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Eastern Blue-tongue

An Eastern Blue Tongue lizard crawling over a rock in the garden
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Scientific Name: Tiliqua scincoides 

Size: Snout Vent Length 320mm (females bigger than males)

What does it look like?

The Eastern Blue-tongue is a large skink with broad head, short limbs, moderately long, tapering tail and large blue tongue. Generally silvery-grey to olive-green or brownish above, with broad dark brown to blackish, irregular transverse bands on back and tail, and sometimes with broad blackish stripe from eye to above ear. Underparts white or creamish. Colour varies with its range, with individuals in north being browner, paler on head, with blackish bars on back and with eye-stripe reduced or absent.

Where is it found?

Two subspecies: Northern Blue-tongued skink T. s. intermedia throughout northern Australia, from north-west WA, through northern NT, to north-western Qld; Eastern Blue-tongue T. s. scincoides through eastern Australia, from north-eastern Qld, through central and eastern NSW, to Vic.

What are its habitats & habits?

Found in wide variety of habitats, generally with plenty of groundcover, where it shelters at night in dense leaf litter, or under fallen logs, rocks, or human items such as discarded timber or corrugated iron. Diurnal, actively foraging during warmer parts of the day for molluscs, insects, plant material and some carrion. On cooler days individuals can remain inactive in their shelter site, or spend lengthy periods of time basking in sunny areas. Viviparous, giving birth to up to around 20 (average 10) live young in a litter, normally with 1 litter each year, but may miss a year if there is insufficient food available. When threatened, tends to flatten body, open its wide mouth and stick out its large blue tongue.

Interesting facts

Alternate Names: Eastern Blue-tongue Lizard, Common Blue-tongued Lizard

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A Naturalist's Guide to the Reptiles of Australia (2nd Edition) cover

This species features in my book A Naturalist’s Guide to the Reptiles of Australia

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