Overfeeding is a much bigger problem than underfeeding, or worse, your Blue-Tongue Skink refusing to eat altogether. There are typically a handful of common reasons why this will be the case.

Typically, the most common culprit are annual brumation periods, where skinks begin to hibernate during the winter months. If it’s not brumation season, the next most common reason is probably their environment. And if it’s not their environment, unfortunately, you may have a sick bluey on your hands.

If you give them the opportunity to eat, a skink will usually eat, and like I noted above, overfeeding is a fairly common issue among skink owners. A lot of uninformed skink owners mistake a bluey’s seemingly bottomless pit of a stomach for real, genuine hunger. If left unchecked, overfeeding eventually leads to obesity (yes skinks can become obese!), lethargy and a whole host of other health issues.

However, if a skink is not eating, that really could mean a few different things. I would suggest that you check through each of these possible factors, in order, to determine the probable cause.

1. Your Skink is Simply Getting Older

I know, this sounds apparent, but as the old saying goes, common sense isn’t all that common.

Baby Blue-Tongues up to around 3 months should be fed daily, and after that most skinks should be fed every 2 to 5 days. Around the 8 month mark, after your pet skink has really packed on a lot of size, it’s normal to let off even more, with feedings occurring once or twice a week.

So, while it may sound obvious, if your pet skink is eating, but perhaps not quite as often as he or she used to despite food offerings, it could be simply that your bluey is has gotten a little older and just doesn’t want to eat as much.

Generally, this will not be the case however, as a lot of older pet skinks will still eat, especially if they are given the opportunity to eat something they really enjoy, even as they get older. It is however, a (small) possibility.

2. It’s Brumation Season

As a bright-eyed new skink owner many years ago, I was stumped and perplexed as to why my skink suddenly stopped eating. I tried everything, thinking his lamp was too hot, or that he didn’t like his terrarium, or that the humidity was too high and so on. After a little bit of research, it dawned on me.

As a bright-eyed new skink owner many years ago, I was stumped and perplexed as to why my skink suddenly stopped eating. I tried everything, thinking his lamp was too hot, or that he didn’t like his terrarium, or that the humidity was too high and so on. After a little bit of research, it dawned on me.

There wasn’t anything wrong with him, or his environment. It was simply “that time of the year”.

 

I have covered this in a little bit more depth here, but basically the gist of it is that many skinks brumate for several months a year, which is basically just a fancy term for hibernation.

This typically happens during the winter months of June, July and August in their native Australian and Indonesian habitats.

During this period, most skinks eat far, far less and some blueys will stop eating altogether.

If you like to do a little bit more reading on this possible research, you can read my article here.

3. Environmental Reasons

If it’s not brumation season for your Blue-Tongue, the next most logical area to look at is the environment. This means checking primarily 3 things:

  • the size and substrate of your terrarium or cage
  • the temperature and humidity
  • if your UV light is working properly

When it comes to your cage, is there enough space? Is your cage at least 40″ long and at least 16″ in width (ideally more than that).

Is your substrate causing possible issues, particularly with dust or your skink getting pricked by pointy wood chips?

Is the temperature and humidity at the right point for your skink? If it’s too high or too low, it could certainly cause issues for your skink.

Does your skink have access to a UV light for at least 4 hours a day? Is your UV light still actually producing UV (UV lights ability to emit ultraviolet light fades with time).

If all 3 of the above check out, you can probably rule out any type of environmental factor as the reason for your skink refusing food.

4. Signs of Ill Health and Distress

If you have ruled out your skink brumating and any environmental causes, you should also carefully examine your skink.

And by carefully, I mean really look him or her over.

Do you see any bones protruding from your skink? This is a very noticeable and easily identifiable sign that your skink has lost weight. If this is the case, then your skink hasn’t been eating well for a while now.

Note: You will not notice this during a skink’s brumation period. When your bluey is brumating, his or her metabolism slows way down, and it’s simply not necessary for him or her to eat all that often.

Is your skink sluggist, or more inactive than usual? This also is a sign to look out for.

Lastly, has your skink stopped defecating? If so, there could be an issue with his or her digestive system.

If you notice any of the above, whatever you do…

5. Do Not Force-Feed Your Skink

Some new skink owners may mistakenly think that this is a viable option, and it often ends badly.

Force-feeding sounds just like it entails, literally taking food and getting it into your skink’s mouth.

This is something that should be avoided at all costs!

This could lead to your skink choking to death, or even his or her health condition deteriorating even more. If your skink isn’t eating, there is probably a good reason for it. Shoving food down its mouth is never, never a good idea.

6. Take Your Skink to a Vet

There is 1 more thing you should probably try before throwing the hail mary.

There is a very small possibility that your skink is simply a picky-eater. By providing him or her the opportunity to eat from a lot of different food choices, you can also rule this out.

Now, if you’ve done the above:

  • ruled out a brumation period
  • ruled out any environmental factors
  • noticed visible signs of weight-loss

Then your last option is to see a veterinarian. Now, I know for a lot of people, they want to avoid this, mainly due to the cost of seeing one, but if you at all care about your skink’s health, it is something that will need to be done.

Preferably, you should find a qualified reptile veterinarian in your area, if there is one not too far away. I would suggest doing a quick search through this link to first check if this is an option for you.

Find a Vet

If not, then your next best option is to simply see a general veterinarian. Your veterinarian will be much better qualified and able to properly diagnose the cause of your skink refusing to eat than you will.

In situations such as these, there simply could be a myriad of possible different health issues at play here, and delaying a visit to your vet could potentially make his or her health worse.

I don’t really want to end on such a depressing note here, so I’ll just tell you that in the vast-majority of cases, it will not come to this. There is usually a much easier fix.

Remember, Blue-Tongue Skinks are quite hardy animals that do not get sick and fall ill easily.

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