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.
Squat 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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
When we’re looking for a snake, the first places we look are along the walls and under debris. Snakes try to avoid predators by moving along the walls and beneath cover. Unless they are going from concealment to cover or seeking warmth from the sun, it’s unusual to observe a snake moving out in the open.
We study their body language once we discover the snake, before we attempt to catch it. This tells us what the snake is thinking and indicates what it might do. We can tell when they are going to run, stand up and fight, or simply be apathetic toward our presence based on their body language. It’s critical for us to understand how to capture and handle snakes using this information.
After they’ve been captured, they’re put in a bag and kept quiet in a dark, tight space. This keeps us safe while handling the snake, as well as allows the snake to calm down.
Following the capture of the snake, they are relocated to suitable bushland and set free. Each snake is assigned its own habitat and food. As a result, we release them into areas that are ideal for each species. Keelbacks and Red-bellied black snakes enjoy frogs and lizards, so we put them in areas near water sources such as rivers or dams.
During an operation, we always want to double-check the snakes for health and remove any external parasites like ticks before they are released. If the snake is not healthy enough to be released, it may be due to injury or sickness; they are taken to Australia Zoo’s wildlife hospital for further evaluation, treatment, and rehabilitation.
As snake catchers, all the snakes we catch are logged with the department of wildlife and science. This is so they can keep track of where each snake has been caught and released, to monitor and maintain the biodiversity in the area.
We have also been keeping a personal log of all the snakes we have caught on the Sunshine Coast that you can view on our website. This way you can see the species and location of each snake we have caught around the sunshine coast and in your areas.