Eastern Blue-Tongue Skink (Tiliqua scincoides)
By Troy Hovenden, The Reptile Bloke
The Eastern Blue-Tongue Skink is a common lizard species in the Blue Mountains. We actually have two species of Blue-Tongue here in the Mountains. In the upper mountains, we find the Blotched Blue-Tongue Skink (Tiliqua nigrolutea).
Often times when I’m searching for snakes in people’s yards I will inadvertently come across a beautiful Blue-Tongue either sheltering or basking in the sun.
As the name suggests, Blue-Tongued Skinks have a big bright blue fleshy tongue. This is used as a warning to potential predators to leave the lizard alone. Blue-Tongue Skinks are of course completely harmless but when they open their mouth and stick that bright blue tongue out, a predator may think twice about attacking.
There are a few myths about Blue-Tongues. One is that they will keep snakes away. This is not true. I have seen on many occasions Blue-Tongues and snakes happily living side by side in close proximity to one another. On some occasions, I have observed them sharing the same shelter site.
Having said that, there have been documented cases of large venomous snakes eating Blue-Tongues. So the idea that Blue-Tongues keep snakes away is completely false.
Blue-Tongues are livebearers and usually have around ten or so babies in a litter.
Their favourite food is snails but they will also eat bugs and plants, as well as Carrion.
If you have a Bluey in your yard the best thing to do is leave it right where it is. It’s not going to harm you.
It’s surprising how many people I have come across over the years that are fearful of these beautiful lizards.
Still, I should warn you, while they aren’t anything to be scared of they do have a mouth full of sharp teeth. don’t try to pick up a wild Blue-Tongue. They may try to bite in self-defence which does indeed hurt quite a lot! If you leave them alone, however, they won’t cause you any problems and make a great addition to the garden.
Stay safe and be nice to snakes.
TROY – 0404 109 421
Troy Hovenden is a fully licensed and insured snake catcher servicing The Blue Mountains and Penrith areas. Fees apply.