Solaris — New Male [probable] born June, 2019. From European OpalFire stock
These are some of my original Northern blue-tongues (T.S. intermedia) that comprise my breeding group. I’ll put their name, which helps me keep track of them, with some information for each skink. (I need to update soon with a couple more males that I’ve added to the colony.)
Here I’ll list the males:
(Note — to enlarge photos click on the double arrow icon that appears when you mouse over the photos.)
ARES — Male — Estimated age 9
Ares is the most territorial and aggressive of the males, especially during breeding season.
VLAD — Male — Estimated Age 7
Vlad was raised as a pet and handled a lot, and he is easily the most mellow of all the males.
Ares and Vlad were the primary breeders with Kerberos and Ajax as backup breeder males in 2018. Each female was bred 3 or 4 times during the first two weeks of February 2018. As the males aggressively bite the shoulders of the females during breeding, often drawing blood, I limit the number of encounters and stand guard to separate the animals if things go wrong. I’ll give more information on the breeding later in another section.
HARLAN was born in June 2018 and is the offspring of Athena and a loaner male. Since he has very rich copper colors, I decided to keep him as a breeder. As it turned out he was a very active and successful breeder in 2020.
KERBEROS — Male — Born June 15, 2015 (Kerberos was traded to a new home, and replaced by a young female and male with no known ties to my group. This is an attempt to add even more diversity to the group.)
AJAX — Male — Age around 15 to 16 years old. (Ajax from the Greek Aias, hero of the Trojan war, not from the household cleaner.)
I added this skink to the group about a year ago, obtaining him from someone who didn’t have much interest in blue-tongues. I thought he was probably a male, possibly quite old, and with borderline health issues. He was very thin and I thought with care and better feeding he would ‘fatten’ up. There were no signs of mouth rot, metabolic bone disease, or injuries — except for the oddly forked and kinked tail, probably the result of an old injury.
He was alert and active, and had a good attitude when handled. (Northern blue-tongues, especially males, can show a paranoid attitude — mouth gaping, attempting to bite — if they are not tamed with gentle handling.) However, Ajax is a picky eater and remains far too thin, and putting weight on him has proven frustrating.
Many captive blue-tongues can end up overweight, but when you observe bony hips and a raised spine (shown in photos), then the animal is underweight. (Gravid females will also usually show thin hips and prominent spine as they absorb reserves during the late stages of neonate development; this, in conjunction, with a bloated torso, is a strong indication that they are about to give birth.)
Nonetheless, Ajax remains active and strong, was cooled with the other adults this winter, and proved to be a good breeder when given the opportunity. He would not eat at all during the breeding season, typical of males, but is now eating well. With any luck, I’ll have to change his name to Fat Boy by the end of the year. (Not likely.)
I want to add some photos of Ajax showing his improved condition as of 5/23/18. It turns out he is not as picky an eater as I feared, and has been gobbling up a wide range of foods. Compare his 2/18 photos with photos taken about 100 days later.
You can no longer see the prominent backbone or bony hips visible in his earlier photos. Ajax may not be a ‘Fat Boy’ just yet, but looking much healthier. Everything about him seems greatly improved.
I rested Ajax in 2019 but at his own behest he came out of retirement in 2020 and contributed as a dependable backup male breeder.