Last night Lydia and I picked up this tiny little blue-tongue skink from a woman in Melbourne. We drove 3 and a half hours to get her after the lady posted in a facebook group asking for help.
The lizards name is Ailena and she is 1.5 years old and is the size of a 6-10 week old. This poor little girl was bought by a guy and not cared for properly, she had no UV light (essential for development) little nutrition and an inadequate environment. Aside from being tiny for her age she is skinny for her size, her skin is rough and dehydrated and she has 2 wounds on her tail from being housed with another lizard that attacked her.
She will most likely lose her tail and the wound does not look good on close inspection. It does appear to be healing but it is incredibly weak and even if it doesn't fall off itself there is a good chance it will be essentially useless to her and cause her issues.
At her age she should be nearing around 30cm depending on genetic factors, but at a minimum she should be at least 3 times her size. She seems fairly sweet but she does not like people and tries to hide, understandable if you've been mistreated.
First thing we did when we got her to my sisters was give her a warm bath to try and rehydrate her and warm her up a bit. After her bath Lydia held her for a while and stroked her head which she seemed to enjoy. We dried her off and made a hot water bottle up and placed her in a cosy little warm box for the night. Today we dropped her at my mums rescue where she will be able to keep a close eye on her and ensure she starts eating.
The lady seemed like she genuinely wanted to help the poor skink but she really should of reached out for help earlier, he had been in her care for 4 months and apparently hasn't eaten once. It used to eat some banana and once or twice a cricket but otherwise she is basically starved. She was force-fed a couple of times with a syringe but usually if they won't eat its an environmental issue like temperature or that they have nowhere to hide and feel secure. Often when reptiles eat they like to tuck away somewhere warm to digest their meal and be safe to do it, without a hide they don't feel secure and wont eat. If they don't eat they cannot grow.
This poor little thing will require a lot of TLC and care but she can still have a decent life. She will probably always be impacted by the neglect she suffered so young. More than likely she will never reach her normal size and she may have some bone development issues that wont become apparent until later. Hopefully though we have gotten to her in time and can provide her with enough care to at least have some sort of life. IF she has some sort of damage that will impact her too greatly or cause her pain we will euthanise her but it is the very last option.
Caring for a blue tongue.
Looking after a blue-tongue in Australia is pretty simple really, they're pretty hardy and can even be kept outside in most parts of the country, if you don't mind them brumating in the cooler months.
(Brumating is a form of Hibernation where they will wake up and move about if there is a warm day during the cool period.)
They require UVB light or access to unfiltered natural sunlight, eg not through a window or plastic as they both block the necessary wavelengths. UVB is used to "absorb" the calcium in their diet into something usable for their bones.
If you don't want your blue-tongue to brumate then try keeping a minimum tank temperature of about 18 deg celcius at the coldest times. They like a basking area of between 28-35 deg and a cooler end around 23-25. Its important to have a temperature gradient so they can regulate their own temperatue.
Also ensure they always have a waterbowl with clean water available, nothing too deep they need to be able to get in and out but ideally large enough for them to lay in and soak if they wish. try keeping the water dish at the cool end to keep humidity down.
When it comes to diet i think natural is best. A lot of people say they need to eat salads and leafy greens and this and that but in the wild they eat like 99% insects and snails, mice, eggs etc. We still provide salads for our blue-tongue but he doesn't really eat it.
If you stick to things like Woodie cockroaches, crickets, mealworms, snails, raw chicken and mince if its fresh, egg etc. If they're really picky you can try silkworms and some other more expensive things.