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Anna, Reptile Expert, Biologist
Category: Reptile
Satisfied Customers: 11066
Experience:  Have owned turtles, snakes, amphibians, and lizards. Study and provide habitat for wild herps.
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I dont think my Blue tongue skink has been eating, for a month

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I don't think my Blue tongue skink has been eating, for a month and a half now. We think he might of eaten a little bit of lettuce, could he be in hibernation? because we live in a cold part of Victoria, but his heat lights have been on every day.

My name is XXXXX XXXXX I'm a biologist with a special interest in reptiles. I'm sorry to hear of this problem. some additional information will help me to answer your question.

What are the temperatures directly under the heat light and in the coolest part of the cage?

Do you also have a UVB light? If yes, what brand and size? How old is the bulb?

Has he been passing any droppings?

What substrate do you use on the cage floor?

Thank you.

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Hi Anna,


The UVB light is 240v and it is URS brand.

we are not sure of the temperature in the enclosure, the regulator is set at 30 degrees, however we live in a cold area and the infa red globes are not switching on and off. So I assume it must be less than 30 deg in his enclosure.


There are 2x60watt infa red globes in the enclosure, which is 60cmx90cmx60cm.


We have noticed his first dropping in a while today. It was yellow and white, it looked quite solid but a little wet.



Thank you for getting back to me, Bridget. It's possible your skink is hibernating, but we don't want to assume that unless all conditions are perfect for him. I'm going to start you out with a first aid measure that you can take right away. This will help no matter what is wrong. Buy some Dioralyte (yes, the kind for human infants), and prepare a shallow warm bath consisting of 1/2 warm water and 1/2 Dioralyte. Soak your lizard for about 20 to 30 minutes. Be sure to supervise closely. Repeat these soaks twice a day.

It's important to get a thermometer so you can measure the temperatures. The cool side should be at about 23*C. The ambient air at 29*C, and the basking area at 33*C. Having this temperature gradient allows the skinks to choose where they are most comfortable at any given time. A skink that doesn't have a warm enough basking area will lose its appetite and even become sick.

I'm not sure you ahve a UVB light at all. UVB bulb size is measured not in volts or watts, but in percent output, for example 5% or 10%. The only information I could fine on the light you mentioned is that it is a heat lamp. UVB lights don't put out heat - they are cool tot he touch. If you don't have one, it's extremely important that you buy an additional light that produces UVB rays. A Reptisun 10.0 is a good brand that does. If you choose another brand be absolutely certain it provides UVB rays. Don't take the word of pet store personnel, but read it for yourself. Full-spectrum, DayGlo, daylight, UV, and UVA are NOT the same thing. I'm putting a lot of emphasis on this because it's crucial to a reptile’s health. Without this light, Metabolic Bone Disease (MBD) will develop because they won't be able to produce vitamin D. Vitamin supplements are not a good replacement for the proper lighting. MBD causes a very slow and painful death. UVB bulbs must be replaced every six months as they lose their effectiveness after that, even though they may still look fine. Light that comes through a window isn't sufficient because the glass filters out the UVB rays.

After your skink has a couple of soaks and has been warm enough for several hours, try feeding him. If he doesn't seem more active, and still won't eat, you'll have to make a decision. It's extremely difficult to tell if a lizard is sick or if it is hibernating. If we assume hibernation, the lizard can die if that's not the case. For that reason, I prefer to have an inactive lizard checked out by a reptile vet. If you decide to do that, this link will take you to a directory of such vets in Australia:

If you have more questions, let me know in a REPLY. I hope your skink will perk up and eat after a couple of soaks and warmer temperatures.


My goal is to provide you with excellent service – if you feel you have gotten anything less, please reply back, I am happy to address follow-up questions. Please remember to rate my service only after you have all the information you need. Thank you!
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Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Thank-you Anna I really appreciate it



You're welcome, Bridget.