ISSN 2398-2985  

Blue-tongued skink


Synonym(s): Tiliqua nigrolutea


Scientific Classification

  • Kingdom: Animalia. 
  • Phylum: Chordata. 
  • Class: Reptilia. 
  • Order: Squamata. 
  • Family: Scincidae. 
  • Subfamily: Lygosominae. 
  • Genus: Tiliqua
  • Speciesadelaidensis, scincoides, nigrolutea, multifasciata, gigas, rugosa, occipitalis

Distribution and habitat

  • Native to mainland Australia, forested or open woodland areas. 
  • Sometimes found in Indonesia, Papua and New Guinea, dependent on the species. 
  • They rely on warm surroundings, as they are cold-blooded. They spend time basking in sunlight to maintain temperature. 

Species status

  • Adelaide pygmy blue-tongued skink are on the IUCN list as endangered.

Life span

  • In captivity, between 20-25 years.


  • Omnivorous. 
  • In the wild, they generally feed on insect, fruits and flowers Lizard nutrition
  • In captivity, plants, vegetation and fruits as in the wild, with the addition of protein in the form of gut loaded insects such as crickets, mealworms, earthworms, pinkie mice and slugs/snails.


  • There are various species of the Blue-tongued skink: 
    • Adelaide pygmy blue-tongued skink (Tiliqua adelaidensis). 
    • Blotched blue-tongued skink (Tiliqua nigrolutea). 
    • Central blue-tongued skink (Tiliqua multifasciata). 
    • Eastern blue-tongued skink (Tiliqua scincoides). 
    • New Guinea blue-tongued skink (Tiliqua gigas). 
    • Northern blue-tongued skin (Tiliqua scincoides intermedia).
    • Shingleback blue-tongued skink (Tiliqua rugosa). 
    • Tanimbar blue-tongued skink (Tiliqua scincoides chimaera).
    • Western blue-tongued skink (Tiliqua occipitalis). 


  • Males compete for the same mate, which is an aggressive process. 
  • Mating occurs during the winter months Lizard reproduction
  • Gestation period can vary from 3-6 months. 
  • Litter sizes range on the species: 
    • Pygmy/Shingleback blue-tongued skink: 1-4. 
    • Eastern/Northern blue-tongued skink: 5-24. 
    • Central blue-tongued skink: 10 on average.

As pets

  • Can be sold as house pets as they can be docile if handled properly. However, research and experience is key in keeping reptiles.
Should be housed singly.

Predatory behavior

  • The pygmy-blue tongued skink is an ambush predator. 
  • Prey can be caught in a single movement. 
  • They may sit and wait open mouthed until the prey comes close enough.

Biological Data

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Further Reading


Refereed papers

Other sources of information

  • Reptiles Magazine (2018) Blue-Tongue Skink Care Sheet. Website: Last accessed 12th February 2018. 
  • About Animals (2017) Blue-Tongued Skink. Website: Last accessed 12th February 2018. 
  • Australian Museum (2017) Eastern Blue Tongue Lizard. Website: Last accessed 12th February 2018. 
  • Tait N et al (2015) The Encyclopedia of Reptiles Amphibians & Invertebrates. Red Lemon Press, UK.
  • Pollock C (2012) Northern Blue-Tongued Skink (Tiliqua spp.). Website: Last accessed 11th June 2018.
  • Hall D (2011) The Ultimate Guide to Snakes & Reptiles. Hermes House, UK. pp 236-242.
  • Kottwitz J & Coke R (2007) Unusual Pet Care Volume 2. 2nd edn. Zoological Education Network Limited, USA. pp 46-49.
  • Vitt L & Caldwell J (2009) Classification and Diversity. In: Herpetology An Introductory Biology of Amphibians and Reptiles. 3rd edn. Elsevier, UK. pp 538-541.
  • Pregnancy of Female Blue Tongue Skink. Website: Last accessed 11th June 2018.
  • Skink Breeding Process. Website: Last accessed 11th June 2018.
  • Wildscreen Arkive. Adelaide Pygmy Bluetongue Skink Fact File. Website: Last accessed 11th June 2018.

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