Blue-tongued Lizard

Tiliqua scincoides

Blue-tongued Lizard (Tiliqua scincoides) is a large reptile with a total length of 45 centimetres. The species is also known as the Eastern Blue-tongued Lizard and occurs from south-eastern South Australia through Victoria, eastern New South Wales most of Queensland to the Northern Territory and north-western Western Australia.

The Blue-tongued Lizard is brown to silvery-grey above. There are a number of irregular cross-bands on the body and tail. These are usually dark brown. There is a dark streak from each eye to the ears. This streak often joins one of the cross-bands. The ventral (lower body) surface ranges from white to pale yellow. The blue tongue is its most distinctive feature. The tongue is stuck out (see image) and a hissing noise made as defence mechanisms. “Blue Tongues” are harmless.

Blue-tongued Lizards are found in a variety of habitats including: coastal heath, forests and woodlands to high altitude forests and grasslands.

They have a cosmopolitan diet. Insects, snails, carrion, wildflowers, fruits and berries all figure in their diet. “Blue-tongues” living near humans have been seen to relish Paw-paw fruit. They are welcomed in gardens because of their appetite for snails and slugs.

Please note: if you have “Blue-tongues” in the garden please be careful using snail bait.

They are viviparous (live-bearing) and are usual active during the day.

The northern populations have different colours. They are brown above with pale transverse markings. The eye to ear streaks may be absent.

“Blue-tongues” are one of five lizard species that call our cold climate garden home. The “Blue-tongues” are not frequently observed in the garden. They tend to be rather secretive.

The specimen illustrated has a rather “stumpy” tail which probably indicates the original tail has been shed at some time.

 

By Warren and Gloria Sheather