Although often referred to as a blue-tongued lizard, this little reptile is actually a skink. There are six varieties in Australia.
Tiliqua nigrolutea, pictured below, is the species of blue-tongue found in the higher areas of the South-Western Australia.
Blue tongue skinks make great pets, and are bred in captivity for this purpose. Some species are classed as endangered, and a licence is needed to keep them. If you are going to get a blue tongue, check with your Wildlife Agency to see if you need a permit to have one.
The tongue of these reptiles is bright blue and quite large, and is used to scent the air, and also to eat some types of food, such as eggs.
Video of a blue tongue skink eating an egg.
Blue tongues may only breed every second year, and some species may give birth to up to 25 young.
These little skinks don’t lay eggs; the young are born alive. For the first few days, they live off the placenta, then they are on their own to hunt food.
If you are lucky enough to have blue tongues in your garden, they will take care of many garden pests for you, as they eat insects, caterpillars and other nuisances.
These animals may occasionally bite, but they are not venomous so there is no danger from them. Just ensure that the bite is cleaned with disinfectant. The bite area may bleed or become bruised, but that is all.