Among blue-tongue skink enthusiasts, this can sometimes be quite a heated argument. That said, most skink owners in the know tend to come down on 1 side of the argument.
Skinks are really cute animals. I know the temptation all too well.
You get one skink, and sooner or later you’re itching for another.
This begs the question however; can you keep multiple blue-tongue skinks together in the same terrarium?
My opinion is that it’s probably not going to be a good idea, especially if you are still new to blue-tongue husbandry (care).
Now, I want to be completely fair. There are certainly blue-tongue owners out there who have successfully kept multiple blue-tongues housed together for long periods of time. And there are some owners who say that as long as you do your due diligence, it shouldn’t be a problem.
All things being said however, I believe these people to be in the minority.
In this quick article I want to explain why I think it’s not a good idea to house blue-tongues together unless you are quite experienced and knowledgeable.
Blue-Tongues Are Solitary Creatures
In the wild, blue-tongue skinks prefer to be alone.
They hunt alone. They hide alone. They eat alone. They live out their lives completely solitary and do a pretty good job of avoiding other skinks.
The only real time blue-tongues aren’t alone is during breeding season.
The mating season for blue-tongues typically occurs right around September to November. During this period of time, males tend to become a bit more aggressive and territorial, and males can be found fighting together.
Even the actual mating process is rough, as males will often bite, scrape and push around the females, sometimes leaving marks and scars.
What all this should indicate is that, if blue-tongues are solitary creatures in the wild, they should probably be solitary in captivity as well.
Furthermore, I’m going to list a few reasons why I would advise against cohabitation.
The Disadvantages of Cohabitation
The first biggest reason why I would advise against cohabition is due to the possibility of fighting.
While it’s true that blue-tongue skinks are personable, friendly creatures, at the end of the day they are still reptiles. And reptiles have a quite primitive reptilian brain.
Here’s the thing about fighting between skinks: a fight can break out at any time.
You may believe that you’ve got 2 really chill blue-tongues who have lived together their entire lives in a massive terrarium, and that there just hasn’t been any evidence that either are violent or aggressive.
It doesn’t matter, because a fight could still break out.
And if it does, one of your skinks may become quite seriously injured.
All it takes is the wrong bite at the right place, and one of your skinks has lost a toe, a tail or an eye. It happens.
The truth is, you can’t expect to watch and observe your blue-tongues every second of every hour of every day. It’s just impossible. Thus, you can’t always be there to separate them if they do fight.
At the end of the day, blue-tongues are still somewhat unpredictable and wild.
This applies even if the skinks have been housed together since they were babies, even if both are female, or one is a male or a female. The chance of fighting will always be there.
Disease and Illness
Obviously, if you’ve got more than 1 blue-tongue in any single terrarium, that increases the chances that if 1 is sick, the other may get sick as well.
Here’s the thing about trying to prevent disease and illness from spreading to your other skinks:
By the time 1 of your blue-tongues is already showing visible signs of illness or disease, chances are it may be too late to separate them. Your other blue-tongue may have already been infected.
Reptile ticks and mites are something which are often found in Blue-tongues. You can see them latched onto the scales in and around your blue-tongues ears. They are often a pain to deal with, and it’s much better simply preventing against them.
Basically anything contagious, anything at all, has a chance of spreading if one of your skinks is infected.
Lack of Adequate Space
My personal recommendation is to house your blue-tongue in nothing smaller than 3 foot by 1.5 foot terrarium. That’s bare minimum.
Essentially my philosophy is; the more floor space for your bluey, the better.
This will go a long way in maintaining your blue-tongue’s health, both mentally and physically.
Thus, if you are thinking of housing more than 1 skink inside the same terrarium, it goes without saying that you should certainly increase the size of the tank.
After all, you don’t want your skinks to feel cramped, which as pointed above, can increase the chance of fighting.
The problem with this is that if you are like everyone else, keeping your blue-tongues indoors, it’s often times difficult to get bigger and bigger terrariums. First of all the bigger the tank, the more expensive it is, and secondly, sometimes it’s just not very optimal to place inside your house.
The thing about space is that it isn’t just creating more floor space that matters, you’ll always need to think about things such as:
- increasing the number of hideways for both skinks
- the larger the tank, the more difficult it is to keep an optimum temperature gradient
- the larger the tank, the more difficult it is to get the humidity where you want it
- what will you do during feeding time? separate them? different bowls?
As you can see, it makes your job quite a bit more difficult.
Not only is it in my opinion safer to house blue-tongues separately, but I also think it’s easier.
How do Experienced BTS Owners Keep Multiple Blue-Tongues in the Same Cage?
If most blue-tongue owners prefer to keep their skinks separate, what about those that don’t?
In my experience, it appears that most blue-tongue owners that keep them together tend to live in Australia and tend to be professional breeders.
The other thing I have noticed is that a lot of these breeders don’t keep them indoors, but rather in outdoor pits.
Which would make sense, given that Australia is their native environment and ideally, they should be kept outside.
Often times, these tend to be Northerns, which are in general more docile and tamer relative to other breeds.
They have also been bred together since childhood, so there is a level of comfort among the skinks.
Lastly, a lot of these owners have a rule about only housing blue-tongues together that are of a similar size, to prevent bullying.
All that being said, I would still strongly advise you to keep your blue-tongues separate, especially if you are still new to blue-tongue husbandry.
It’s simply safer and easier.
- blue-tongue skinks are solitary creatures in the wild
- when they are housed together, they can potentially fight and injure themselves
- disease and illness can more easily spread
- you’ll need to increase the size of your terrarium
- generally, only very experienced blue-tongue skink owners and breeders house them together