Facts about Blue-Tongued Lizard

20 facts about Blue-Tongued Lizard

Blue-tongue skinks

They are named after blue tongues which are used to repel potential predator. Common lizard in Australia living in many wild habitats as well as in suburban areas.
There are 8 species of those lizards.
Most popular is Common blue-tongued skink.
They can be found in all habitats of Australia, Tasmania and New Guinea.
One of its subspecies are also present in Indonesia.
Their body is covered with grey or brown smooth scales.
Color depends on habitat type - better camouflaging lizards tend to live and thrive longer.
They can grow up to 60 cm in length. Despite relatively long body, their legs are short.
They weigh about 1 kg (2,2 lb.).
Their body is stout, cylindrycal, with triangular head wider than rest of the body.
It is an omnivorous animal.
They usually eat insects, smaller reptiles, snails but there is also a place for fruits, berries and flowers in their diet.
In search for food they rely mostly on smell.
They are equipped with Jacobson’s organ which lays on their palate. It is a chemoreceptor that aids lizard’s nose in search of chemical compounds emitted by their prey.
Blue-Tongued lizards are diurnal.
They seek for food during the day and benefit from UVB lightning which is crucial for ectothermic animals like all reptiles. At night they seek for shelter under rocks and logs or in a pile of leaves.
When posed to danger, they can shed tail to distract predator.
Skinks have an ability to regrow the tail, but size and shape may differ from the original.
Their bite is strong.
To crush snails shells their jaws require force which is provided by strong jaw muscles.
Those animals live solitary life.
Most of the year those lizards spend alone, only in last quarter of year they bind in pairs. They are polygamous so one male can be a parent for many clutches.
Blue-Tongued skinks are ovoviviparous.
This means that they develop eggs inside mothers’ body and keep them inside till proper moment. Such strategy helps to protect eggs from potential predators. Skinks reach sex maturity at age of four.
Usually there are about 10 young lizards in single clutch.
There can be much more (up to 25), but this does not happen very often. Newborn skinks are self-sufficient and leave mother after few days to live their own life.
During cold weather they remain inactive, laying in their shelters.
They use blue tongue to fend off potential predators.
When disturbed, those lizards hiss and reveal their tongues.
They are not poisonous, but color of their tongues may fool a predator.
Bites can cause pain and leave a bruise but are not dangerous to humans.
They fall prey to many animals.
Large birds like kookaburras and falcons, snakes, dingoes, foxes, feral dogs and cats are most common enemies of blue-tongued lizards.
They may be also run over by car, motorcycle or bike as they often lay on the road while basking in the sun.
It is illegal to export native species from Australia including blue-tongue lizards.
They are not an endangered species.
IUCN lists those animals as LC (least concern).