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Reptiles/Blue tongue skinks mysterious death


QUESTION: Quite a while ago I mistakenly ordered this blue tongue skink from Reptile City online. If you have a problem they never reply after the sale. In this case the young skink did not eat. So after $60 at the herp vet I found out that it was loaded with parasites. I used Panacur which helped somewhat, but it still did not eat fruits and veggies like it was supposed to. I finally called Reptile City and they told me to feed it canned cat food, fruit and leafy greens. It ate a little cat food, but no vegetation. They did not tell me if it was wild caught or captive bred. it made a heavy breathing type of sound. The enclosure was a large plastic clothing bin, with coconut fiber substrate, and a cheap common heating pad from Walgreens at one end. I also used a 10% UVB compact fluorescent bulb. After a few years when summer turned to autumn in September, the temperature dropped and it stopped eating entirely. Everyone was telling me it was brumation. Website advice stated that blue tongues did not like it too hot. It still had under enclosure heat. Then the lizard started to emit a foul stench with all its scales flaking off and it body turning a yellowish color. I took it to the herp vet that was in charge of the Bergen County New Jersey zoo. He honestly did not know what was wrong with it and did not prescribe anything, and he was a well respected herp vet too. The blue tongue finally died. Most advice from only reptile sales, retail stores, and website with punks that thing they know iit all but really screw people up, should be avoided. I do a long running Progressive Internet talk show on video weekly with my partner and this might be a great topic exposing all these jerks that run their mouth with advice but are very incompetent. all wild caught animals for the pet trade should be a federal crime.

ANSWER: Hello James,

Wow, I am so sorry to hear about your experience.  
He most likely was wild caught.  They have such a small chance of making it in captivity.
I am surprised though that no vet could help much or knew very much.
What type of topics does your internet talk show cover, reptiles?
Are you a herpetologist?  

Do you plan on getting anymore Blue tongue skinks at all?  They are such extraordinary creatures & very pretty.  If you need help with anything, just let me know.


---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Yes Tracy, it was a bad experience going back and forth to the herp vet without getting the problem resolved, and he is the most highly revered herp vet in the county? It cost me a lot more than $60. I should have paid full price and went to Petco. I guess I should have gotten a ceramic heat lamp instead of any of the items that retail stores should not be selling, like hot rocks. I did use a ZooMed heat pad, which is good since it does not get too hot, but it does not bring the basking are up high enough. This confused me since when I saw blue tongues on TV in the wild, they were always under wood or something in the dark out of the sun, and not basking. Crested geckos don't have this requirement, that might be my next lizard, room temp, no heater and no UVB, plus they will eat a special mix. We are not herpetologists or vets, the talk shows are mostly politics, some religion, health care, current news topics under Progressive Discussions. My partner has 4 PH'D's, is an ordained minister and has a diploma in veterinary homeopathy. I do shows with guests via webcam some times. I also do video and commentary for pro wrestling on occasion.

Hello James,

I bookmarked your site for future reference.
That is too bad the vet did not have much knowledge on the skinks.  There really are not very many herp vets who are very good.  
The retail stores normally don't do a whole lot of resesarch on the reptiles that they sell or on the products that they push along with the sale of the reptile, either.
The crested geckos are interesting though they do benefit from UVB.  There are just a lot of bad UVB lights out there so finding the right light is the main thing!

That is cool, veterinary homeopathy, how interesting!  I have a master's but not a Ph.D yet.



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Tracie Kretzschmar


I can answer questions pertaining to health, UVB specifics, overall husbandry care & supplementation, analysis of blood test results, and behavioral problems & handling. I can answer questions pertaining to bearded dragons, leopard geckos, iguanas, uromastyx & ball pythons. I can answer adeno virus related questions in bearded dragons, & then specifically about the testing methods as well. I am beginning an Pogona Adeno Testing Society in 2008 which will help to begin to start some standardization within the bearded dragon colonies of the breeders who choose to test.


I have been working with bearded dragons for over 5 years now, as well as leopard geckos, too. I am currently doing rescues, as well. I hope to be able to educate people prior to them purchasing an exotic pet in order to avoid any health crisis with them.

I have a master's degree in sports medicine & physiology, & 1 year of vet tech schooling, & am currently working on a reptile certification through the Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council.

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