Blue Tongue Skink

STATUSLeast Concern

COMMON NAME (SCIENTIFIC NAME)Tiliqua scincoides

DIETInsects, small reptiles and a variety of plant material and fruits

RANGEAustralia, New Guinea and Tasmania.

HABITATSemi-desert, mixed woodlands, and scrublands

Blue Tongue Skink

Status: Not yet evaluated

Description: The blue tongue skink gets its name from its long blue tongue. The tongue can be used in defensive displays, and it supported by a hyoid bone. Its smooth skin is covered by overlapping scales which in juveniles can be very colorful. As juveniles mature some of the coloration is lost. This skink has short legs and appears to be waddling when it is walking.

 Habitat and Range: The blue tongue skink can be found in Australia, New Guinea and Tasmania. They inhabit semi-desert, mixed woodlands, and scrublands.

Diet in the Wild: They are omnivorous and will feed on insects, small reptiles and a variety of plant material and fruits.

Diet in the Zoo: Mixed fruit and vegetables every day, and super worms twice a week.

 Predators: Birds of Prey such as Brown Falcons and Kookaburras, snakes such as Eastern Brown snake, Red- bellied black snake, and Mulga snake. Dingoes. Feral cats are also considered predators of the blue tongue skink.

Life Cycle and Social Structure: Blue tongue skinks are solitary animals and live alone. They come together only for breeding season which is September and November. Males fight aggressively for females. Blue tongue skinks are ovoviviparous; eggs develop and hatch inside the female. The young appear to be born live. Clutch size is about 10-15.   Young are ready to look after themselves right after birth and disperse within a few days.

Blue tongue skinks are docile, shy, and secretive. They don’t often stray from their shelters. They use hollow logs and ground debris to make their shelters. When distressed or upset the skink will stick out its blue tongue, puff up its body and hiss. The skink can lose its tail if threatened in a confrontation. The tail will regenerate.

Life Span: Can live 20 years or more in captivity

Interesting Facts:

  • Get their names because of the bright blue tongue in contrast with the red or pink mouth
  • Diurnal reptiles that spend most of their time searching for food
  • Ovoviviparous: appear to give live birth

 Conservation Messages: Blue tongues skinks are not endangered or threatened but there are still important messages to learn. Blue tongue skinks often feed on small invertebrates that have ingested insecticides. This can be harmful or fatal to the skink.

What You Can Do: Do not use pesticides and herbicides in your lawn. They have a ripple affect and collect in large amounts up the food chain (biomagnifications)

Bibliography:
http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/
http://australianmuseum.net.au/