 1/4 of her usual. I'm just playing it by ear at this point.

One thing she does that I find adorable...her substrate is coco chip, dry, so it's easy to bury herself in it. When she is shedding, she goes to the bottom of the coco chip and slowly walks all around her enclosure. All I see is the substrate rippling as she walks. At first I wondered what she was doing. Then it dawned on me...the coco chip is scraping her old skin off for her!! Brilliant! and so cute!
 

TammyJ

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Hi, Tammy!
She's just weird right now! :p The day after I posted she got up to eat in the morning and stayed outside her hide the entire day. She's never done that before. She finally went to bed after her lights went off. 🤷‍♀️

So now one day she sleeps all day, and the next she's up most of the day. She eats every day, but only about a 1/4 of her usual. I'm just playing it by ear at this point.

One thing she does that I find adorable...her substrate is coco chip, dry, so it's easy to bury herself in it. When she is shedding, she goes to the bottom of the coco chip and slowly walks all around her enclosure. All I see is the substrate rippling as she walks. At first I wondered what she was doing. Then it dawned on me...the coco chip is scraping her old skin off for her!! Brilliant! and so cute!
I would love to have one of these wonderful lizards! I held one once long ago in Australia and never forgot it.

Glad yours seems to be fine. It's good to be able to get help and reassurance on this site!
 

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