While the bearded dragon and leopard gecko are most often recommended as the ideal beginner lizards, the blue-tongued skink can also make a good first lizard pet.
Question: My 17-year-old daughter is interested in getting a blue-tongued skink but has absolutely no experience with reptiles. She’s been reading about them for a year, but do you honestly think a blue-tongue would be a good pet for her? Are blue-tongued skinks manageable, and would she be able to handle one?
Maria Ramirez, via ReptilesMagazine.com
Northern blue-tongued skink.
Answer: While the bearded dragon and leopard gecko are most often recommended as the ideal beginner lizards—and with good reason—the blue-tongued skink (Tiliqua ssp.) can also make a good first lizard pet. Blue-tongues, especially one of the hardier subspecies, such as the northern blue-tongue (T. scincoides intermedia), are typically calm and tolerate handling quite well.
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Their care requirements are not overly complicated, and they’re generally fairly hardy and eager eaters. If your daughter has been doing her research there is no reason why she shouldn’t have a good experience with a captive-bred blue-tongued skink (it’s always recommended that you purchase a captive-bred lizard over a wild-caught, imported one because captive-bred animals are generally healthier and less stressed). We also recommend your daughter also read our blue-tongue care sheet, written by blue-tongued skink breeder Phil Goss. The care sheet can be read here.