If the humidity and temperature are incorrect in your northern blue-tongued skink’s habitat, it can cause quite a few health problems. You need to get your numbers right.
To get straight to the point, what is the best northern blue-tongued skink humidity level?
The best overall humidity level for a northern blue-tongued skink (tiliqua scincoides intermedia) is going to be right around 40%. A little bit lower (down to around 25% or so) and a little bit higher (up to around 50%) are OK, but the closer to 40%, the better.
If the humidity level in your skink’s habitat is too high or too low, what can happen? What problems can arise?
As blue-tongued skinks are cold-blooded animals, their internal body temperature adjusts depending upon their outside environment. If the environment is colder, their metabolism and body processes slow down. Hotter, and everything speeds up.
A humidity level that is too high or too low can lead to the following problems:
- Your skink will be unable to properly digest and metabolize the food that it eats.
- Your skink’s health will deteriorate due to certain bodily functions not working properly.
- A humidity that is too low can lead to northern blue-tongued skinks’ scales and skin drying out.
- A low humidity can also lead to decreased appetite.
- A humidity that is too high can lead to excess moisture and dampness, which can negatively affect your skink’s lungs and health.
Basically, try to get the humidity of your bluey’s terrarium to 40% or so. Chances are, you won’t be able to get a uniform humidity of 40% throughout your skink’s entire terrarium, especially if it’s large, so the goal should be to get at least one side as close to 40% as you can.
An easy method to check if the humidity is too low is too check your blue-tongued skink’s belly. If the humidity is too low, your bluey’s scales will dry out first on its belly (one of the more sensitive parts of its body). If the humidity is correct, its belly should feel sleek and smooth.
And what about the temperature?
The Best Northern Blue Tongued Skink Temperature
Like humidity, if the temperature inside your habitat is too hot or too cold, this also can negatively affect your skink’s health.
What is the best temperature for northern species?
First of all, to get the best temperature for your northern skink, you’ll need a temperature gradient. A temperature gradient basically works like this; you have one side of the habitat act as your “cool side” and the other as your “hot side”. In between, you have a temperature that ranges in between.
For northern species of blue-tongued skinks, the best temperature ranges are as follows:
- 75 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit on the cool side ( 24 to 29 degrees Centigrade)
- 90 to 98 degrees Fahrenheit on the hot side (32 to 37 degrees Centigrade)
- A basking temperature of 98 to 100 degrees Fahrenheit (37 degrees to 38 degrees Centigrade)
You may be wondering if you need to keep these temperatures constant throughout both day and night.
My advice would be to simply make sure that the temperature on the cool side of your skink’s habitat does not fall below 70 degrees Fahrenheit (21 degreese Centigrade) during the night. If so, your skink may start to develop respiratory problems.
Keep the UV light on at least 8 to 12 hours of the day, try to stick to the above listed temperature and humidity levels, and you’ll definitely be on the right husbandry track.
How to Get Your Humidity and Temperature Levels Correct
A big part in getting the humidity and temperature levels in your blue-tongued skink’s environment on point is to simply use the right material and substrate.
Here are a few tips to make your job easier:
- Use the right substrate for northern blue-tongued skinks.
Not every substrate works equally well for every species of skink. For northerns, I would suggest a combination of the following substrates:
- Aspen wood shavings
- Sani chips
- Cypress mulch
- Coco husk
For northern species, I would highly recommend the aspen wood shavings. They do a really great job of not letting the humidity get above 40%, can easily be burrowed into, and are not harmful for your skink. A lot of bluey owners will combine aspen with something else, such as cypress mulch or even soil, to give a bit more firmness and hold.
Because getting the temperature and humidity levels on point will require you to fiddle around a bit, adjusting this and that, turning the temperature up and down, I would also suggest to:
- Use a temperature gun and/or a hygrometer.
Good, reliable laser temperature guns are fairly inexpensive and go a really long ways in making your job a million times easier.
I personally have been using this Etekcity Lasergrip Temperature Gun for over a year and it’s proven to be worth its weight in gold.
You literally just need to point, pull the trigger and you’ll get a fairly accurate reading in seconds. It’s that easy.
Another option is to simply get a combination thermometer and hygrometer. I use this ThermoPro TP50 Digital Hygrometer device for my humidity readings and I really have no complaints thus far.
Thermometer-hygrometer combination devices are pretty inexpensive and easy to set-up.
- Ensure that your skink’s habitat is the corrrect size.
If your enclosure is too small, it can seriously mess up your temperature and humidity. At the very least, you probably won’t have a good temperature gradient.
A lot of websites throw around a bunch of different numbers when it comes to your enclosure’s size. In general, I would advise:
- Get the biggest enclosure that you can afford and maintain.
If space is hard to find, I find T.C. Cooper’s blue-tongued skink space guidelines to be reasonable. They are:
- Do not use a tank that is smaller than 40 gallons, or less than 4.5 feet of square space.
- Do not use a tank with a length smaller than 36 inches.
- Do not use a tank with a width smaller than 18 inches.
- Do not use a tank with a height less than 8 inches.
These guidelines are for ONE adult blue-tongued skink, mind you. I wrote about this here, but you should probably not put more than one blue-tongued skink into a terrarium, as:
- 2 or more blue-tongued skinks will require a very large habitat.
- Blueys are very defensive and territorial, and they will inevitably fight.
The reason that you want a habitat that is correctly sized is that not only do blueys need as much floor space as they can get, but also because it is difficult to set-up a proper temperature gradient in a small tank.
Thus, the following will all help immensely with you getting a good temperature and humidity inside your bluey’s habitat.
- Use an aspen shavings-based bedding (possibly mixed with something like cypress mulch)
- Use a temperature gun or hygrometer to get accurate temperature and humidity readings of your cool and hot ends
- Use the correct sized habitat in order to accommodate a temperature gradient
- The best overall humidity for a northern blue-tongued skink species is around 40%.
- If the humidity and temperature level inside your bluey’s habitat is too low or too high, it can lead to some serious health consequences.
- The best overall temperature for a northern blue-tongued skink is 75 to 85 degrees on the cool side, and 90 to 98 degrees on the hot side.
- Using the correct substrate for northern species of skinks, a decent sized enclosure and a temperature gun and hygrometer will really help to get your temperature and humidity on point.