Blue Tongue Skink (Tiliqua spp.)
Difficulty: Easy – Intermediate
Published: April 22, 2017
Last Updated: November 29, 2021
Blue tongue skinks are a genus of diurnal, terrestrial lizard found throughout Australia and parts of Indonesia. All Tiliqua species (except the Adelaide pygmy skink, T. adelaidensis, which is not addressed in this guide) can be easily recognized by their triangular heads, heavy torpedo-shaped bodies, short legs, and distinctive blue tongue.
Blue tongue skinks are omnivorous, which means that they eat both plants and animals in the wild. Affectionately referred to as “garbage disposals” by some keepers, they are enthusiastic eaters with a taste for just about anything — insects, slugs/snails, roadkill, small animals, fruits, flowers, etc. However, they still require a specific, balanced diet that meets their nutritional needs.
Depending on species, blue tongue skinks generally measure between 15″-24″ (38-61 cm). Average lifespan is 15-20 years, although they are known to be capable of living 35+ years, which is an important consideration to keep in mind when you’re thinking about getting this pet.
- Most subspecies of blue tongue skink have a blue or bluish tongue. This unique color reflects UVA light, which blue tongue skinks can see, but humans can’t!
- The blue tongue skink’s tongue is widely speculated to be a defense mechanism used to ward off predators. But more recent research suggests that it may be primarily used as a form of communication.
- Due to extremely strict regulations prohibiting the export of native Australian wildlife, most blue tongue skinks available in the United States are either wild-caught Indonesian or captive-bred Northern Australian (imported before the ban).