Eastern Blue-tongued Lizard - Reptile Encounters

Eastern Blue-tongued Lizard

Scientific name:

Tiliqua scincoides scincoides

Other names:

Common blue-tongued lizard, blue-tongued skink. ‘bluey’


Least Concern

A very easily recognised species familiar to most residents of the east coast of Australia. Seven to nine dark bands across the body, with orange patches along their sides. Tail is also light and dark banded. The spices can vary from pale silver to olive brown, and are usually lighter on the sides and underneath. Southern individuals tend to have a dark band from behind the eye, past the ear and sometimes as far as the forelimb. Individuals from further north in their range will often lack this stripe. Their most famous feature is their bright blue tongue, which is poked out often as the lizard moves around. They have been known to get to 60cm in length, although southern animals tend to be a fair bit smaller.

Omnivorous, taking a wide variety of plant material. Fruits and fungi are commonly taken, and this species is welcomed into many gardens thanks to its taste for snails, but they are also known to raid strawberry patches and the dog’s bowl as well. Eastern blue-tongued lizards have also been recorded eating carrion.

Prefers more open habitats, often with low ground cover and leaf litter, such as dry sclerophyll forest, box-ironbark forest, red gum forest, heathlands, grasslands, banksia woodlands and coastal scrub.

From south-eastern SA, throughout most of Victoria and NSW, and the eastern half of QLD. From FNQ across the Top End to the Kimberley, a closely related subspecies, the Northern blue-tongued lizard (T.s.intermedia) can be found.

Diurnal and terrestrial, this species is often seen in open areas and frequently crosses and basks on roads, which leads to many road deaths for the species, At night, and over winter, it will bury itself deep in leaf litter or shelter under logs and rocks, and even uses rabbit warren for protection. It is a regular resident in suburban backyards, although like most native species it is declining in these areas. Like all blue-tongues, this species has an impressive threat display. They will flatten their body, open their mouth wide and sticking out a flattened blue tongue, whilst emitting a loud hissing sound.

Mating occurs in late September, with males sometimes fighting during this period. Females give birth to live young between January and March. The number of offspring depends on the size of the female, but litters of up to 21 babies have been recorded.

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