I'm not sure that these scale formation differences constitute a mutation, but the top right nose is a typical nose. The top left "bowtie" nose appears in about 1 in 200 blueys. The bottom nose scale formation as of yet, is one of a kind. I call it the quadruple nostril.
Additional Care Tips :
Shedding is a simple process that usually requires no interference. After several days however, it is important that no shedding is left on the toes or tip of the tail. This can result in toe constriction, loss of toenails, or even toe loss. The tail tip can also clump up and become damaged if not looked after. Plain and simple, this WILL happen if you neglect your animal. The following pictures are examples of what happens. Susan took the second picture and described the built up shed as very tightly attached and very difficult to remove. It took nearly 20 minutes and a lot of delicate work to even loosen the built up shed without damaging the toe. Once the shed is built up over time, toes and even the feet can become infected, inflamed, and permanently damaged.
Before a shed occurs, your skink's coloration may turn incredibly bland and dull. This is completely normal. After the shed, your blue tongue's skin is renewed with a fresh, healthy, smooth and often very shiny finish. Your skink's appetite may fluctuate during this time as well. One concrete clue to a forthcoming shed is a complete milky/cloudy color transformation especially on the underside of your skink.see below for a juxtaposed image comparison showing one animal about to shed, and the other after a shed.
This cloudy vicissitude is a dead giveaway that he will shed in usually a week or even less. Sometimes the day before a shed (or longer), coloring returns to normal. Turning dark is also a clue that he will shed soon. Remember to make sure no scale residue is left on the toes! Also use caution while 'helping' in a shed. A blue tongue's toes are extremely fragile. Note that the bottom of a BTS foot is a soft squishy pad. It does not comprise of scales, but more a leathery bumpy skin.
Head scales also sometimes get stuck because there is no "movement" on the top of the head. Shed on legs, back, tail, etc usually come off much easier because the skink is always on the move turning and stretching in different ways, but the top of the head never bends or stretches. The scales produce a natural moist oily substance to aide in shedding (BTS often feel wet immediately after shed), but sometimes this substance can act as a glue on the top of the head really making those old head scales stick. Once it's evident that the scales should be off (normally they will turn very dark compared to the rest of the animal and even other parts of the head and face), I take my thumb and firmly rub up and down. They will pop right off. Remember, once the scales are practically black, they're just left over and are not connected to the animal as part of its natural shedding cycle. Note: If the scales still do not come off, just leave them alone and monitor them. Notice in this picture the remaining head scales. Thanks to Jeanne Krantz for the submission!
nother process that is not too tough...it's important to keep in mind the ANGLE in which you are clipping. Since a blue tongue's nails curve inward, it's important to angle your clippers at a sideways direction. Use extreme caution. You must be very careful not to clip off a whole toe if they start squirming, or that another toe does not fall into the clipper while you're focusing on another. TAKE YOUR TIME! Standard human nail clippers are fine. Large toenail clippers may work better for you, as they're larger and easier to hold. When your skink's nails get much longer than this...
The following pictures show our Irian Jaya in almost a complete full body shed. These scales are not being forced off in any way, and the shed doesn't always come off in 'sheets' like this, it often just come off in bits & pieces. Some sheds go better than others, and can take anywhere from under an hour to sometimes a couple of days if you leave them alone. Like I'm doing here, I can peel off the loose shed almost entirely in one piece. I've heard of people using tweezers to pull off tiny pieces of shed that they can't get with their fingers. DO NOT do this. One flinch from your bluey could put out an eye, or worse. To remove leftover toe shed, use your fingernails very carefully. I've also heard about many people giving their skink a bath during shedding. A warm bath is fine if your skink is having trouble, but let them have a chance first.They have a natural routine of removing their shed, and it's best to leave them to it. They're often done in less than an hour (particularly juveniles).
Another aspect of shedding that should be mentioned are what we call "ear bags" or "ear plugs." It's the most hilarious sight, but if these little 'bags' get left in the ears and don't make it out with the shed, your blue tongue is likely to 'itch' his head with his hind legs just like a dog. They're incredibly accurate, and if you saw it, your jaw would drop. The motion usually consists of three or four very swift and accurate swipes to the side of the head with one posterior leg. While it is extremely funny, your skink is actually in discomfort! For one reason or another, sometimes these little pockets just don't make it out, but removing them is not difficult. Simply get a good grip, and carefully pull out the ear plug. Usually, you will see loose shed around the outside of the ear, and when you pull that, the inside ear bag will pop right out. Be sure these little bags get removed, it can cause damage and even bleeding in the ears if it built up over time.NEVER stick anything INTO the ear in an attempt to remove an ear plug. Especially sharp tools like tweezers. The ear is very sensitive, and they constantly twitch and jerk around when you fiddle with their ears. One twitch could permanently damage the internal ear. Also, blue tongues always seem to have a shiny looking iridescent ear plug inside the ear. This is normal, and it's important to leave it alone. Again, never mess with anything that is IN the ear. First picture is an earplug followed by a couple neat face shed photos.
Shed baby feet (often referred to as "gloves")
...it's probably time for a clipping. If you have your blue tongue on a more rugged substrate, you may not need to worry about toenail clipping as much. Also, don't panic if there's a little bleeding. It's normal, and doesn't hurt them. Just don't clip so close to the toe that it scares you, just clip about half the toenail off. It's good to leave a little nail left, as this is basically the only 'grip' they have to get around. One tip to reduce squirming is to place a baby booty sock on the head. This may, or may NOT work! Some blueys calm down, others will act like a chicken with its head cut off. I know mine get more upset with their head covered. One trick I use, is to place them at the end of a coffee table. If they were alone they'd likely jump, but blueys often will just sit there contemplating a jump before actually doing it. This gives up just enough time to clip the needed nails while they're preoccupied and sitting still. Two people make the job easier. One person holds the animal; the other person clips the nails. After clipping, do not place the animal immediately back into its cage, or take them outside. Often, there is a little blood, and this opens the possibility for bacteria to enter the animal. Just place them on a clean dry paper towel until the bleeding stops. This is also a reason why it's important to sterilize your clippers. Your pair of clippers momentarily makes direct contact with the "open wound" if you will, which essentially means full contact is being made with the bloodstream; so be sure they are clean.
Clipping nails is not optional. If you have a blue tongue that has fast growing nails, it's VERY important that they are clipped. If not, the nails will begin to curl around (yes, they will keep growing and growing), making it nearly impossible for the animal to walk without bending and hurting its toes. Some blue tongues have nails that just don't seem to grow. Others don't even seem to have toe nails at all. But most do, and it's important that they are kept trimmed down. Letting your skink's nails grow to ridiculous lengths is extremely negligent. Here are a couple examples; click to enlarge each picture.
As you can see, the long nails impede the animal's ability to walk with its toes flat on the ground. The nails grow outward stretching the skink's toes right out along with it. Remember, in the wild, a BTS' toes are naturally kept short from continuous walking over rough terrain. A captive BTS does not have this luxury, and the toes need constant monitoring.
Damaged looking scales (as seen in the picture below) are usually nothing to worry about. They often occur on the head, and can be caused by a bad or incomplete shed, a forced premature shed, rubbing on things, burrowing, or even fighting. 'Problem' scales usually clear up completely within three or four sheds. If they don't, and the dryness/discoloration stays consistent in a particular region, it's likely your blue tongue was just born with it, thusly you have nothing to worry about. Be sure to check read the mite section later on.
The spontaneous casting off of a limb or other body part, such as the tail of certain lizards or the claw of a lobster, especially when the organism is injured or under attack."
Many skinks and lizards can lose or drop their tail as a defense mechanism—this includes the blue tongued skink. Never hold your blue tongue by the tail, or grab the tail if it's trying to get away. It can and will break off! It will grow back a tiny bit, but will never be as nice as the original. Basically, all the healing process consists of is a 'capping' off of the break. The open wound will heal over and eventually tips off, but only about 1-2 inches will be gained back. Although the loss of the tail is generally not life threatening, it's important to exercise caution, and to keep young children informed of their pet's unique feature.
Can a BTS deliberately release its tail at will?
BTS can not drop their tails on command, but instead are designed to *pull* off. It takes some force to pull off a tail, but if an animal were trying to eat it, and the BTS were running away, the tail would likely be the first thing to be clawed or bitten. The tail would break off not even phasing the BTS, ultimately diverting a predator's attention and saving the blue tongue's life. He would easily recover, and grow back a small portion of the tail. In my opinion, the animal being scared does not necessarily play a role in the actual breaking off of the tail. But it would be more likely in these instances, as the animal would run away creating a strong pulling force in the opposite direction. Don't forget there are always weird flukes and "mishaps" where a tail may be weak or injured, and in these cases, anything can happen.
If a tail is broken or pulled off, bleeding often does occur. In this situation, it's important to keep a spotlessly clean terrarium, and provide good food and nutrients as much energy is used in regrowing the tail. The tail does not always heal well, especially if you have an older animal. See picture below. Clean the wound with antiseptic (Betadine type antiseptics are perfect), and also apply Neosporin (triple antibiotic) as needed. The stump should begin healing fairly quickly, but keep a close eye out for any type of swelling or infection, in which case the animal should be brought to a vet right away.
Tail beginning to regenerate
The following pictures in this section are not easy for any of us to see, but we feel it is important to share them. This "2-bodied" Northern blue tongue was born still May 6, 2004 to Ray Gurgui. It's quite a rarity, and is currently being preserved for further study. Although it is unfortunate, at the same time it is truly amazing. Had this creature lived, it possibly could have survived, and lived a normal life in captivity. There are many deformed creatures out there—reptiles, animals, and humans alike—which incur incredible deformities such as two heads, two bodies, extra appendages, and so on—many have survived and led normal lives.
Above pictures shown here courtesy of Ray Gurgui
Here is an Indonesian species that was born connected together, and apparently lived for about 48 hours.
Your eyes are not deceiving you, this is a green-eyed blue tongue. This is the only one we have ever seen, and we have ruled out blindness as a possible cause as the BTS is alert and aware to movement. So, why this strange, rare and unexplained eye color? Plans are set to see if the trait breeds out.
This perfect two-headed blue tongued skink was born in Australia to Peter Buckley. The animal was born considerably decrepit, and was humanely euthanized.
These animals display a unique mutation causing a near entire absence in their usual striping. Xtreme Reptiles had them up for sale a few years ago.
You may have read about Lissa while browsing other pages on the site. She has some type of extremely rare "albino-like" mutation that causes an extent of a lack of pigmentation, but not an entire lack of pigmentation (notice the bright blue tongue). Her condition remains unexplained but is indeed genetic—Lissa and one sibling were the only two white babies born among a large and otherwise completely normal looking brood. The other white baby died within a few days. Read more about Lissa on the albino page.
Please select or follow below :
Please select or follow below :