the-bowl-cut

Reptile Diets: Blue Tongue Skink

When I first got my bluey I struggled to figure out a diet plan that was healthy and balanced for him but not too pricey and labor intensive for me. This is the staple diet I eventually came up with for him, so I thought I would do a quick write-up in case it’s useful to anyone else.

Supplies

Technically all you really need is a knife, cutting board, bowl, and something to mix with, but it makes the whole process much easier if you have a food processor.

Protein

A varied diet is always important, so I use both insect (black soldier fly larvae) and mammal (rabbit) protein sources.

Please note that the dog food needs to always be grain free (and free of other starchy fillers like potato), lacking in any preservatives that are toxic to reptiles, and made with lean meat (stay away from red meat). A good dog food should have protein and fat levels close to (or below) the values for healthy feeder insects. In the past I’ve used Nature’s Instincts Rabbit Formula, but a friend recommended Evanger’s Rabbit to me because it literally contains nothing but rabbit, liver, water, and guar gum (no preservatives) so I’m trying it out.

Plant Matter

I always go with some variety of squash, healthy dark greens (usually collard or arugula), and some other vegetable (carrots today). The vegetables all go into the food processor to get broken down into a slurry. 

Then the vegetables get mixed in with the protein in a big bowl until you have a thick, homogeneous mixture. I used to add vitamins and calcium at this point, but now I mix them into the food right before serving since I worry that the freezing and microwaving may degrade the supplements.

Someday I should probably measure out the exact proportions of protein to vegetables, but I’ve always just eyeballed it. Skink keepers seem to disagree on the exact protein to plant matter ratio blueys are supposed to eat, so I usually aim for around 50/50.

Storage

The end result gets divided into meal-sized balls, packed into airtight deli cups, and stored in the freezer until it is ready to use. I try not to make more than a month’s worth at a time since Skimble starts to dislike the texture if it sits in the freezer for too long.

To serve I simply thaw, place in Skimble’s dish, and microwave for about 10 seconds to get it warm and yummy.

Making food this way has been a huge time and money saver. Skimble also eats healthier because he can’t pick out the stuff he likes. I do mix other food items into Skimble’s staple meal sometimes (fruits, live insects, eggs, etc) so he still gets variety in his diet.

Just a small side note that this diet would probably not be ideal for an animal that is prone to or fighting off a mouth infection because it is so soft and mushy.

Day Eighty

-A woman used the phrase “I’m slower than Christmas,” with no context. I do not know what the holiday ever did to her but she had no reason to bring religion into the matter.

-I met an older woman sporting a phenomenal combination of a bowl cut and a mullet. I call this look a bullet and I will be appropriating it as my own.

-As I was ringing up a guest as the only cashier in the store, a cantankerous ol’ coot yelled at me, demanding I open up another lane. Whether he wished for me to conjure up a new cashier or to man two lanes at once, I do not understand where the urgency came from as he was next in line.

-A young, cheery couple came through my lane, purchasing $100 of towels each to redecorate their bathrooms while qualifying for a $25 off sale. The first purchase came up to exactly $99.99. The second, $99.88. The man happily made several round-trips to the washcloth display to even things out, and I would like to publicly applaud them simply for being the most polite couple in heterosexual history.

-The sweetest five year-old girl insisted upon unloading her mother’s cart and running her mother’s debit card all on her own to prove that she knew how to. Her need for a stepladder aside, she has displayed a level of independence and ambition I will never know, and I admire her for this.

-As an elderly woman came through my lane and went to unload her cart, she realized that it was entirely empty. She shrugged and said, in an utterly matter-of-fact tone, “I guess I didn’t buy anything,” and walked away without a care in the world.

-A man in his seventies told me of his plans to train his honeybees to bring him honey and deposit it in the mason jars he was purchasing. I would like to know what his strategy for training them was, but more importantly, what he had been using his bees for up until this point.

-As I rang up a woman in her mid-fifties, I found a face-down DVD amidst her items. Curious, I turned it over. It was a copy of Fifty Shades of Grey. The shame in her eyes told me all that I needed to know. I returned the DVD to its face-down position.

-The elderly guests I find myself surrounded with each day inspire me to return to flip phones, because then I could dramatically flip it open with a stern, “Go for Tom,” and also because the Internet is a platform for sin.

-A young girl forged an armored gauntlet out of fast food containers. This ingenuity and resourcefulness will bode well for her in the oncoming battles.

-A woman in her sixties became panicked as loud music began to surround her. “What is that? What is going on up here?” she demanded. Distraught, she tried to flee the scene, to escape the music, but it followed her wherever she went. I looked on, aghast, unsure if I should tell her that her phone was going off.