Blue Tongue Skink vs Bearded Dragon: Characteristics, Care Requirements and Lifespan

When it comes to choosing the perfect pet, it can be difficult to decide between the two most popular reptiles: the Blue Tongue Skink and the Bearded Dragon. Both of these reptiles have become increasingly popular in the pet industry over the years, and offer unique care and companionship.

In this article, we will discuss the similarities and differences between the two, and explain why one might be better suited for you than the other.

This article will provide an in-depth comparison of the Blue Tongue Skink and the Bearded Dragon. We will explore the similarities and differences between them, including their diet, habitat requirements, and overall temperament.

Additionally, we will discuss the pros and cons of each pet, as well as the cost associated with owning them. Finally, we will provide our recommendations for which pet is best suited for different lifestyles and budgets.

What Are the Similarities Between Blue Tongue Skink and Bearded Dragon?

Blue-tongued Skink (Tiliqua scincoides)
Credit: Shane Black

Both blue tongue skink and Bearded dragons are popular lizard pets due to their appearance, size, and temperament. They share a few similarities in these areas, such as a generally friendly demeanor and a manageable size.

Additionally, both species have spines and vibrant colors which can make them attractive to potential pet owners.

Appearance

Transitioning to the topic of appearance, both the blue tongue skink and the Bearded Dragon share some similarities. Both have a generally similar appearance, having both evolved from the same family of lizards.

They both have long bodies with four fours and a tail, as well as a variety of colors. Specific features of their appearance include:

  • Head & Face
    • The Bearded Dragon has a distinctive head with a triangular shape, whereas the blue tongue skink has a slightly rounder head.
    • The Bearded Dragon has a pointed snout and visible spikes running down its back, whereas the blue tongue skink has a blunt snout and a much smoother body.
    • The Bearded Dragon has a small beard on its chin, whereas the blue tongue skink has no facial features.
  • Body
    • The Bearded Dragon has a bright orange or yellow underside, whereas the blue tongue skink has a grayish-white underside.
    • The Bearded Dragon has a row of spikes running down its tail, whereas the blue tongue skink has a smooth tail.
    • The Bearded Dragon has a short and thick tail, whereas the blue tongue skink has a thin and long tail.
  • Coloration
    • The Bearded Dragon has a combination of yellow, orange, and brown colors, whereas the blue tongue skink has a combination of brown, gray, and blue colors.
    • The Bearded Dragon’s color changes with the season, whereas the blue tongue skink’s color remains the same year-round.
    • The Bearded Dragon has a bright-colored throat, whereas the blue tongue skink has a plain-colored throat.

Overall, the Bearded Dragon and the blue tongue skink have similar appearances, with some distinct features that set them apart.

Size

Moving on to size, both the Blue Tongue Skink and the Bearded Dragon have a significant size difference. The Blue Tongue Skink typically grows up to about 12-14 inches in length, while the Bearded Dragon can reach up to 24 inches in length. Both reptiles have a fairly robust body, but the Bearded Dragon has a more slender frame.

In terms of weight, the Blue Tongue Skink can weigh up to 200 grams, while the Bearded Dragon can reach up to 450 grams. Both reptiles are fairly light, and their size can vary depending on the age and species.

  • Blue Tongue Skink
    • Length: 12-14 inches
    • Weight: Up to 200 grams
  • Bearded Dragon
    • Length: Up to 24 inches
    • Weight: Up to 450 grams

Temperament

Transitioning from the topics of appearance and size, the temperament of both the Blue Tongue Skink and Bearded Dragon is a very important consideration for any potential owner. Both of these lizards are known to be relatively docile and easy to handle.

However, there are a few key differences between the two in terms of their temperament.

  • Bearded Dragon:
    • Generally more active than Blue Tongue Skinks
    • More curious and can be seen exploring their surroundings
    • Can be sensitive to loud noises and sudden movements
  • Blue Tongue Skink:
    • More sedentary and prefer to stay in one area, even when handled
    • Less active than the Bearded Dragon
    • Not as sensitive to loud noises and sudden movements as the Bearded Dragon

In general, both the Blue Tongue Skink and Bearded Dragon make great pets, as they are relatively easy to care for and handle. However, if you are looking for more of an active pet, the Bearded Dragon may be the better choice.

On the other hand, if you are looking for a more mellow and relaxed pet, then the Blue Tongue Skink may be the better fit.

What Are the Differences Between Blue Tongue Skink and Bearded Dragon?

Rescued blue-tongue skink
Credit: Shawn Sijnstra

When discussing the differences between blue tongue skinks and Bearded Dragons, one important area to consider is size. Bearded Dragons are larger than blue tongue skinks, typically reaching lengths of up to two feet.

Additionally, Bearded Dragons have a lifespan of 8 – 12 years, while blue tongue skinks can live for up to 15 years. Lastly, the diet of Bearded Dragons consists of vegetables, insects, and occasional fruit, while blue tongue skinks primarily consume insects.

Size

The size of a blue tongue skink and a Bearded Dragon are quite different from each other. While the skink is a smaller reptile, the Bearded Dragon is noticeably larger. To further illustrate the difference in size between these two species, let’s examine the following characteristics:

  • Blue Tongue Skink:
    • Average length: 10–14 inches
    • Average weight: 14–18 ounces
  • Bearded Dragon:
    • Average length: 18–22 inches
    • Average weight: 6–12 ounces

It is evident that the Bearded Dragon is significantly larger than the blue tongue skink. The size of the skink allows it to be kept in smaller enclosures, while the Bearded Dragon requires a larger habitat due to its size.

Lifespan

Moving on from the similarities between blue tongue skink and Bearded Dragons, let us discuss the differences between them when it comes to their lifespan. While blue tongue skinks can live up to 10-20 years, Bearded Dragons typically have a shorter lifespan, with an average of about 8-10 years.

This means that blue-tongue skinks are generally more long-lived than Bearded Dragons. Here are the key differences when it comes to their lifespan:

  • Blue tongue skinks
    • Live up to 10-20 years
  • Bearded Dragons
    • Live up to 8-10 years

Therefore, it is clear that blue tongue skinks have a longer lifespan than Bearded Dragons, making them a better choice for those looking for a pet with a longer lifespan.

Diet

In contrast to the similarities between the blue tongue skink and Bearded Dragon, there are certain differences in their diets. While both feed on a variety of insects and vegetation, the blue tongue skink is known to have a particularly omnivorous diet, as it consumes a wide variety of both live prey and vegetation.

On the other hand, the Bearded Dragon is mostly an herbivore, eating mostly greens and vegetables, with occasional insects. Furthermore, the Bearded Dragon has an unusually high calcium requirement, which should be taken into consideration when planning its diet.

To break down the dietary differences between the two species, here is a nested bullet point list in HTML format:

  • Blue tongue skink
    • Omnivorous diet: live prey and vegetation
  • Bearded Dragon
    • Herbivorous diet: greens and vegetables
    • Occasionally insects
    • High calcium requirement

In conclusion, the diet of the blue tongue skink and Bearded Dragon varies significantly, as the former is omnivorous while the latter is more herbivorous. Due to the Bearded Dragon’s high calcium requirement, it is important for owners to ensure that their diets are properly supplemented with calcium-rich foods.

Blue Tongue Skink vs Bearded Dragon: Physical Appearance

When it comes to physical appearance, there is a stark contrast between the Blue Tongue Skinks and the Bearded Dragons. Whereas the Blue Tongue Skinks have smooth and glossy skin, the Bearded Dragons have thicker and leathery skin.

Additionally, the Blue Tongue Skinks have a long and narrow bodies, whereas the Bearded Dragons have a stocky and triangular body.

The Blue Tongue Skinks have a blue tongue, hence the name, which is used as a defensive mechanism. The average size of an adult Blue Tongue Skink is anywhere between 12 to 15 inches. On the other hand, Bearded Dragons can grow up to 20 inches and have a spiny beard on their throat, which they fluff up when disturbed.

In terms of coloration, Blue Tongue Skinks have a range of color options – from light brown to yellowish orange. On the other hand, Bearded Dragons usually have a brownish or yellowish coloration, with stripes and spots. They also have a gradient of colors across their body, from dark brown along the spine to a lighter brown on the sides.

Blue Tongue Skink vs Bearded Dragon: Behavior

As we have seen the differences in physical appearance between the blue tongue skink and the bearded dragon, it is also important to discuss the differences in behavior between the two animals.

Bearded dragons are known to be quite social animals, as they generally do not mind being handled by their owners. They can also be trained to do simple tasks and tricks, like following a finger or coming when called.

On the other hand, blue tongue skinks are more solitary animals and do not need to be handled as much. They can become stressed and aggressive if they are handled too much, and they are not very trainable.

Blue Tongue Skink vs Bearded Dragon: Diet

Another important factor to consider when deciding between a blue tongue skink and a bearded dragon as a pet is their respective diets. Nutrition is critical to the health and longevity of any animal, and both of these species have unique dietary needs that must be taken into consideration.

Bearded dragons are omnivores, meaning they eat a combination of plant matter and insects. In the wild, they eat a wide variety of food including plant leaves, flowers, and fruits, as well as a variety of insects such as crickets, beetles, and grasshoppers.

In captivity, their diet should include commercial bearded dragon foods and a variety of vegetables such as kale, collard greens, and squash. Insects should be fed in moderation but can include crickets, mealworms, and waxworms.

Blue tongue skinks, on the other hand, are true omnivores, meaning they eat both plant matter and animal proteins. In the wild, they eat a variety of fruits and vegetables, as well as insects, slugs, and snails.

In captivity, they should be given a variety of vegetables, fruits, and commercial blue tongue skink food, as well as occasional mealworms, super worms, and crickets. Minerals and vitamins should also be added to their diet as supplements.

Blue Tongue Skink vs Bearded Dragon: Enclosure

When discussing the differences between blue tongue skinks and bearded dragons, their enclosure needs must also be taken into consideration. Blue tongue skinks require a fairly large terrarium, as much as 125 gallons, in order to have enough space to roam around and explore.

They are semi-arboreal, so they also need climbing branches and hiding places. The terrarium should also be heated and have access to ultraviolet light.

Bearded dragons, on the other hand, require a much smaller enclosure, such as a 20-40 gallon terrarium. This is because they are not as active and are mainly terrestrial. They need a basking spot, as well as a cool side of the terrarium to regulate their body temperature.

Bearded dragons also need to have access to ultraviolet light, and they love to climb, so make sure you provide them with some rocks and branches.

Blue Tongue Skink vs Bearded Dragon: Lighting

When it comes to lighting, both the blue tongue skink and the bearded dragon have different needs. The blue tongue skink requires both a basking light and a full-spectrum UVB light, while the bearded dragon requires only a basking light.

Basking lights are used to provide warmth and are typically placed on one end of the enclosure, while full-spectrum UVB lights are used to provide the essential vitamin D3 required for calcium absorption.

The blue tongue skink requires a basking light to reach temperatures of around 95°F on one end of their enclosure, while the bearded dragon requires a basking light to reach temperatures of around 95-105°F.

Blue tongue skinks should also have a full-spectrum UVB light placed within 12-18 inches of their enclosure, while bearded dragons should have a full-spectrum UVB light placed within 8-12 inches of their enclosure. Both lights should be used for 10-12 hours per day and should be turned off at night.

When it comes to lighting, it is important to remember that both the blue tongue skink and the bearded dragon require different needs.

The blue tongue skink requires both a basking light and a full-spectrum UVB light, while the bearded dragon requires only a basking light. It is essential to provide the correct lighting for both species in order to ensure their health and well-being.

Blue Tongue Skink vs Bearded Dragon: Handling

In contrast to their lighting needs, there are some important differences between bearded dragons and blue tongue skinks when it comes to handling. Bearded dragons are generally very tolerant of handling, while blue tongue skinks can become stressed or agitated if handled too much.

As with any pet, it is important to handle the animal appropriately. Bearded dragons should be picked up using both hands with their tails supported, and their feet should be allowed to curl around the handler’s fingers for support.

Blue tongue skinks, on the other hand, are more delicate creatures and should be handled with even more care. They should be picked up using both hands, but should not be allowed to curl their feet around the handler. Additionally, they should not be picked up too often, as this can be a source of stress for the animal.

Blue Tongue Skink vs Bearded Dragon: Lifespan

When it comes to lifespan, blue-tongue skinks and bearded dragons have very different expectations. The average blue tongue skink can live for 10-12 years when provided with proper care.

However, bearded dragons have a lifespan of 8-10 years. Therefore, blue-tongue skinks tend to have a slightly longer lifespan than bearded dragons.

The life expectancy of a blue tongue skink or a bearded dragon is impacted greatly by the quality of care it receives. Proper nutrition, quality lighting, and a clean habitat are all important to ensure a blue tongue skink or bearded dragon can reach its maximum lifespan potential.

Additionally, regular vet visits, particularly for reptiles, are important to monitor health issues.

Finally, the care of blue tongue skinks and bearded dragons differ in some ways. Bearded dragons require more sunlight and UVB exposure than blue tongue skinks, and the diet of each differs.

It is highly recommended to research the care requirements of each before purchasing or adopting either reptile, to ensure the new pet is receiving optimal care for its health and longevity.

Conclusion

In conclusion, blue tongue skink and Bearded Dragon can both make great pets, depending on the owner’s experience level and lifestyle. They share some similarities, such as needing a warm and dry enclosure, as well as a variety of veggies in their diet.

However, they have many differences, such as their physical appearance, behavior, lighting requirements, and lifespan. Therefore, it is important to do your research and understand the needs of each reptile before deciding which one is right for you.

It is also important to remember that proper care and handling are essential to ensure the health and longevity of either a blue tongue skink or a Bearded Dragon.