Facts about Blue-Tongued Lizard

We found 20 facts about Blue-Tongued Lizard

Blue-tongue skinks

They are named for their blue tongues, which contrast with their pink mouths to ward off potential predators. 

The brightness and size of the tongue also allows skinks to communicate with other members of their species over long distances. They may use it as a warning, to identify relatives, to claim and protect territory, or to aid in mating.

Almost all blue-tongued skinks live in mainland Australia, with the exception of one species found in New Guinea and Indonesia.

Blue-Tongued Lizard
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.
The body is covered with scales. Coloration varies among species.

Central blue-tongued lizards are brown to gray with stripes, some, like the Western blue-tongued lizards, are pale with brown stripes, while others, like the Adelaide pygmy blue-tongued lizards, are rusty to gray with no stripes at all.

Color may also depend on habitat type - better camouflaged lizards tend to live and thrive longer.

They can grow up to 60 cm long. 

They weigh about 1 kg (2,2 lb.).Their body is stocky, cylindrical, with a triangular head wider than the rest of the body. 

Among skinks, many blue-tongued lizards are among the largest species. Despite their relatively long bodies, their legs are short, which causes them to move slowly.

One of the longest blue-tongued lizards are Indonesian blue-tongued skink and the Irian Jaya blue tongue skink.

They can be found in all Australian habitats, including urbanized areas.

They inhabit oceanic coastlines, mountainous regions, and lowlands. In urbanized areas, they may be harmed by humans or become prey for dogs and cats.

They are opportunistic omnivores.

They usually eat insects, smaller reptiles and snails, but fruits, berries and flowers also have a place in their diet. Some species may occasionally feed on carrion. Because of their short legs, they tend to wait and lurk for prey rather than actively hunt.

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).
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