Are Skinks Poisonous? Fascinating Facts On Blue Tailed Skinks For Kids | Kidadl

FOR AGES 3 YEARS TO 18 YEARS

Are Skinks Poisonous? Fascinating Facts On Blue Tailed Skinks For Kids

Arts & Crafts
Learn more
Reading & Writing
Learn more
Math & Logic
Learn more
Sports & Active
Learn more
Music & Dance
Learn more
Social & Community
Learn more
Mindful & Reflective
Learn more
Outdoor & Nature
Learn more
Read these Tokyo facts to learn all about the Japanese capital.

Skinks can make great pets, and are actually known to be quite low risk, making them good for families.

There are many popular skink species such as the five-lined skink, blue-tongued skink, and fire skink- all of which are very docile and great with being handled. However, proper care and patience are still needed in order to make these reptiles feel welcome in your home.

Though skinks are widely mistaken to be poisonous because of their brightly colored scales and vibrant patterns (as seen in many poisonous lizards and frogs), this is actually not the case. There are no known venomous species of skinks, and their multicolored skin is just for show. However, these pets still need to be handled properly in order to prevent unwanted scratches and bites. Skinks make great low-risk pets due to their small, tiny teeth and absence of sharp claws, which means that they are unable to cause much damage if agitated. Though skinks are generally fine with being handled, they may suddenly lash out if they feel stressed or uncomfortable, which is why it is important to know the warning signs or an antsy skink as a pet owner. Their locomotion is similar to that of snakes. Besides this, skinks are great fun to have at home and make gentle, loving pets that are popular with everyone!

If you enjoyed this article, check out our other pages like Centralian blue-tongued skink facts and are snails born with shells.

Can you touch a skink?

Skinks are not venomous creatures, and their skin is not dangerous at all. Skinks can be touched without any repercussions, and in fact they enjoy being handled! Pet skinks such as the blue-tongued skink, fire skink, and blue-tailed skink are generally very docile and enjoy having their head scratched.

Wild skinks should be handled with caution. Though skinks are not aggressive creatures, and rarely bite or scratch humans, they may still use their jaws as a last resort when they feel threatened. Mot skinks will hide or run away when they are scared, which is why it is important to approach them slowly and pick them up very gently. They may try to defend themselves by opening their mouths wide or hissing, which is a sign to leave them alone as they are not ready to be handled.

Though some skinks can have bright skin and patterned bodies (which are mostly a sign of a poisonous species), this is not the case. Their bright colors are merely to imitate poisonous species and deter predators. All skinks are perfectly safe to handle, and even their bites are harmless, apart from some slight pain. The five-lined skink is widely thought to be popular because of this very reason, however, like other skink species, it is completely nontoxic!

Though these lizards are not poisonous, they must still not be eaten under any circumstances. Skinks can carry a host of parasites and bacteria which may cause unwanted reactions if ingested. Eating raw skink may also cause salmonella, which can cause nausea, fever, and painful cramps.

Are skinks poisonous to dogs?

No, there is no evidence that skinks are poisonous to any other creature if ingested.

Dogs are known to be very hyperactive creatures, and will usually chase and catch any small creatures like rodents and reptiles, often ending up eating them as well! Even though skinks are not poisonous, some of them may carry the bacteria for salmonella, as well as a number of other parasites.

If you suspect that your dog has eaten a skink or if your pet skink has suspiciously gone missing, there are a few symptoms you can check for in your dog. Dogs suffering from salmonella poisoning will show loss of appetite, be lethargic or depressed, have spells of diarrhea or vomiting, and may have bloody stools. If you notice any of these symptoms, then it is vital to get them treated by the vet right away as salmonella can cause extreme weight loss or even death if not caught early on.

On the other hand, small parasitic worms in skinks can cause a dangerous disease called liver fluke contamination in cats when eaten. Your cat may show symptoms similar to salmonella poisoning, such as diarrhea, vomiting, and loss of appetite. However, this can quickly progress to acute weakness, rapid weight loss, and impaired liver function which can lead to jaundice. If your cat suffers any of these symptoms, take it to the vet immediately to begin treatment and stop the further progression of the disease.

Skinks are not poisonous, however, they can carry a host of bacteria and parasites which can cause health problems if ingested.

What happens if a skink bites you?

Skinks are generally shy creatures and will only bite as a last resort if they feel very threatened.

Even tame skinks such as blue-tongued and blue-tailed skinks can bite if they feel stressed, which can happen if they are over-handled or touched when they are not comfortable with it. They may also bite fingers, however, this is not intentional and only because they may have mistaken them for worms. This can happen with hungry skinks, which is why it is important to make sure that a skink is always well fed before attempting to handle it.

Children must always be supervised while handling skinks as they are likely to make sudden movements or jump out, which may scare the child, in turn stressing the skink out. The tolerance level of a skink also depends on its breed, which must be considered when choosing a pet skink for a family. For example, even the blue-tongued skink, which is the most popular pet skink due to its friendly and docile nature, may want to be left alone at times. You can notice when a skink is feeling stressed out by looking out for warning signs, In many cases, these reptiles either show apprehension to being handled by flattening their body, puffing themselves up, hissing, or by flicking their tongue out.

If in case a skink does end up biting you, there is no reason to be alarmed as their bite is not venomous at all. Though the bite contains no venom, the wound must still be taken care of properly in order to avoid infection. Skink bites must be cleaned thoroughly with warm water and antiseptic, to remove any slink saliva. After applying ointment the wound can either be bandaged or left open, depending on the severity of the bite. Skink bites are generally not that serious, and their tiny teeth are incapable of causing much damage, however, the bites can still be painful, which is why it is important to make sure that you always handle your pet skink properly and refrain from approaching wild ones!

Skinks do not usually bite humans as they do not have a high prey drive, and only feed on small creatures such as spiders, termites, beetles, larvae, and many other insects. Ground skinks and garden skinks are quite useful as they get rid of a lot of unwanted pests which may damage fruits and vegetables, such as crickets, slugs, and flies. On the other hand, some skink species, such as the plague skink, are seen as invasive species, as they prey on native skink species and lizards.

How many times can a skink lose its tail?

Like many other lizard species, skinks have the ability to detach their still wriggling tails in an attempt to distract predators or escape if their tails are held on to.

It is recommended against holding your pet skink by the tail, as it may panic and cause it to break off. The tail does eventually grow back after 60 days, however, in many cases, it grows back shorter and never reaches its former size. During this period, the skink is much more vulnerable to predation as well as skittery, as it does not possess its most important defense mechanism.

It is theorized that there is a high limit on how many times most lizards can grow their tails back. As tails regrow through stem cells, the tail is thought to regrow as many times as these cells retain their regenerative power. As the skinks grow older, it will take more time for the tails to regrow as the cells will slowly lose their power, and they may grow back shorter and shorter, until one day they are unable to regrow once they break.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly facts for everyone to enjoy! If you liked our suggestions for Are skinks poisonous? Fascinating facts on blue tailed skinks for kids then why not take a look at Are goats good pets? Must-know facts for your backyard companions, or Are guinea pigs nocturnal? Unrevea

Written By
Tanya Parkhi

Tanya always had a knack for writing which encouraged her to be a part of several editorials and publications across print and digital media. During her school life, she was a prominent member of the editorial team at the school newspaper. While studying economics at Fergusson College, Pune, India, she got more opportunities to learn details of content creation. She wrote various blogs, articles, and essays that garnered appreciation from readers. Continuing her passion for writing, she accepted the role of a content creator, where she wrote articles on an array of topics. Tanya’s write-ups reflect her love for traveling, learning about new cultures, and experiencing local traditions.

Read The Disclaimer

Was this article helpful?