Blue-Tongued Lizard

Identifying A Blue-Tongued Lizard

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Blue-Tongued Lizard (Tiliqua Scincoides)

Renowned for its pointed blue tongue, the eastern Blue-Tongued Lizard is a medium-size lizard indigenous to Australia. Residents across Queensland and on the Sunshine Coast can expect to see these reptiles in their gardens, as their diet and diminishing natural habitats bring them closer to urban and residential areas.

Fortunately, this reptile is not venomous and relies on other means to deter would-be predators and to track down their prey.


About the Blue-Tongued Lizard

Stout and non-threatening looking, the eastern blue-tongued lizard has a short body with short appendages. Growing up to 60cm and weighing as much as 1kg as an adult, this reptile is a member of the skink family. Their tails are quite short as well, giving this lizard an overall stocky appearance.

Although the Eastern Blue Tongued Lizard can be of many different colours, they generally tend to be banded with 6-9 pale bands between the nape and hips and 7-10 on their tail. Abdominal regions tend to be silver or gray in colour, while their backs are dark brown and cream-coloured, with a pale brown head.

The easiest way to identify this lizard is with its bright blue tongue, sometimes edged with hints of purple, however, the Pink-tongued Skink does have many of the same characteristics.


Where Can You Find the Blue-Tongued Lizard?

Blue-tongued lizards can usually be found in open country areas, where there is plenty of ground cover for them to take refuge in. Diurnal, these reptiles rest at night and come out early in the morning to bask in the sun before foraging for food.

Like all lizards, the eastern blue-tongued skin cannot produce its own body heat. As a result, these reptiles can become quite inactive during the colder months, although they may surface here and there during a sunny day.

These lizards are predominantly found on the eastern and south-eastern coasts of Australia, with a particular distribution in Sydney and New South Wales.


Is The Blue-Tongued Lizard Dangerous?

The eastern blue-tongued lizard is not venomous or particularly dangerous to humans. Instead, they ward off predators by opening their mouths wide and displaying their blue tongue. If this does not deter the threat, blue-tongued lizards are also known to hiss and flatten out their body in an attempt to look bigger.

A frightened blue-tongued skink may bite if it is picked up or handled. Juvenile blue-tongued lizards are even known to drop their tail when threatened, although this is relatively normal and the lizard is able to grow back its tail.


What Does the Blue-Tongued Lizard Eat?

The eastern blue-tongued lizard is an omnivore. As such, they eat a variety of things, such as plants, fruit, insects, and even other reptiles. Equipped with small teeth and strong jaw muscles, these lizards usually prey on slower-moving creatures, like snails or beetles.

Captive breeders have reported that dog food is a great source of nutrition for these lizards!


What to do if you see a Blue-Tongued Lizard

If you spot a blue-tongued lizard in your garden, don’t be alarmed! They are harmless to humans and should not pose a threat to pets like dogs or cats. Avoid letting children play with these skinks, however, as they may lash out and bite when scared.

If you would like to have any eastern blue-tongued lizards relocated from your home or garden, please contact the Snake Rescue Sunny Coast team. We can safely capture and relocate the lizard to a more suitable habitat away from children and pets.

Eastern Blue-Tongued Lizard

Frequently Asked Questions

An eastern blue-tongued lizard, also known as a blue-tongued skink, is a species of lizard that is native to Australia. They are characterised by their large, flattened head, broad body, short legs, and distinctive blue tongue.

The eastern blue-tongued lizard has a broad, flattened body, short legs, and a wide, triangular head. Their scales are typically brown or gray in color, with darker bands or blotches along their back. They are called blue-tongued lizards because of their bright blue tongue, which they use as a warning signal to potential predators. 

If you come across a lizard you think may be the blue-tongue, look out for the following characteristics:

  • Short, stocky body
  • Thick, short tail
  • Variations of colour including silver, gray, dark brown, pale brown, or cream with dark bands across the back
  • A bright blue tongue

No, eastern blue-tongued lizards are not venomous. Their tongue is their greatest tool to ward off would-be predators, and they may hiss or flatten out their bodies to intimidate a threat. However, they are capable of delivering a painful bite if threatened or handled roughly.

Yes, eastern blue-tongued lizards can make great pets, but they require specific care and attention. They need a large enclosure with a heat source, UVB lighting, and a substrate that allows for digging. They also require a varied diet and regular handling to stay socialised.

If you find an injured eastern blue-tongued lizard, do not attempt to pick it up yourself. Contact a professional reptile rescue organisation, such as our team at Snake Rescue Sunny Coast, who can safely capture and relocate the lizard to a more suitable location for proper care and treatment, if necessary.

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