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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi there guys
I have just bought my first ever blue tongued skink today.He or she(sex unknown yet) was born early this year and is an Indonesian. Ive researched them for many years now and helped care for two of them at the college I attend. All the ones I have seen and known have been very friendly and docile but the one I got today is extremely vocal, lunges at me and when I put its food bowl in the viv, it attacked it and bit it really hard and wouldnt let go. I know that when they are young they can be feisty but I was very shocked that it actually attacked and bit! Could anyone advise me on what steps to take. Im now quite nervous to try and hold it as I don't want to loose a finger haha! Could it be that it is just stressed from the trip home and the new surroundings?. Any advice would be very much appreciated. Thanks :2thumb:
 

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Well for a start if you've done your research you should KNOW! That they need time to settle in before handling any reptile does! Give him/her some time to settle in and take it from there, new environment and new surrounding he/she will be stressed!
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Well for a start if you've done your research you should KNOW! That they need time to settle in before handling any reptile does! Give him/her some time to settle in and take it from there, new environment and new surrounding he/she will be stressed!
There is no need to get snappy with me :( As I said I know that they can be feisty and I suggested that it could be because of travel and new surroundings but I was just shocked that it acted so aggressively…

I hope that if you ever post asking for help no one says things like "Well for a start if you've done your research you should KNOW!"….thats not very kind :(
 

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I agree don't be disheartened, what you have is a very frightened little lizard. Leave him at least a week or two of minimal contact (feeding etc.. but no touching)when he is comfortable with you changing water etc... then start to move your hand closer, then maybe hand feeding if he is willing. The key is to take it in baby steps and only push for more when the lizard is comfortable with the previous step.

Believe me I know it is hard not to touch but your little guy needs time to settle and adjust :)
 

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Hi, you were right, the animal is very stressed at present so the bite is quite understandable (defensive behaviour and not aggressive as many people would describe it)! They have very strong jaws even the hatchlings/juveniles and you wouldn`t want to get bitten by an adult (honest you wouldn`t)! ;)
Can you show a few photos of the whole enclosure plus details of heat/light bulbs, ambient and surface temps and how you measure them (type of hygrometer/thermometer)? Thanks!
 

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Well for a start if you've done your research you should KNOW! That they need time to settle in before handling any reptile does! Give him/her some time to settle in and take it from there, new environment and new surrounding he/she will be stressed!
To be fair this sounds like a rather extreme case. I do agree that is probably just stressed but it could be aggressive by nature, every individual is different and even the most docile species will have the odd loon. As Alistair has said just let the skink settle in and avoid any handling. Just let it get used to you and let it know you are not a threat and it will hopefully begin to trust you and then calm down. It may be the case that it will always be this way.



Gavin.
 

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To be fair this sounds like a rather extreme case. I do agree that is probably just stressed but it could be aggressive by nature, every individual is different and even the most docile species will have the odd loon. As Alistair has said just let the skink settle in and avoid any handling. Just let it get used to you and let it know you are not a threat and it will hopefully begin to trust you and then calm down. It may be the case that it will always be this way.



Gavin.
Hi, they are NOT aggressive, it`s defensive behaviour because the animal feels threatened (as you yourself have suggested).
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I agree don't be disheartened, what you have is a very frightened little lizard. Leave him at least a week or two of minimal contact (feeding etc.. but no touching)when he is comfortable with you changing water etc... then start to move your hand closer, then maybe hand feeding if he is willing. The key is to take it in baby steps and only push for more when the lizard is comfortable with the previous step.

Believe me I know it is hard not to touch but your little guy needs time to settle and adjust :)
Thank you for your understanding and advice Fizz :) I haven't touched or tried to hold him/her yet at all, I put it straight from the travel box into the viv, left it along for an hour or so then put some food in and thats when it attacked the bowl….Ive left it along since and just popped my head into the room to check on it. I will do what you said and just take it super slow. Do you think after a week or so I should start offering 'treats' to him/her (using feeding tongues!) Do you think that might help it trust me more?
:flrt:
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
To be fair this sounds like a rather extreme case. I do agree that is probably just stressed but it could be aggressive by nature, every individual is different and even the most docile species will have the odd loon. As Alistair has said just let the skink settle in and avoid any handling. Just let it get used to you and let it know you are not a threat and it will hopefully begin to trust you and then calm down. It may be the case that it will always be this way.



Gavin.
Yes I thought it was quite extreme and hopefully I don't have the one in hundred that is a psychopath haha!! it would be just my luck though :lol2:
Thanks for the advice! As Ive just said above I have left it alone since I put food in (which it has eaten) and I will continue to leave it until it stops hissing and lunging, then I will start slowly putting my hand nearer. :flrt:
 

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It certainly cant hurt to try offering food by hand as an ice breaker after the settling in period. Hopefully he will love his food and in turn will love you for giving it to him (or at least learn to associate you with the coming of food which cant be a bad thing) :)
 

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Sorry I forgot blue tongues can't possibly be aggressive...



Gavin.

No need to be sarcastic sport, these animals are not aggressive, they react to a perceived threat by DEFENDING themselves. You clearly cannot distinguish between the two words in this respect.
I`ve found most wild reptiles will show defensive behaviours when they are confronted by "giant predators" (ourselves).
Being in captivity for a few generations doesn`t take out their natural instincts to any great degree in those terms either.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Hi, you were right, the animal is very stressed at present so the bite is quite understandable (defensive behaviour and not aggressive as many people would describe it)! They have very strong jaws even the hatchlings/juveniles and you wouldn`t want to get bitten by an adult (honest you wouldn`t)! ;)
Can you show a few photos of the whole enclosure plus details of heat/light bulbs, ambient and surface temps and how you measure them (type of hygrometer/thermometer)? Thanks!

I was pretty sure thats what it was but I just wanted to come on here and check from people who have had similar experiences. Yeah I reaalllyyy don't want to get bitten so Im going to take it really slow with him/her!

I will get some pictures of its setup tomorrow but here is a list of everything :)
4ft wooden vivarium with two wholes cut in the top for the light domes
Daylight lamp - 100w - average temp in hot side of the viv is between 98-105
Nightglow lamp 50w - average temp in cooler side is between 75-80
Both in reflector domes
10% uvb bulb and fitting
Timers for all bulbs
Microclimate for the night glow bulb
Temperature gun
Digital Thermometer and Hydrometer
Aspen bedding
Slate basking rock
Hides with moss in them
Shallow food bowl and large water bowl
Fake vines


:flrt:
 

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It certainly cant hurt to try offering food by hand as an ice breaker after the settling in period. Hopefully he will love his food and in turn will love you for giving it to him (or at least learn to associate you with the coming of food which cant be a bad thing) :)
Hi, I agree, food is a great "weapon", but I would suggest using tongs rather than fingers when offering food (you may have meant to say that, but just in case). ;)
 

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I was pretty sure thats what it was but I just wanted to come on here and check from people who have had similar experiences. Yeah I reaalllyyy don't want to get bitten so Im going to take it really slow with him/her!

I will get some pictures of its setup tomorrow but here is a list of everything :)
4ft wooden vivarium with two wholes cut in the top for the light domes
Daylight lamp - 100w - average temp in hot side of the viv is between 98-105
Nightglow lamp 50w - average temp in cooler side is between 75-80
Both in reflector domes
10% uvb bulb and fitting
Timers for all bulbs
Microclimate for the night glow bulb
Temperature gun
Digital Thermometer and Hydrometer
Aspen bedding
Slate basking rock
Hides with moss in them
Shallow food bowl and large water bowl
Fake vines


:flrt:
Hi again, thanks for the details! I`m not sure what the temp figures are on the "warm side", is that surface or ambient (air)?
You haven`t said what the humidity range is (it`s a hyGrometer by the way)!
I`ll offer a possibly better alternative basking bulb tomorrow if you come on ( I need to log out now).
 

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Yes I thought it was quite extreme and hopefully I don't have the one in hundred that is a psychopath haha!! it would be just my luck though :lol2:
Thanks for the advice! As Ive just said above I have left it alone since I put food in (which it has eaten) and I will continue to leave it until it stops hissing and lunging, then I will start slowly putting my hand nearer. :flrt:

I would personally sit reasonably close to the vivarium for half an hour or so a night to show you pose no threat before diving straight in. Start by keeping the vivarium doors closed and as the skink's confidence around you grows begin opening them, getting closer gradually. I do this with all my wild caught stuff, though I don't go any further than letting them trust me with doors closed, and it does stop them darting off every time I enter my reptile house. I'm not one for handling.


No need to be sarcastic sport, these animals are not aggressive, they react to a perceived threat by DEFENDING themselves. You clearly cannot distinguish between the two words in this respect.
I`ve found most wild reptiles will show defensive behaviours when they are confronted by "giant predators" (ourselves).
Being in captivity for a few generations doesn`t take out their natural instincts to any great degree in those terms either.
Sarcasm? Me? Nooo, surely not...

Sorry but aggression can be both defensive and offensive and to say a blue tongue can't be offensively aggressive is crazy. Yes most are very docile but as I have already said every individual is different. I have had some crazy geckos that attack outside the vivarium without being provoked.



Gavin.
 

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Hi, I agree, food is a great "weapon", but I would suggest using tongs rather than fingers when offering food (you may have meant to say that, but just in case). ;)
Seconded, I would not want my skinks associating my fingers with Food. Tongs all the way. Good luck!
 

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Indos are one of the grumpier blue tongue species and can take a long while to get used to you. I've had my Indo since June and still haven't properly handled him as he's not comfortable with it yet but he's stopped darting for cover when I enter the room or open his viv doors and he's more than happy taking snails from my hand tho he will hiss at me for a while first... Where as I've just recently, September, got an IJxNorthern Bluey and she's settled straight away always wants to be handled and has never snapped or hissed, so attitude can depend on species.
All good advise on how to get him used to you, sit by the doors, hand feeding etc... I've found blue berries and snails to be good bribing food as they can't seem to resist them :flrt: Other than that patience and persistence is key :)
 

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To the person who said BTS are not aggressive, have you ever seen them in breeding mode, the outcome can be truely vicious. Yes they may not naturally be a agreesive beasty but when an outside influence comes into play, stress, breeding, food issues, adolesence etc they can be little b:censor:d's mix this with a very powerful bite (yes I have been bit by a BTS)

To the OP, slowly, slowly catchy monkey, give it the correct environment, plenty of variety of food, time, space, patience, most BTS will in time calm down such that they are very handalable but don't let it mistake your pinkie for a big fat snail shell, it hurts like hell - good luck
 
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