Northern Blue-tongued Lizard - Reptile Encounters

Northern Blue-tongued Lizard

Scientific name:

Tiliqua scincoides intermedia

Other names:

Northern blue-tongue skink


Least concern

Northern blue-tongued lizards tend to be a bright orange to soft peachy orange or even a yellowish and pinkish colour with darker stripes along their sides and backs, with a lighter, creamier colour on their bellies. They are similar in pattern to the Eastern blue-tongued lizards for the most part, but tend to be lighter and, particularly in the western parts of their distribution, they can display some strong speckling on the head and back. They are also far larger than typical Eastern blue-tongues, reaching lengths of over 50cm. This makes them the largest blue-tongue species in Australia.

Small insects, snails and slugs, as well as shoots and leaves, berries, fungi, fruit and flowers. Younger animals eat mostly animal matter, but more vegetation enters the diet as they grow.

A variety of habitats from tropical savannahs to semi-arid areas.

Found across the Top End, from the Kimberly in WA across to FNQ, where they are replaced by the more widespread eastern subspecies.

The Northern blue-tongued lizard is not its own species. It is actually a subspecies of the Eastern blue-tongued lizard (T. s. scincoides) found along much of the east coast of Australia. Diurnal and terrestrial, this species is often seen in open areas including backyards.

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.

When the mating season arrives, males will follow females until they can bite down on the back of their neck. Scale damage and bleeding are not uncommon, and if the female is not receptive to the male’s attempts to breed she may fight back, sometimes violently.
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