Pink Tongue Skink 101 – Care, Size, Lifespan, Diet & More

Pink tongue skinks are one of the most enchanting creatures in the reptile community. These skinks are inhabitants of the tropical rainforests of Australia. As the name suggests, pink tongue skinks have a vibrant pink tongue color and are a great choice for beginner pet owners. This article will provide a comprehensive pet care guide on pink tongue skinks.

Pink tongue skink is a large-sized lizard originating from the forests of Australia. These lizards are docile and easy to care for, making them an excellent choice for beginner pet owners. Pink tongue skinks have a greyish-brown body with bright pink tongues, making them a pricey possession in the reptile community. They also have a cylindrical body structure and are typically larger than other species of skinks.


Pink tongue skinks are inhabitants of the tropical forests of Australia. They have a fascinating appearance, including a greyish-brown body and pastel-pink tongues. This is a rare site among reptiles, making pink tongue skinks unique creatures to house as pets. Apart from their physical appearance, they showcase endearing traits that enhance their charm. Pink tongue skinks are friendly and social creatures making them a perfect pet.

These skinks love to interact with their owners and love to be handled. They will also get excited when they see you and run to the edge of the tank seeking an interaction. Pink tongue skinks are medium-sized lizards and do not require a spacious terrarium to live in. They are also easy to care for and have specific care requirements. An adult pink tongue skink can grow up to 12-18 inches in length. These lizards also have dark bands running throughout their body and have pink tongues that they use for scent detection.

Pink tongue skinks are omnivorous and eat a diet consisting of mostly small insects and leafy greens. Talking about their physical needs, they need a temperature gradient inside the tank to thermoregulate. As these creatures are inhabitants of tropical forests, they need enough humidity inside their enclosure to absorb moisture from the air. Pink tongue skinks are ground dwellers and thus have a body structure that supports such a lifestyle. They have sturdy short legs with sharp claws and thick tails.

Key AspectsInformation
Common NamePink tongue skinks
Scientific NameCyclodomorphus gerrardii
HabitatNear woodlands, grasslands, and rainforests
Size12 to 18 inches
Lifespan15-20 years in captivity
DietOmnivorous, feeding on a variety of insects, fruits, and vegetables
ReproductionFemales lay 6-10 eggs in a suitable environment, with an incubation period of 50-60 days
BehaviorDocile and easy to care for, active during the day
ThreatsHabitat loss, over-collection, and other human-related activities
HousingAverage-sized enclosure with ample space to move around
TemperatureThe basking area ranges from 85-90°F, and a cooler area ranges from 75-80°F
Diet in CaptivitySmall insects and occasionally eat fruits and vegetables
HandlingCan be handled, but should not be picked up by the tail
Health ConcernsRespiratory infections, parasitic infections, and obesity
Care LevelIntermediate

What Does a Pink Tongue Skink Look Like?

pink tongue skink

The pink tongue skink has a unique appearance as compared to other lizards. It has a distinct appearance, which makes it quite popular amongst reptile breeders. Pink tongue skink is medium-sized and can grow up to 12-18 inches in length. They also have a sleek appearance due to their stout body covered in smooth scales. The size of the pink tongue skink depends on various factors such as age, diet, and genetics. Pink tongue skinks are also sexual dysmorphic, meaning that males and females have distinguishing characteristics.

Pink tongue skinks also have a magnificent body coloration, with the base of the body being brown or cool gray. They also have dark bands that run across their body from their back to their tail. They use these stripes to camouflage nature and run away from predators. Pink tongue skinks also have a unique physical feature of a bright pink tongue, which is a rare sight among reptiles. The pink color of the tongue even strikes out more against the muted tones of the body and hence getting their name as pink tongue skink. 

The overall body shape of a pink tongue skink is also quite fascinating. These creatures are mostly ground dwellers and thus have a cylindrical bodies with short and sturdy legs. Male skinks also have robust heads with thick tails that they use to fend off any threats and attack their prey. They are also equipped with sharp claws that the creature uses to climb a tree and borrow themselves in the substrate.

Temperament and General Behavior of Pink Tongue Skinks

pink tongue skink on wood

Pink tongue skinks are known for their docile temperament and friendly behavior. They are curious creatures and love to explore their surroundings and gain knowledge about the environment they are living in. They also love to engage with their pet owners making them a great choice for a house pet.

You should also know that pink tongue skinks are often tolerant towards handling. If you want to handle your pet, you should start by gaining their trust and providing them with proper care and nourishment. This will allow your pet skink to trust you and feel comfortable while being handled. You should also make a note to not handle them aggressively or in an improper manner, as it can lead to an accidental bite.

Editor’s Note
You should avoid handling your pink tongue skink by its tail or head, hold them gently from its torso, and support them gently with both hands.

While pink tongue skinks have calm and friendly behavior, it is important to note that individual temperament might vary from one skink to another. Some skinks are more shy or skittish depending on their individualistic experience and how you house them as pets. You should always be gentle with your pink tongue skinks and respect their boundaries.

Enclosure Requirements for a Pink Tongue Skink

When it comes to the care requirements, the habitat of your pet is the first thing that comes to your mind. There are several factors that you should consider to provide a suitable habitat for your pet, such as enclosure size, lighting, and temperature and humidity levels. Here are some of the enclosure requirements of a pink tongue skink.

Enclosure Size

Pink Tongue Skinks Enclosure

It is essential to provide your pink tongue skink with an enclosure that has sufficient space to move around and grow in. An adult pink tongue skink requires a tank of a minimum of 40 gallons to live comfortably (similar to merauke blue tongue skink). You can even opt for a bigger tank to provide them with leisure space, but anything below 40 gallons would be considered too small. A long and wide terrarium of dimensions 4x2x2 feet would give your pet skink enough space to linger on and explore the habitat.

Lighting Needs

Pink Tongue Skink enclosure with lighting

Pink tongue skinks rely on external lighting to thermoregulate. These creatures require additional UVB lighting to produce Vitamin D in their body. An absence of UVB lighting can lead to diseases such as metabolic bone disease. Opt for lighting which has a combination of both UVA and UVB lighting to avoid such illnesses.

UVB lighting will help synthesize the calcium in your pet skinks body and allows it to absorb it within the body. This will allow for healthy bone development and keep your pink tongue skink happy and strong. Reptile-specific lighting should be installed within the terrarium. You should also check if it is of the right intensity and covers two-thirds of the enclosure.

Editor’s Note
UVB bulbs should be replaced consecutively after 3-6 months. The durability and duration of the additional lighting depend on the quality of the bulb you purchase.

Temperature and Humidity Needs

pink tongue skink enclosure with lighting and thermometer

It is important to maintain suitable temperature and humidity levels inside the enclosure. You should have a temperature gradient of 75-80 degrees Fahrenheit, while the basking spot can have a temperature of 85-90 degrees Fahrenheit. Ensure there are enough basking spots inside the tank to provide optimal care for your pink tongue skink. You can also use a thermostat to monitor the temperature changes inside the terrarium and make changes accordingly. A heating lamp or heading pad can be installed inside the enclosure to provide optimal temperature inside the tank.

Pink tongue skinks rely on moisture from their surroundings, making it important to have enough humidity inside the tank. The humidity levels should range between 50-60 percent (unlikely the Indonesian Blue Tongued Skink where the humidty levels ranges from 60-90%)and can be achieved by misting the tank and providing a suitable substrate. Providing the optimal humidity levels will allow your pet skink to shed evenly and avoid illnesses, such as respiratory infections.


pink tongue skink enclosure substrate

It is crucial to choose the right substrate to ensure the comfort and hygiene of your pink tongue skink. You should avoid substrates that have choking or ingestion risks, such as small pebbles and sand. Choose a substrate such as coconut fiber and cypress mulch, as they will provide humidity inside the tank and provide an opportunity for your pet skink to borrow in. Same kind of substrate can also be used in case of red eyed crocodile skink. It is also important to replace these substrates consecutively to avoid bacteria build-up inside the enclosure.

Cleaning Requirements

It is important to clean the enclosure regularly to avoid bacteria and dirt build-up inside the enclosure. You should remove shed skin, feces, and uneaten food from the tank to prevent health issues and bad odor. Replace the substrate after every month to provide a clean and comfortable environment for your pet skink. 

After every few weeks, you should deep clean the enclosure with a reptile-safe cleaner. Remove all the accessories and your pink tongue skink from the tank, and remove any germs or bacteria from the tank. Rinse everything well and wait for it to dry before setting everything back into place. You should never use chemical cleaners as they can be toxic and even deadly for your pet skink.

Diet Plan For a Pink Tongue Skink

pink tongue skink eating

Taking care of your pink-tongued skink goes beyond setting up their habitat; their diet plays a vital role in their overall growth and well-being. You need a well-balanced diet to provide your pet skink with all the essential nutrients and protein for healthy development. Pink tongue skinks are omnivorous and need a diet consisting of plant matter and protein sources. 

A healthy diet plan should consist of 40% fruits and vegetables, 50% animal protein, and 10% for additional supplements. This combination mimics the closest diet that the pink tongue skink gets in their natural habitat. For animal protein, you should feed your pet skink with live or pre-killed feeder insects such as crickets, waxworms, roaches, and mealworms. These protein sources will provide essential nutrients, amino acids, and calcium to maintain healthy bone development in your pet skink.

To meet up with the plant-based requirement, you can feed your pink tongue skink with fruits and vegetables. Feed your pet skink with leafy greens such as collard greens, kale, and dandelion greens. These vegetable sources will provide your pet skink with essential vitamins and minerals. You can also sever them fruits on an occasional basis, such as watermelon, strawberries, berries, and mango.

Editor’s Note
Ensure the fruits are cut into small pieces before feeding them to your pink tongue skink. Serving large pieces can result in digestive problems, such as impaction issues.

You can also provide additional supplements to your pet skink by providing vitamin D3 and calcium at least twice a week. Gut load the feeder insects with calcium powder before feeding them to your pink tongue skink. You can also powder these supplements in a bottle and sprinkle them on the feeder insects before serving them to your pet skink.

Hydration is another aspect that you should keep in mind while creating a diet plan for your pet skink. Pink tongue skinks require access to clean drinking water at all times. Present them with a shallow dish that they can drink and soak in. You should clean the dish container after every feeding session and remove any feces or uneaten food from the tank. This will keep your pink tongue skink healthy and avoid any medical issues.

DayProtein SourcesPlant MatterTreats
MondayLive crickets or pre-killed mealwormsFinely chopped kale and collard greens
TuesdayPre-killed super wormsFinely chopped kale and collard greensSmall piece of ripe banana or a few blueberries
WednesdayPre-killed pinky miceFinely chopped dandelion greens and grated carrots
ThursdayLive or pre-killed cricketsFinely chopped kale and collard greensSmall piece of ripe mango or a few raspberries
FridayPre-killed mealwormsFinely chopped dandelion greens and grated carrots
SaturdayLive or pre-killed roachesFinely chopped kale and collard greensSmall piece of papaya or a few blackberries
SundayPre-killed superwormsFinely chopped dandelion greens and grated carrots

Shedding Process of a Pink Tongue Skink

Shedding is a natural and painless process that every reptile goes through. Through the shedding process, your pink tongue skink can shed the old withered skin and replace it with a fresh one. As your pet skink grows it needs to shed out the old skin to make room for the rapidly growing body. During the shedding process, you may detect that your pink tongue skink looks dull and has small patches of skin hanging from its body. 

Pink tongue skinks will try to rub against surfaces, such as branches and rocks to remove the loose skin from their bodies. The shed skin will slowly come apart from the body to show fresh and vibrant skin underneath it. Ensure you do not physically remove any patches from your pet skink, as it can cause damage to your pet and risk being infected. Some tips to help your pet skink during the shedding process are by humidifying the tank with a misting spray and providing rocks and branches inside the enclosure. You should also provide access to clean drinking water in a shallow container.

How to Identify the Sex of a Pink Tongue Skink?

If you want to distinguish between a male and female skink, you must look at their physical characteristics. Pink tongue skinks are sexually dysmorphic, meaning that males and females have different physical attributes. Male pink tongue skinks have a border and robust head, longer bodies, and thicker tails as compared to female skinks.

Male skinks also have large scales close to their vents, known as their pre-anal pores. While physical characteristics might provide insight into their gender you must also notice their behavioral traits to confirm their sex. Male pink-tongue skinks are known to show territorial aggression and tail arching, especially during the mating season. Although these attributes might give you a clue about their sex, you should visit a trained vet to confirm their gender.

How to Correctly Handle a Pink Tongue Skink?

owner holding pink tongue skink

It is important to know the correct way to handle your pink tongue skink. Improper handling can lead to an accidental bite and should be avoided. The first thing to keep in mind is to respect your pink tongue skink personal space. Give your pet skink time to adapt to the new environment and feel comfortable and safe around you. Now calmly approach your pink tongue skink. Avoid making sudden moves, as they might consider you a threat and try to run away from you.

Use slow and gentle motion and hold your pet skink with both hands. You should never hold your pink tongue skink from its head or tail, as it might lead to an accidental bite. Remember that each skink has their limit towards handling. If your pet skink is feeling agitated or showing signs of aggression, return them safely to their tank. It is important to respect your pet skinks boundaries.

Common Health Issues in Pink Tongue Skinks

Even though pink tongue skinks are hardy reptiles, they might also get health issues from time to time. Being aware of these common health issues will help you identify the problem quickly and take action accordingly. Some common health issues in pink tongue skinks include respiratory infections, digestive disorders, and parasitic infections.

Ensure the temperature and humidity levels inside the tank remain at optimal levels to avoid respiratory infections from occurring. You should also perform a deep cleaning inside the enclosure consecutively to avoid any skin infections from taking place. Lastly, feed your pink tongue skink with a well-balanced and nutritious diet to avoid digestive issues. If your pet skink is showing signs of stress, discomfort, or has a sudden loss in appetite visit a vet immediately.

Breeding in Pink Tongue Skinks

Pink Tongue Skinks breeding

Pink tongue skinks reach the age of sexual maturity in 2-3 years. Ensure both the male and female skinks are of the appropriate size and age before you decide to breed them. Male skinks can exhibit courtship behaviors such as tail arching and head bobbing to attract females during the mating season. You should not keep multiple males with a single female skink inside the same tank. This can lead to territorial disputes and aggression amongst the male skinks. 

Provide a comfortable and suitable environment for your skinks during the mating season. Ensure there are enough hiding spaces inside the enclosure and the temperature and humidity levels stay at optimal conditions. The incubation period after the eggs have been laid is 50-60 days, and need specific care throughout the process.


How much does a pink tongue skink cost?

An average young pink tongue skink can cost around $250-$400. Although, the price of each skink depends on several factors, such as their age, size, and health. You should also keep the additional costs of owning the skink in mind, such as the enclosure and maintenance costs.

Are pink tongue skinks dangerous?

Pink tongue skinks have a calm temperament and are docile creatures. They are shy reptiles who love to explore their surrounding. Pink tongue skinks will only show signs of aggression when they are under stress, ill, or due to poor handling.

Final Thoughts

Pink tongue skinks are a great choice for beginner reptile owners due to their docile temperament and curious nature. They are medium-sized lizards who are easy to care for and love to interact with their owners. Ensure you take care of their specific needs and provide them with a safe and comfortable environment. You should also keep a check that they get a well-balanced diet and optimal temperature and humidity levels to promote their rapid growth.

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