Kingdom: Animalia

Phylum: Chordata

Class: Reptilia

Order: Squamata

Family: Scincidae

Genus: Tiliqua

Physical Description

The Blue-Tongued lizard is characterized by its long blue tongue which is used in defensive displays. The skin is relatively smooth, covered by overlapping scales with a fish-like appearance. Coloration of the body is that of a grayish ventral side, and the head being a pale brown with the dorsal side (back) having alternating streaks or blotches of dark brown and cream. Juveniles, however, can possess a wider variety of coloration which helps them in becoming cryptic. This coloration will be lost as the juvenile reaches maturity. The general body plan is considered to be robust and cylindrical with relatively short legs. The massive tongue is supported by the hyoid skeleton, this is true for all members in the Order Squamata. The tip of the tongue is supported by one rod of the hyoid skeleton, the lingual process.


The Blue-Tongued lizard is omnivorous and will survive on a variety of foods. They feed on a variety of small creatures such as insects, other reptiles, as well as some plant material and fruits. Captive studies show that one of the best food sources is high quality dog food, which contains added vitamins and minerals, also they adapt well to vegetables such as collard greens, turnips, and dandelions. Blue-Tongued Blue-Tongued lizards feed during the day and are termed diurnal. Blue-Tongued lizard show little aggression. They are very docile creatures that tame easily. They are shy and secretive and seldom stray far from their shelters, which consist of hollow logs and ground debris. They use claws to cling to logs and rocks. The most peculiar behavior is use of their bright blue tongue. When disturbed, it gapes its mouth open sticks out its blue tongue, puffs up its body and hisses loudly. This again is used as a defensive behavior. By puffing out its body this helps the animal look bigger than it really is. The Blue-Tongued lizard is ovoviviparous, which means the offspring develop in eggs which are not laid and stay in the mothers body for further development. The female then will lay live young. Eggs are therefore not taken by predators and survivorship would increase because all the young are born. The clutch of the Blue-Tongued Skink ranges about 10-15 young hatched at one cycle of reproduction.

Habitat and Distribution

In the bush, Common Blue-tongues inhabit open areas including woodlands and grasslands with plenty of ground cover such as tussock grasses, rocks or logs under which they shelter at night or during cold periods. Within urban environments Common Blue-tongues have adapted to shelter under a variety of human debris (tin, tiles), garden plants, or buildings and are common inhabitants of many suburban yards in Eastern Australia. Like all lizards, Blue-tongues do not produce their own body heat, but emerge from hiding places early on warm mornings to bask partially hidden in a sunny spot. Once warmed to their active temperature of 30-35°C they move around to forage. The Blue-tongue extends along the coast and semi-arid inland areas from about Adelaide South Australia, through Victoria and Queensland.