Is your Blue-Tongued Skink looking a bit disheveled and dirty? Want to clean him or her up? While Blue-Tongues can be hardy animals, there are a few things that you need to be aware of before giving him or her a good scrub.
To get simply to the point, the best way to bathe a Blue-Tongue is by putting him in a decently-sized, non-slip container filled with a little bit of warm water.
That being said, there is a good chance you don’t even need to do this, as you don’t usually need to give these animals baths.
Do I Need to Bathe my Blue-Tongue?
Here’s the thing, you don’t need to bathe your bluey. Ever, really. It’s just not necessary.
It’s perfectly normal for a Blue-Tongue to be lightly covered from the tiny dust particles of your aspen chips, or have bits of shed hanging from his toes and fingers, or even have a bit of dried fecal matter stuck to his body from walking through his own poo.
Rest assured, this is all perfectly normal.
When it comes to removing those dust particles, unless you simply change your substrate, they will never go away. Some of the drier, woody types of substrate have these circulating in the air and it’s just a part of the game.
Generally speaking however, most bluey owners who bathe their skink do it during a shed, in particular, a difficult shed.
If your skink is having difficulty removing all of his old skin, in particular around his toes and legs, then the absolute first thing you need to do is to check the temperature and the humidity.
Are they on point? Are they at the right levels for your skink? Especially the humidity, as if this isn’t at the right level, this more than likely is going to be culprit of your skink’s shedding problems. If you aren’t sure, get a hygrometer and check. It really is that important.
However, if you have found that the humidity is correct, and your skink is still having a difficult time getting rid of all his or her dead skin, a bathe certainly will not hurt it.
What Else Can I Do Besides Bathing for Bad Sheds?
A lot of Blue-Tongue owners who live in drier climates often have a problem keeping the humidity at the right level, especially for the Indonesian species.
One thing you could try is to add a few drops of coconut or salmon oil to their food before giving it to them to eat. Add a few drops and mix it up to ensure that it’s evenly spread throughout the food.
This can sometimes really help your skink maintain better it’s skin moisture level.
How Do I Bathe a Blue-Tongue?
There are a few key do’s and don’ts here.
- About an inch or two of luke-warm or room-temperature water is perfect. You don’t need a lot of water for this, just a bit. If the water is too high your skink may become stressed out and frightened. Also, placing your skink in head-deep water is perfect…if you want water to get into their ears and lungs. It really depends on how big your skink is, but try to make the water level deep enough so that it reaches from midway to the top of his leg and not any further. At this level, he or she can still easily walk around and feel safe, and it’s enough for you to easily clean.
- Consider putting something like a large stone in the water with him, or a towel on the bottom of the tub or container you are using to bathe him. The most important thing here is that you don’t want your skink all stressed out. By putting a decently-sized, flat stone in the water with him, it will allow him to completely get out of the water if he’s not feeling it. It will also aid in reducing any anxiety he or she may have. The towel is about traction. If you are using a bathtub he or she will inevitably slip and slide all over the place. Your skink will certainly not feel safe and secure. By putting a towel on the bottom, it will allow your Blue-Tongue to get some traction under it’s feet and feel sturdier.
- Never use soap. This may go without saying but it bears stating nevertheless. Never, ever use soap or any type of cleaning liquid when giving your Blue-Tongue a bathe. It could be quite harmful to them, especially if it enters their eyes or gets into their ears. Moreover, it will almost certainly dry out their skin, which will just make any shedding problem you may have had, that much worse! It’s better to just let your skink stay in the water, moving around or remaining still as he or she wishes.
How Long and Regular Should Bathes Occur?
The first thing to check for when placing your skink into the water is to make sure that he or she isn’t stressed and anxious. If your skink, make the sure the water temperature is OK, not too high and that he has some traction underneath his or her feet.
If your skink has no problems with this, the best thing to do is to simply let your skink do the work here. You don’t need to pour any water of him or her. Just let your skink wander around for 10-15 minutes.
If you are bathing your skink for shedding purposes, you can gently rub off any remaining skin yourself.
If you desire , after removing him from the water, you can place a wet paper towel or cloth over his tail or backside to ensure that more skin is rubbed off.
It’s probably not a good idea to give your skink a bathe too frequently, as in every week or so. This may lead to its skin drying out and becoming irritated. Remember, in their natural environments skinks rarely go into the water.
Whatever you do, make sure that you stay with him or her the entire duration of the bath! It bears repeating again, but stress is your enemy. Lessen it as much as you can.
That’s essentially it!
Here’s a quick summary of the main points:
- skinks do NOT need to bathe, ever
- if you want to bathe your skink due to shedding problems, first check the humidity and make sure it is on point
- use a tub or container that is sturdy, won’t fall over and has traction on the bottom (use a cloth if it’s slippery)
- use luke-warm or room-temperature water
- don’t use soap!
- stay with him or her at all times, as your #1 priority is keeping your little guy’s stress and anxiety low!