Blue-Tongue Skinks are generally around 4 inches long at birth, and as they grow older and mature, can reach up to 27 inches with some species (Meraukes), but how long does it take for them to reach full size?
The answer is slightly complicated, but generally speaking, it will usually take between 1 and 3 years for a pet blue-tongue to reach their full-size, with the vast majority taking between 1 and 2 years.
Now, what needs to be stated right off the bat is the fact that reptiles never stop growing. That’s right, reptiles continue growing right up until the day they die.
Although they continue growing, you probably won’t notice it simply because their growth rate becomes extraordinarily slow once they reach adulthood and sexual maturity.
Now that that’s out of the way, what makes this answer so complex?
The reason, is that while blueys take between 1 and 3 years to reach full size, how fast they get there is mostly dependent on how much food they eat.
That’s right, you can largely pace their growth-rate based on how frequently and how much food you give them.
How Fast Do They Grow?
You should expect your pet Blue-Tongue do to most of his or her growing in the first year. In fact, it’s not at all uncommon for skinks to grow more than 2 or 3 inches in a month. That’s fast!
How fast a Blue-Tongue grows also depends on factors such as his or her parents’ genetics, as well as what species he or she is, as certain species such as Northerns can be significantly larger than others, such as Indonesians.
From a starting length of around 4″, most captive blueys hit around 14-18″ after a year, with another 3-5″ per year after that. Generally, you will stop notice growth somewhere between the 2nd and 3rd year.
What Size Will They Reach Fully-Grown?
As I noted above, what size a bluey gets to determines on your species’ genetic constraints.
Some species get quite a bit larger than others fully grown.
Here are some rough guidelines:
|Centralians||15 to 18 inches|
|Indonesians||18 to 20 inches|
|Easterns||18 to 24 inches|
|Irian Jayas||24 inches|
Although Meraukes grow to be the longest, they generally are still smaller than Northerns, which are thicker, have more size and weigh more.
How Fast Should My Skink Be Growing?
If how fast your skink grows is based largely on how much and how frequently they eat, this then begs the question, how fast is too fast? How slow is too slow? How often and how much should they be eating.
Basically, you should expect your Blue-Tongue to do most of its growing in the first year of its life. After that, they will generally grow another 3-5″ inches a year until they are “fully grown”.
So, how fast is too fast?
Again, this will depend on the species and genetics of your individual skink, but if it’s growing at around 2 or so inches per month, it’s probably growing way too fast.
With a young skink, if you want to “pace” it to track towards reaching full size in 2 or 3 years, you should aim to feed it every other day for the first 3-4 months, and then every 3rd day until month 9 or 10. Once he or she is around a year old, you can decrease the frequency of eating yet again to around once every week.
At this pace, your skink will reach full size at around 2 years. In my opinion, this pace of eating more accurately reflects a Blue-Tongue’s native eating environment, and although I have no proof of this, just intuitively seems more healthy than power-feeding and more frequent feeding.
Power-feeding is when you feed your skink twice or more every day until they reach sexual maturity.
The goal of power-feeding is essentially to get the skink to sexual maturity as fast as possible, for breeding purposes. A skink that is power-fed will often grow at 1 and a half to more than 2 inches in a single month. Again, although I don’t personally know of any serious health consequences of power-feeding, I wouldn’t be surprised if it would lead to health effects down the road.
Basically, if you aren’t planning on breeding your Blue-Tongue Skinks with little concern for all else save profit, there really is no reason to be feeding them every day and getting them to full-size as quickly as you can.
Basically, to sum everything up:
- with healthy feeding patterns, a blue-tongue skink will reach full-size around 2 to 3 years
- with “power-feeding” blueys can reach full-size in around a year
- skinks, as reptiles, never truly stop growing
- feeding frequency and size, as well as their parents genetics and species determine how large they eventually get