Interesting Facts about Blue-Tongue Skinks

Among several reptiles, the blue-tongue skinks have unique fame because of their fascinating appearance, distinct bright blue tongue, and calm and friendly nature. Out of their friendly and relaxed nature, these reptiles have become a popular pet option among reptile lovers across the globe.

If you are planning to purchase blue-tongue skinks and want to know every detail about these reptiles, read the article below till the end to inform yourself about the interesting facts and tidbits about these amazing reptiles.

Scientific Classification

Scientific Name: Tiliqua

Class: Reptilia

Kingdom: Animalia

Phylum: Chordata

Order: Squamata

Family: Scincidae

Subfamily: Egerniinea 

Genus species: Tiliqua scincoides

Fast Facts

Some basic facts that you should know about these reptiles are stated:

Description: It’s the largest among the skinks family, with a size ranging up to two feet. These skinks have a bright blue-colored tongue, for which they are also known as blueys. They have a long tubular body, a short tail and legs, and a broad triangular head. Because of their relatively easy care requirements, a blue tongue skink make a great pet.

Size: Maximum length 24 inches or two feet.

Diet: Omnivores (feed on insects and a variety of veggies and fruits)

Lifespan: The lifespan of blueys ranges from 18-30 years, depending on their environment.

Habitat: rainforest, grassland, forest, and deserts (Warm and humid places)

Species: 8 different species.

Blue Tongue Skink Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a blue tongue skink?

The blue-tongue skinks from the genus species Tiliqua scincoides are lizards with a fascinating blue tongue. 

What class of animal does a blue tongue Skink belong to?

The blueys belong to class Reptilia, Kingdom Animalia, phylum Chordata, and order Squamata. It also has species and subspecies from Genus Tiliqua. 

How many blue tongue skinks are there in the world?

There are no records or estimations of the blue-tongue skinks’ population in the world.

Where does a blue tongue Skink live?

The blue-tongue skinks live in rainforests, forests, deserts, and grasslands. Being cold-blooded reptiles, they are usually found in warm and humid places to keep warm and active.

Ultimate Guide To Blue-tongued Skinks – 8 species

Common NameLatin NameFound in?SizeDiet
Adelaide pygmy blue-tongue skinkTiliqua adelaidensisSouth Australia9-15 cmInsect, flowers, fruits
Australian blue-tongue skinkTiliqua scincoides scincoides, Tiliqua scincoides intermedia, Tiliqua scincoides chimaeraAustralia, Indonesia40 cmInsects, flowers, reeds, berries
Blotched blue-tongue skinkTiliqua nigroluteaAustralia, Tasmania35 – 50cmSnails, rodents, flowers, fruits, carrion
Centralian blue-tongue skinkTiliqua multifasciataNew South Wales30-45cmSeeds, insects, carrion, livestock dung
Indonesian blue-tongue skinkTiliqua gigas gigas, Tiliqua gigas keyensis, Tiliqua gigas evanescensIndonesia, New Guinea20-30 cm body, 50-60cm (total)Fruits, flowers, small insects
Irian Jaya blue-tongue skinkTiliqua sp.New Guinea50-60cmprobably insects and flowers
ShinglebackTiliqua rugosaEastern and Western Australia25–30cm Insects, flowers, carrion, dung

Western blue-tongue skink
Tiliqua occipitalisAustralia, New Guinea, Indonesia40-45 cmInsects, spiders, snails

1. Adelaide pygmy blue-tongued skink

What’s unique about the Adelaide pygmy blue-tongued skink?

An interesting and unique fact about this reptile is that its name is actually a mistake, as it was thought to originate from the city of Adelia, which later was found to be untrue. Furthermore, this species was thought to be extinct until rediscovered later in 1990. The species is endangered; however, it’s increasing in number with a breeding program.

What does the Adelaide pygmy blue-tongued skink look like?

It’s one of the shortest species of blue-tongue skinks, with sizes ranging from 9-to 15 centimetres. Skink’s body has a mix of brown, black, grey, bronze, and white scales. 

2. Australian blue-tongued Skink

What’s unique about the Australian blue-tongued Skink?

Found in residential areas of Sydney, these skinks are one the most commonly found blueys. There are three different subspecies of Australian blue-tongue Skink, including Tiliqua scincoides scincoides (found in Australia and Eastern Australia), Tiliqua scincoides intermedia (located in northern Australia), Tiliqua scincoides chimaera (found in Indonesia).

What does the Australian blue-tongue Skink look like?

This species comes in a wide range of colors, starting from the most basic form, a mix of black, orange, brown, and gray. The most attractive form of this species is a light blue body offset with a bright cobalt tongue.

3. Blotched blue-tongued Skink

What’s unique about the blotched blue-tongued Skink?

An interesting fact about this species is that you can easily identify and distinguish it from other species because of its splotchy scales and giant appearance. They are hardly found in solid colors.

What does the blotched blue-tongued Skink look like?

As per their names, these skinks have blotchy scales on their body and a mottled appearance. It’s one of the giant skinks found so far and has light grey or cream-colored body paired with dark spots or vice versa.

4. Centralian blue-tongued skink

What’s unique about the Centralian blue-tongued skink?

The giant size of the Centralian blue-tongued skinks distinguishes it from other subspecies of this reptile. The unique size, shape, and bright yellow-orange color make it fairly easy to identify this species.

What does the Centralian blue-tongued skink look like?

The unique appearance of these reptiles is their fat bodies’ huge size, which makes them the largest among the rest of the species. They have a white body covered with 11-13 orange bands around them. Alongside this, two distinct black bands run down either side of the head. 

5. Indonesian blue-tongued Skink

What’s unique about the Indonesian blue-tongued Skink?

There are three subspecies of Indonesian blue-tongue skinks:

  • Tiliqua gigas gigas (Indonesian blue-tongue skinks)
  • Tiliqua gigas keyensis ( Kei-Island blue-tongue skinks)
  • Tiliqua gigas evanescens (Merauke blue-tongue skinks)

What does the Indonesian blue-tongued Skink look like?

Identifying Indonesian blue-tongue skinks is relatively easy because of their impressive 50-60cm length, and most of this length is the tail of the Skink. In addition to this, the Skink is banded, splotchy, has solid color black legs, and has black discoloration along its yellow and orange body.

6. Irian Jaya’s blue-tongued Skink

What’s unique about the Irian Jaya blue-tongued skink?

A unique fact about the Irian Jaya blue-tongued skink is that it is considered a naturally occurring hybrid breed as it comprises features of all different species of skinks. Furthermore, it is known to be the most mysterious breed, and that’s why its Latin name translates as “Lizard species.” 

What does the Irian Jaya blue-tongued skink look like?

The Irian Jaya blue-tongue skink is found in various colors, with brown being the most common. However, it can also be found in peach, gold, black, cream, and even red scales.

7. Shingleback

What’s unique about the shingleback Skink?

The rugged appearance and tough textured scales of the shingleback skinks give it a unique appearance among other skinks and protection against predators. They can store food in their tails, which serve as a backup food store in winter. It has four subspecies:

Tiliqua rugosa rugosa (from Western Australia)

Tiliqua rugosa asper ( from Eastern Australia)

Tiliqua rugosa konowi ( from Rottnest Island)

Tiliqua rugosa palarra ( from Shark Bay)

What does the shingleback Skink look like?

They have a fat body and tail with sharp and pointed scales that serve as armor against the predator. The tail of this species resembles its head, and for this, it’s also known as a “two-headed skink.”

8. Western blue-tongued Skink

What’s unique about the Western blue-tongued Skink?

The Western blue-tongue skinks have a wide range of subspecies and are considered vulnerable to extinction. It’s quite slow and gentle, which makes it a popular pet.

What does the Western blue-tongued Skink look like?

They have a white or cream-colored big body covered with wide brown bands and distinctive black markings around the eyes. It has short legs, making it difficult for the reptile to move faster. 

Who do blue tongue skinks live with?

These reptiles live a solitary life and do not like any intruder in their personal space. They spend most of their time basking in the sun and searching for food in the wild.

How long does a blue tongue skink live?

Depending on the diet, environment where they live and provided care, these skinks can live for 18-30 years. In the wild, the lifespan is shorter as they are more prone to being hunted by predators.

How do they reproduce?

The blue-tongue skinks reproduce uniquely; they are ovoviviparous, giving birth through eggs. However, the egg hatches inside the body of the female. The gestation time of blueys is three months, after which they give birth during the daytime when their bodies are warm enough.

What is their conservation status?

Except for some species of the blue-tongue skinks, these reptiles are abundantly found in nature and breeders. Only the Adelaide pygmy blue-tongue skinks are considered endangered.

Blue Tongue Skink Fun Facts

What do blue tongue skinks look like?

They are short-legged lizards with four limbs and five equal toes. They grow up to 2 feet in length rather than in height. The tail is quite thick and shorter than the body of the Skink. The most attractive feature of this reptile is its striking blue tongue. 

How cute are they?

Although their giant appearance looks offensive, their gentle, docile, striking blue tongue and friendly nature give them a unique and cute aura. 

How do they communicate?

Blue-tongue skinks are excellent communicators; they show signs and symptoms to tell their owners that something is disturbing them. Some common signs are puffing up, hissing, and lethargy (in some cases) to communicate discomfort.

How big is a blue tongue skink?

They are the largest of the skink family, with up to 24 inches, three times the size of regular lizards.

How fast can a blue tongue Skink move?

The blue-tongue skinks have giant bodies and tiny legs, making it difficult for them to move; for these reasons, these reptiles are slow-paced.

How much does a blue tongue Skink weigh?

The weight of these skinks is approximately 10 oz- 18 oz.

What are the male and female names of the species?

There’s no particular gender-specific name for the blue-tongue skinks.

What would you call a baby blue tongue skink?

The young are often called “baby blue-tongue skink” or baby lizards.

What do they eat?

The blue-tongue skinks are omnivores and feed on insects, fruits, and veggies.

Are they dangerous?

Blue-tongue skinks are completely safe reptiles and do not contain any harmful toxins. They are quite friendly and docile; however, if intimidated, they can bite their owners, which doesn’t tear the flash but may damage the area subjected to the bite.

Would they make a good pet?

The blue-tongue skinks are excellent reptile pets because of their friendly nature. It can be a superb reptile pet choice even if you are a beginner, as blueys are friendly, docile, and low maintenance compared to other pets.

Did you know…

The blue-tongue skinks can lose their tail whenever they sense fear to distract the predator or avoid danger. They later regenerate their tails if provided with proper care and diet. In addition to this, the blue tongue of these reptiles that you find quite fascinating is meant to scare off the predators. 

How smart are blue tongue skinks?

The blue-tongue skinks are very smart, as in the wild, they are born alone and have to make their way to find food and protect themselves. Juvenile skinks learn to scare the predator by their blue tongues or puffing up, learn how to forage their food, and stay in a safe spot in the first few weeks of their birth.

Why do blue-tongued skinks have blue tongues?

The answer of the blue tongue sticking out of their mouth is Survival. The blue tongues of the skinks are meant to daze and scare off the predators.

Are blue-tongued skinks friendly or aggressive?

The wild-caught blue-tongue skinks can sometimes be aggressive, but it’s easy to tame and train the blue-tongue skinks. The skinks brought from the breeders are easy to handle and get along with. However, if the Skink feels intimidated by anything in its surroundings, it may get aggressive and bite the owner. 

Do blue-tongued skinks bite?

Although the blue tongue skinks have a calm and docile nature, they can bite. The blueys bite only when they feel threatened by anything in their surroundings. Their bites do not tear the skin or probe through the flesh; however, their strong and long-lasting grip and heavyweight can be painful.

What eats a blue-tongued skink? Predators and Threats

The major predators of the blue-tongue skinks are snakes, foxes, cats, dogs, and birds. In the wild, most juveniles do not even survive past their first year.

Is the blue-tongued Skink endangered?

Most of the blue-tongue skinks’ species are abundant in nature. However, the pygmy blue-tongue skinks are deemed endangered.

Do blue-tongued skinks mate for life?

It’s not known yet whether the skinks ate for life or not. They are often seen to form monogamous pairs and return to them year after year. 

Can blue-tongued skinks amputate their tails?

Blue-tongue skinks, like other lizards, are seen to amputate their tail, which is called autotomy. This action is subject to their survival in the wild or the presence of predators. The tail keeps the predators distracted. 

Can I pick up a blue-tongued skink?

If your blue-tongue Skink is wild-caught, you must be careful before handling the reptile. In the case of a captive-bred species, taking a skink is relatively easy as they are tamed.

Final words

Owning a reptile pet can be challenging, but you can never go wrong with blue-tongue skinks because of their low-maintenance, friendly and docile nature. Being a part of the family, they deserve equal love and care as any other family member. You need to be sure of all the needs and requirements of the blue-tongue skinks before actually bringing them home. 

Since they are different from regular pets, it’s suggested to do some research before going out and buying them. It’ll help you be a wonderful pet owner.

I am the editor-in-chief at MyPetReptiles.com, a site that is devoted to reptiles and the people who love them. I have been keeping and breeding many pet reptiles such as bearded dragons, geckos, chameleons, etc. for over 10 years now.

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