Often confused to its blue-tongued counterpart, the pink-tongued skink is a lizard native to Australia. Popular as pets, the pink-tongued skink is a relatively large lizard that is not venomous. These lizards are predominantly found in the southern and eastern regions of the country, and residents in Queensland and on the Sunshine Coast may spot one or two in their gardens.
The pink-tongued skink grows to up to 45cm at maturity and has a slender body. Their tails are long, usually spanning the same length as their body. They have well-developed limbs with long fingers and sharp nails. Males tend to be slightly larger, with broader heads, than females. True to their name, adult pink-tongued skinks have pink tongues! However they are born with a blue tongue that will change colour as they mature.
These lizards are marbled in appearance, with dark banks spanning the length of their back. They are usually found in colours of white, pinkish, or creamy-brown. Their scales are smooth and can be edged with a darker colour on the head. The tips of their noses are also usually a darker colour.
Unlike their relative, the eastern blue-tongued lizard, pink-tongued skinks have well-formed, long limbs with long tails. They are generally smaller and more slender, too.
The pink-tongued lizard’s chosen habitat is coastal or upland regions. They enjoy low vegetation, and their long limbs help them maneuver wet forests, rain forests, and moist woodlands with ease. Indigenous to Australia, these reptiles can be found along eastern Australia – from the Cape York Peninsula, to New South Wales. Residents may even find them in their gardens!
These lizards can be active at night and during the day, though their level of activity usually correlates with the season – cooler months will see these reptiles out during day, while hotter months sees them mostly active during the twilight or early evening hours.
The pink-tongued skink is not venomous and is considered to make a great pet! Tolerant and unaggressive unless provoked, these lizards are equipped with sharp teeth and claws and can bite when they feel frightened.
When threatened, the pink-tongued skink will raise its body off the ground to appear larger, and will vibrate their pink tongue rapidly, like a snake, to ward off danger.
The pink-tongued skink mainly preys on snails and slugs. They have large, flattened teeth at the back of their top and lower jaw, which they use to easily crush the shells of snails.
These lizards can climb and are considered partially arboreal, though they usually only climb trees when searching for food but can also be found crawling around inside your roof.
These lizards can easily wander in to gardens when searching for food or shelter, so don’t be alarmed to see one basking in the sun on your front lawn!
Although the pink-tongued skink is non-venomous and does not have a history of aggression towards humans, a frightened skink may still lash out and bite or scratch you. Keep children away and give Snake Rescue Sunny Coast a call for safe capture and relocation of any pink-tongued skinks in the area.
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.