Western Blue-tongued Lizard - Reptile Encounters

Western Blue-tongued Lizard

Scientific name:

Tiliqua occipitalis

Other names:

Western blue-tongued skink


Threatened (NSW), Near Threatened (Victoria), Least concern (Nationally)

Strikingly coloured, with broad, alternating light and dark bands. Four or five of these bands occur on the body, with 3 or 4 on the tail. The light bands are pale yellowish-brown to white, and the darker bands are dark orange to brown. Head is usually the same colour as the light bands, with a large dark strip behind the eye. As its name suggests, they have a bright blue tongue, which is poked out often as the lizard moves around. Gets to an average size of around 45cm long.

Omnivorous, with a very broad diet of animal and plant matter. Has been recorded eating cockroaches, beetles, ants, termites, spiders, scorpions, bird’s eggs, berries, wattle seeds, flowers and fungi.

A semi-arid species, this species prefers areas such as mallee woodlands, shrublands, grasslands and heathlands.

From the coast of WA, extending across SA and southern NT into western VIC and the south-eastern corner of NSW.

Spends most of its time sheltering and moving through grass hummocks and in deep leaf litter, where it can avoid the more extreme temperatures of the semi-arid environments it inhabits. This does make the species particularly susceptible to fire. Mostly diurnal, although in hotter weather it may be active at night as well.

Mating occurs in October-November, with litters being born in late summer. Much smaller litters than the more well-known Eastern blue-tongued lizard, with only 5-7 offspring in a litter.
Like other blue-tongued lizard species, 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.

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