Blotched Blue-tongued Lizard - Tiliqua nigrolutea.
Image: Peter Robertson
Source: Wildlife Profiles Pty. Ltd.
Question: We found a Blue-tongue Lizard in our backyard! Can we keep it as a pet? What do we need to feed it?
Answer: Blue-tongue Lizards are fascinating creatures! Unfortunately though, you should not keep your visitor as a pet, and this applies to all wildlife species. The Department of Environment and Primary Industries (DEPI) states that it is not permissible to take wildlife from the wild, or keep a wild-caught specimen as a pet without the correct licence. Ideally, you should release the lizard where you found it, as translocation of individual animals can disrupt local gene pools, and contribute to the spread of disease.
If you find an injured wild animal, or have caught an animal that cannot be released where it was found, you should contact a registered wildlife carer or rescue group (see the External Resources listed in the menu to the right of this text).
If you wish to keep a native species as a pet, refer to DEPI’s lists of native species that may be kept by private collectors both with and without a private wildlife licence. These lists and other relevant information can be found at the DEPI Private Wildlife Licences page.
You would need to source a captive-bred animal from a breeder, who would be able to advise you as to the housing requirements of your pet. There are other benefits to obtaining a pet from a breeder; a captive-bred animal will be more likely to be free of disease and parasites, whereas a wild-caught animal is far more prone to suffer high levels of stress at being taken into a captive environment.
The best solution of all is to make your surroundings welcoming to the rich variety of wildlife in Victoria. Suggestions on creating gardens that are friendly to native birds, butterflies, frogs and reptiles can be found in many books and websites, but some common principles include the planting of native plant species, and restricting the activities of introduced predators such as cats and dogs.