These topics within this page are Highly debated topics within the BTS hobby. Everyone has the right to their own opinion. If you are sensitive or are offended easily, we ask that you go back or move on to another page.
However, if you are o.k. with Highly Debated Topics.
Welcome to TABOO TOPICS.
This is a blog style
Cohabitation of our animals is a controversial subject within the BTS world and I have both cohabited animals and single occupancy animals.
It’s not a case of anyone is better than any one else it’s all down to what you feel comfortable with and have the experience and knowledge to achieve the required outcome.
I will post a reply that I gave to another group member in case anyone missed it.
Cohabitation is a point that many people have very strong opinions on.
Those who are against it, in my experience are those who have trawled various blue tongue skink forums and taken the second hand or maybe third hand knowledge of someone who has made a comment and never actually owned more than one animal. Or those with two animals and through no particular reason have failed.
Also on the other side of the argument are those who have thought about the process looked at all the parameters that must be met and also with animal safety at the paramount of the experiment, as I will call it an experiment because you don’t know it will work.
Basically we have opinions and in life no two opinions are wrong just different. The most important opinion that can not be challenged is animal safety.
So having said all of the above, it can be achieved I have found that the following must be achieved:
Lack of dominance at eating time
Enclosure designed to cohabitate and also be alone.
Handling as a pair by the owner.
Above all time and patience.
I must stress that I do never recommend going to a pet shop or breeder purchasing two animals and one enclosure and just putting them in together. You would never drive a car without taking a driving test.
So basically in a nut shell this can be achieved by experience and I am not talking about the guy who has had a single animal for 5 years I am talking about the guy who has had that animal for 5 years and read every article possible, more importantly why it should not be done. This way the bigger picture is appreciated.
I hope that clears this up, to me it is not a kudos action that I take it is a willing to observe the interaction and other behaviors of our animals.
One point I will make to finish is that when I say feeding I do not mean fighting for food or dominance, I am talking no dominance at all as shown in the video.
The first time that I saw cohabitation of Indo's. I was shocked!!! You only ever see or read, Do Not Do This.
I was totally against this.
However, my opinion swayed.
Because you absolutely can not argue with success, That is why.
You can debate a lot of topics, but success isn't typically one of those topics.
The fact is, most people who look down upon people who cohabitate, have never tried cohabitation theirself, nor been successful themselves.
-Do not just go housing your skinks together.
-Cohabitation should only be tried by experienced keepers.
Adrian is not the only keeper that I have witnessed success with, but Adrian is the only fellow that I know who is this open. Who cares enough to speak out because he wants to see others be successful. If you are gonna try something, it is always best to have a little guidance. Experience is key.
I have already discussed the dangers of feeding raw meats.
Regarding things such as salmonella and e-coli.
So, No I do not recommend feeding raw fish to your skink, though like beef mince or raw chicken, I suppose you can.
So, let's delve deeper into this debated topic.
These skinks seem to have iron stomachs. They commonly eat poo. They eat carrion which pretty much means decaying flesh. Bacteria and disease is what they may commonly feed on out in the wild with whatever they are feasting upon. They are opportunistic eaters that will rarely pass up an easy meal.
Our BTS are disgustingly cute little critters.
So why the big fuss about fish? People seem to think that these lizards will just pick up parasites from everywhere, yet they do not consider the possible parasites on and within the live insects that they feed their Indo's.
(Horn worms & Crickets & Wax worms, Oh, My!)
The other point of concern is the mercury content, which with enough of it can present health implications to almost any life form.
So, some of us refuse to feed dog foods and cat foods with fish in them to our BTS.
Yes, it is a legitimate worry. Any most any worry is legitimate, when you care for your animal. Kudos to you for being a good pet owner!
Here is the good news though.
Farm raised fish, which is what is put into most pet foods or foods packaged for human consumption does have lower mercury levels.
Most fresh water fish, but not all freshwater fish will have low mercury levels than salt water fish.
The FDA has come out and stated that most farm raised salmon most likely will not have parasites, unless those salmon diets are made up of wild fish. This is also why you want to get insects from a trusted vendor and not from your yard.
The risk is much much lower, but can still exist.
Do I support feeding fish? Yes.
Just as with humans, fish can be a very great source of protein and a healthy meal or snack for your skink.
Just as with humans, you should be aware of what you are feeding to your pets.
An adult skink should only be eating once a week, so I do not see where one meal containing fish can hurt in your monthly rotation.
Exo-Terra provides Shrimp in a can. These are farm raised river shrimp. My skink loves them. I only feed them periodically and he has a clean bill of health.
You really have no need to worry when it comes to Quality dog foods, cat foods or other pet foods in general.
This is my advise.
There really is no way of telling where every bit of your Indonesian Blue Tongue Skinks food comes from. We have what you call trusted sources such as well known brands, your local exotics shop, your grocery suppliers and markets, website care guides and You Tube channels.
Always do your research, and remember that there is more than one way to skink. But, You do not be afraid of all fish.
This type of food can seem like cruel and unusual punishment for some viewers. I have witnessed a couple of heated debated over feeding pinkies, frozen or live alike. These lizards will eat almost anything that won't eat them it seems. Other than carrion they eat insects, larvae, slugs, eggs, hatchling birds, other reptiles, small mammals and so much more.
No, I really did not agree with this at first, but the more someone learns, understanding then follows.
Do I like to watch live feedings? No not really, I feed my slithery reptiles frozen thawed.
Do I feed my Indonesian Blue Tongue Skink rodents? The answer is No.
Do I disagree with the practice? The answer is No.
Honestly, feeding your BTS a rodent, is really no different than any other animal to your Indo. It is a life form consuming another life form. It is a part of life.
I do believe that one should not be so quick to criticize.
Especially those who are not vegan. Most of us enjoy many other life forms in the fashion of a meal. Not because that creature was a necessity but just because we like the way it taste. Yet, you judge someone for feeding something to their BTS that occurs naturally, minus the frozen part.
Millions of people across the globe eat an element of somethings reproductive system for breakfast (Eggs). Do you see why this debate eludes me? LOL
So my final thoughts on feeding pinkies or rodents.
-Never leave live food in the enclosure as the food source can potentially injure your skink.
- Reserve this type of meal as an ocassional snack unless your lizard is underweight. Pinkies have a very high fat content and we want to keep our skinks Healthy.
Ok. Let's go over a couple of terms before we get started.
Captive Born & Bred (CBB)- This means that this type of skink was produce by a breeder.
Not that a pet store happened to have gotten a gravid skink and the new skinks were born in house.
Long Term Captive (LTC) - This means that the specie was wild caught and has been in captivity for 3 months or more.
Farm Raised (FR)(CF)- Known as Farm Bred or Captive Farmed. These animals are semi-captive as they are reproduced in the elements. Sometimes they can be fully captive depending on the farm. As with any reptile store the animals condition depends on their captors.
Wild Caught (WC)- Taken from the wild.
Ok, let's get into the heart of the matter.
You will hear that CBB is the way to go when it comes to the hobby. Captive breeding can be used to save species and can help a population thrive. Captive breeding is one way of saving an endangered species. Most captive born and bred animals will likely not have the disease or parasites that a WC may have. Captive born and bred animals can be more socialized depending on the captors and their handling practices. Now, a misconception is that this is always the case. If a breeder has a modest number of skinks let's say 50. How do they get all of those animals socialized? What about a breeder with over a 100 or even 200 creatures? This boils down to the facility capabilities and their number of employees.
CBB are commonly more expensive animals than WC. Rightfully so, it takes a lot of time and money to nurture these skinks from birth. That is a lot of food, enclosures, lighting, vet visits and a lot of other things to get these animals ready for the consumer. This is mostly why an Australian skink will cost about twice as much starting out than a WC.
Australia has strict laws when it comes to exporting native wild animals and has been this way since the 80's.
So dealing in Captive Born & Bred skinks is a huge business due to this. This is why you may be looking at around $5000 (USD) starting out to purchase a shingleback skink. People also presume that most Aussie species are captive bred. Not in Australia, you still have WC and FR issues there as well. It is in every other part of the world that you can expect an Aussie specie to be CBB. There is a certain security that you may feel when you hear the term CBB.
Long Term Captives...LTC is how you can end up with breeding projects. These are WC animals that have pretty much been quarantined. These animals are usually deemed safe with enough time given though they probably won't differ as much in price than a WC. LTC are great for farming opportunities.
Wild Caught... WC
This is a subject that normally leaves a bad taste in peoples mouth.
Animals that are caught in the wild then shipped around the globe do have a hard time and go through a disgusting amounts of stress. The chances of disease and parasites are a real thing.
Another truth about WC is the fact that you absolutely can not have any CBB species without having a WC at some point. WC depends on CBB for various projects, therefore CBB depends on WC for those specimens. You simply can not have one without the other. A reason not to collect WC is the stress that it puts on wild populations. However, there are no shortages of BTS. Another reason is the atrocious treatment and conditions that they may have had to endure before reaching their destination, or the risk of parasites and disease.
So, with that being said.
Let's talk about the Indonesian Effect. Chances are that if you own an Indonesian Blue Tongue Skink you may have heard that it's a WC. Possibly, what you do not hear about are the reputable breeders from Indonesia, around the globe and here in the States. So, with any pet, mostly puppy's you have to deal with parasites, heart worming and so much more. So, why is it any different with an Indo? A fecal test on average is $25. Most any treatment is under $100. Which is cheaper compared to most mammals. You are actually better of with a owning a reptile because you should be keeping them in a controlled environment, unlike a lot of other pets. Meaning that you may never have any other issues as long as you provide proper husbandry.
Before we can continue and the support for cruelty pops up.
Keeping something against it's will for an entire lifespan can seem cruel to some.
Farming of reptiles seem cruel to some yet those farms help with breeding creatures all over the globe. Not every farming project is a disaster with horrid conditions but if we do talk about those, may we also talk about all of the puppy mills within the United States alone? Why do I keep bringing up dogs? Because they are one of the most beloved and relatable species on the planet. Every dog is the descendant of a wolf, a wild caught dog. I bet that you can not name one CBB specie of any animal that was not at one point wild caught.
So, why is this issue pushed so hard when it comes to BTS?
Well, when I first got my BTS I joined a bunch of Blue Tongue Skink Groups on Facebook. I really thought that I may learn something. I was clearly wrong, it was the same over and over again. I discovered that most groups concerning BTS was by Aussie breeders. Why does this matter? I am also in some actual Indonesian speaking groups and what I am about to discuss never comes up in those groups.
What have I read and seen?
So, some `members want an Indonesian Blue Tongue Skink right?
What are these members usually told?
-It's better to get a captive Bred. I have no problem with this answer.
-It's gonna be riddled with parasites and disease.
- You can not tame them.
- They are too much work.
-They are to unpredictable and more hissy than Aussie's
I have seen a member talk about their Indo being ill and they were told that the animal would probably die anyways.
Asking for advise is gross in some cases because these group members give out wrong information dealing with husbandry that can cause serious complications.
When they have not the slightest idea of whats going on.
You also get a lot of "Take a look at my skinks" "Why do you want something riddled with disease when you can have one of my CBB skinks?" (when you are looking at buying an Indo).
"It's wrong to support WC"( is a popular explanation that breeders push when it comes to Indo's)
Or how about down talking other members for what they own. Yes, people should do research before purchasing an animal but we are a society that is on-demand and their purchase may have been an impulse buy. Why shun them instead of teaching them proper care? It doesn't make sense until you realize that promoting Indos at all takes away from their bottom dollar.$$$
Pictures are another tactic that is used to discourage purchasing Indo BTS. I have seen photos that were supposed to be during importation, that actually turned out to be from a reptile convention. Which needs it's very own topic.
Now I will say that not everyone nor every conversation goes like this. But, I will say that this toxic behavior goes on way too often and in way too many places.
It's like this, you go to your local pet store, you see this sad and maybe unhealthy skink. Maybe it's a super healthy skink and you just want an Indo. Either way, do you look at the creature and dismiss it because it may be wild caught or farmed?
Or do you look down at this lizard and say "Come on Lil Buddy, You can live with me"?
There are positives and negatives with anything in life.
Here are the positives of owning a WC.
With proper husbandry you will be doing this reptile a great service.
They are proven to be Healthier in captivity.
They are proven to live years and years longer in captivity.
What else do you get with a WC other than a Happy and Healthy Skink who will live longer?
You get something that puts a smile on your face. You get to bond with an animal that quite a bit of people are weary of. I have no idea why so many people can be scared of reptiles in general but it is an awesome feeling knowing that you have one of the best pet lizards out there.
For you who own Indo's that say you do not support WC.
You simply can not own something that may be WC no matter if you re-homed, adopted or purchased without supporting WC in the least slightest way.
This is what I will tell you, Ramone has been the most wonderful pet that I could have dreamed of. He has cheered me up on more than one occasion. He doesn't need a whole lot of room in my house. We both like being couch potatoes sometimes together. My kids love interacting with him unless he pee's. He's got such a huge personality.
No, I do not support everything WC, but I do support my hobby.
One day, we will have more available breeders for Indo's. One day, we will not worry so much about the things that come along with WC.
Ramone was supposedly Captive Born & Bred in Florida. If he wasn't, it does not much matter at this point. Either way, he is in a great home with someone who loves him no matter what. He is with a Proud Indonesian Blue Tongue Skink owner.
This article is based solely on my experience and opinions within the BTS community.
Article by: Kasey Leah in Repti Time
BOOM She hit the nail on the head with this one
Don't Purchase Wild Caught(WC)...........
This is the recommendation I see time and time again, but why? Cruel shipping conditions, parasites, temperament, and the of course, "How dare you take that animal and confine it to an enclosure; it deserves to remain wild". I do not support the overcrowding, poor transport, and lack of regulations that come with the importation of reptiles but I would never recommend against acquiring a wild caught animal.
There are positives to having WC animals, such as: research, start captive breeding, increase the numbers of a threatened species, and overpopulation in the wild.
If you want to acquire a WC animal, I want to provide the resources to successfully care for it instead of just telling you not to do it! There are a few variations of "WC" you can acquire. These are ordered based on risk in regards to animal health and conditions of treatment.
⦁ Directly from an importer/supplier-usually in the country for a few weeks or months. No health screening, may still have injuries from transport(stuck shed, abrasions, injury from other animals, parasites or illness)
⦁ Long term Captive-usually been in captivity 6-12+ months; I would consider this as an animal that has acclimated to the captive life: has had quarantine, usually has had initial health screening, regularly eating habits, and started social interaction to humans.
⦁ Farm Raised-Born here from an animal kept in large open spaces similar to their wild habitats. Just like a breeder or store, depending on the farm there are variations of level of care; research the farm you want to acquire from. *Some farms may pose a higher risk due to their specific practices.
⦁ Research the species you are interested in acquiring
⦁ Some WC species have minimal resources for care information-Talk to someone who has had one!
⦁ Find an exotic vet clinic in your area
⦁ Acquire all supplies including quarantine supplies.
⦁ Have the following available in case needed:
⦁ Iodine-stuck shed soaks
⦁ Chlorohex-clean injuries or abrasions
⦁ Rapashy-liquid food option in case syringe feeding is needed
⦁ Vitamins/Supplements-Boost health for malnourished/lethargic reptile
⦁ Pedi sure-Used as soak for malnurished/lethargic reptile
2. Set-up a Quarantined Enclosure
⦁ Select a secluded area to keep the quarantined reptile.
⦁ It should be in a different room than other pets
⦁ A low traffic space to allow time for acclimation and normal behavior
⦁ Select an enclosure, you can use the main enclosure or create a temporary with Rubbermaid or plastic totes. (ensure it is safe for heat fixtures).
⦁ Us paper towel or equivalent for substrate(You want to be able to monitor defecation)
⦁ Create quarantine hides or use a hide that can be easily sanitized or disposed of(Tupperware, paper bags, Rubbermaid containers). One should be a humid hide, moss or wet paper towel can be used.
⦁ Place an easily sanitizable or disposable water and food dish. I recommend an escape proof feeder for insectivores(You want to be able to monitor eating)
⦁ Add easily sanitized décor or décor you can dispose of following use.
3. Acquiring new Reptile
⦁ Research supplier and view customer feedback
⦁ Perform an general exam on the reptile you are looking to acquire
⦁ Check for stuck shed or injuries
⦁ Check all toes and tail are present
⦁ Check temperament, they should be a little feisty and resist handling.
⦁ Too calm or lack of movement could mean illness
⦁ Check around eyes and mouth for abnormalities or signs of infection
⦁ Look at current enclosure to see if it is appropriate conditions, fecal matter present, signs of the animal being active
⦁ Check scales for abnormalities, mites, or fungus.
⦁ Ask questions
⦁ When did the reptile arrive in the US?
⦁ Have they eaten and defecated?
⦁ Have they had a health exam, treatments, and/or a fecal performed?
⦁ Have they been housed with other reptiles?
⦁ Are they active and behaving normally?
4. Bringing Reptile Home
⦁ Place in quarantine enclosure with feed/water
⦁ Monitor daily for signs of eating and defecation
⦁ After about 3 days do a general exam of the reptile and obtain a weight
⦁ Ensure there is no decline in condition from initial acquisition
⦁ Monitor weight weekly for 1-2 months
⦁ Once defecation occurs take fecal to the local Vet
⦁ If negative, place animal in primary enclosure after 2 weeks in quarantine
⦁ If positive, seek treatment options and keep animal in quarantine
⦁ At any time something seems abnormal or declining condition seek a veterinary appointment
⦁ Set up a general health exam at the veterinarian 1-2 months after acquiring. The reason I recommend this instead of immediate is this will ensure your care practices are appropriate. If you seek an exam upon arrival the condition of the animal is from the supplier's care or import. You want to ensure your care and husbandry are appropriate, not the suppliers.
You can still choose to acquire an animal with health concerns, please just also prepare yourself for the care, time,, and costs associated with acquiring such as: vet bills, treatment regimen, force feeding, risk of animal death or contaminating other pets. I honestly follow the above process for any new reptile I acquire. There is always a risk even if captive bred. It all depends on the breeder/supplier.
Do your research and be prepared!
Also see *Things to know*
Within these pages you can learn what you need in order to have a Happy & Healthy Indonesian Blue Toungue Skink.
If you are here just to look, that's ok too. Please be our guest and enjoy!!!