Blue-Tongued Lizard

Blue-Tongued Lizard

Common blue-tongued skink, Common bluetongue

Tiliqua scincoides
Population size
Life Span
20 years
kg lbs 
cm inch 

The Blue-tongued lizard (Tiliqua scincoides) is a large species of skink found only in Australia and an island in Indonesia. Due to their characteristic blue tongue and their curious nature, Blue-tongued lizards are popular companion animals in Western countries.


The Blue-tongued lizard is variable in color but generally has a banded pattern. Its tongue is blue-violet to cobalt blue in color and is used to collect micro molecules to deliver to sensory organs as a "smell" sense using the tip. The tongue of the Blue-tongued skink is also useful in catching prey, as it is coated in a sticky mucus to preserve surface tension in motion to draw an insect back into the mouth.




Blue-tongued lizards are native to Australia and Tanimbar Island (Maluku Province, Indonesia). They inhabit dry forests, savannas, grasslands, and shrubland. They have also adapted to urban and suburban areas and can even be found in residential areas of Sydney.

Climate zones

Habits and Lifestyle

Blue-tongued lizards are active during the day and lead a solitary lifestyle. They can’t produce their own body heat and spend their mornings in the sun before looking for food in order to maintain their body temperature which is between 30-35 degrees Celsius when they are active. In the winter, however, when the weather is cold, lizards bury themselves in their shelter sites and are not active. These lizards only leave their shelters on days when the sun is out, so that they can bask in the sun. They infrequently leave the comfort of their hollow logs and ground debris. Blue-tongued lizards are docile and shy creatures. Their blue tongue is used to scare off potential predators. When predators approach the lizard, it opens its mouth and sticks out its blue tongue to warn off predators showing that it may be distasteful. The lizard will also hiss and puff up its chest to appear larger and assert dominance. It can also lose its tail during a quarrel and regrow it. It typically takes a year for their tail to regrow. Blue-tongued lizards are not poisonous or deadly to humans. Their bites will cause pain and leave a bruise, however, they will not cause any long-term effects.

Seasonal behavior

Diet and Nutrition

Blue-tongued lizards are omnivorous. They feed on insects, snails, frogs, other reptiles, small birds, small mammals, carrion, some plant material, fruits, and other vegetation.

Mating Habits

5-25 young
at birth

Blue-tongued lizards are ovoviviparous and live-bearing reptiles. Females can give birth from 5 to 25 live young per litter. The young are precocial; they are more developed and advanced at their time of birth and don’t require parental care.


Population threats

Blue-tongued lizards may eat poisonous snails and slugs that have been tainted by snail baits. If they are living in a garden, they may be exposed to snail baits and insecticides that can cause them harm. In some areas, Cane toads pose a significant threat to this species. Because Blue-tongued lizards are able to squirm through small holes in fences and under fences, they may be faced with garden pests or chemicals used by neighbors.

Population number

According to IUCN Red List, the Blue-tongued lizard is common throughout its range but no overall population estimate is available. Currently, this species is classified as Least Concern (LC) on the IUCN Red List and its numbers today are stable.

Ecological niche

Blue-tongued lizards are considered beneficial in urban and suburban areas, due to their appetite for garden pests such as slugs and snails.


1. Blue-Tongued Lizard Wikipedia article -
2. Blue-Tongued Lizard on The IUCN Red List site -

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