Blue tongue skinks will shed from time to time to get rid of their old skin. In this post, you will learn everything about blue tongue skink shedding, how often blue tongue skinks shed, trouble shedding and if you need to do anything to help your blue tongue skink shed.
How often do blue tongue skinks shed?
Young blue tongue skinks under 12 months old might shed every 2-3 weeks, 12-18 month blue tongues – around once a month. Adult blue tongue skinks (18 months old and over), will shed about once in 2-3 months.
How long does it take for a blue tongue skink to finish shedding?
The time that it might take your blue tongue skink to finish shedding will depend on each blue tongue. Generally, shedding can last from few hours to 3-5 days after you notice the skin color change.
Should I help my blue tongue skink with shedding? Trouble shedding
Generally, you should not interfere with the shedding, but you should inspect your blue tongue skink after 2-3 days to see if there’s any skink left around the toes, ears, limbs and tail.
If you can see any stuck skin, please help get the skin off. To do this, you can soak your blue tongue and remove the skin with fingers, cotton bud or a soft toothbrush. In case you see any stuck skin in the ear, you can try to remove with tweezers. If the skin is stuck and is hard to remove, you can add some shedding emollient aid like this to the bath.
Also, check for any stuck shed around the head and in ears. Once again, if there is any stud shed after 3 days since the shed has started, you can remove it with your fingers. Don’t pull any skin during the first few days, because it can cause bleeding and infection.
Blue tongue skink shedding signs
- Clear film on your blue tongue skink’s skin/dull skin
- Milky skin, especially on belly
- Irritability few days before, during and even after shedding
- Refusing food, before, during and sometimes after shedding
- Pooping irregularly prior to shedding
- Rubbing against various surfaces, digging more to get the skin off.
Just before your blue tongue skink sheds, its skin will cover with a white almost transparent clear film.
Blue tongue skink shedding and humidity
For your blue tongue skink to shed properly, its tank needs to set at ideal humidity levels. Each blue tongue species requires different humidity levels, with Indonesian species requiring highest levels.
However, don’t keep the levels high all the time, because it can lead to bacterial growth, mold and respiratory infection. The best thing is to have the humidity level spikes for few hours during the evening, and let the tank get drier during the day. Levels will spike, then slowly fall, before you increase levels again.
To increase humidity levels, you can spray your blue tongue and the sides of the tank, or invest in a humidifier/fogger like this. You can also give your blue tongue skink a warm soak to help with shedding.
Shinglebacks require lowest humidity levels of around 20-30% and should shed normally without any help. Centralian and Western species need 30-40%. Northern and Blotched skinks will need humidity levels of 35-40%, which is also quite moderate. Eastern skinks – 40-50%.
However, Irian Jaya, Kei Island, Indonesian, Tanimbar skinks will need levels of 40-50%, with spikes to 70-80%! Blue tongue skinks that need the highest spikes are Merauke (60-70% with spikes of 80-90%), and Halmahera (65-80%, with spikes to 100%!).
More blue tongue skink shedding tips
Please always make sure there is no stuck shed few days after your blue tongue skink has finished shedding. Retained shed will constrict the blood flow around the toes, tail or limbs, causing rot. This can save your blue tongue skink from losing its toes, for example.
Also, please also check your blue tongue skink after you just got it. There is a big chance that your blue tongue skink was not monitored for stuck sheds before. This is especially if it’s coming from a pet store or a negligent previous owner.
Stuck shed can pile up on top of each other, causing constriction after few sheddings. If the old skink was not removed on time, it looks glued to the skin, so you need to give it a proper soak to get rid of.
If your blue tongue skink is over 2 years old and is shedding too often (more than once in 6 weeks), then it could be shedding due to skin infection or sickness. Please see the vet in this case.