Eastern Blue-tongue Lizard Tiliqua scincoides

Lizards of Victoria series


The Eastern Blue-tongue, Tiliqua scincoides, is greyish brown, with between 7 and 10 darker bars across the body. It is a large skink, growing to a snout vent length of 290 mm.

Photo of Eastern Blue-tongue, Tiliqua scincoides

Common Blue-Tongue Lizard
Photographer: Peter Robertson / Source: Wildlife Profiles Pty. Ltd.

Distribution and habitat

Although more common on the basalt plains to the west of Melbourne, Common Blue-tongue Lizards are also found on the Mornington Peninsula. They are usually found basking or sheltering under cover such as fallen logs, or discarded rubbish such as timber or iron.


Their diet consists of both plant and animal material, such as snails. Females give birth to as many as 25 live young in a litter.

Further Reading

Cogger, H. 2000. Reptiles and Amphibians of Australia. Reed Books.

Wilson, S. & Swan, G. 2003. Reptiles of Australia. Princeton University Press.

Comments (101)

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Matt Pickett 17 January, 2010 11:19
I'd be interested to know if anything is known about the evolutionary history of bluetongues and how more than 1 species have ended up living together in the same localities; e.g. Eastern Bluetongue and Blotched Bluetongue observed living on same patch of ground at Cape Schanck.
britt gardner 8 November, 2010 13:41
i recently caught a blue tongued lizard how can i tell if its a male or female? its name is bob.
Tara Newman 9 June, 2013 19:20
If the head is long it is a girl if the head is wide it is a boy (usually) another way to tell is by the tail Girls have chubby bottom storing excess fat for when they become pregnant and boys have skinny tails (usually) sometimes they are mixed though ;)
Kiralee fagan 9 December, 2014 19:56
Actually I have got about 25 blue tongues and if it's a girl the head is short and chubby and if it's a boy it's long and skinny 😉
Josh 2 January, 2015 13:03
Look at his belly and if it is pink it is female. If it's belly isn't pink it is male and male has bigger head than a female
Shakaya Teneti 9 February, 2015 12:05
How can you tell a male from a female by their heads, especially if this is the first time you've taken interest in them? Because I have a baby blue tongue and he/she has a long head and a wide head. I have nothing to compare him/her to distinguish this matter.
Discovery Centre 10 November, 2010 13:42

Hi Britt, blue tongues are very difficult to sex – males tend to have a slightly broader head but this is not reliable – there is no easy way to sex them.

Please be aware that you need a permit from Department of Sustainability and Environment to catch a blue tongue, as they are native animals. For details on permits see their website at www.dse.vic.gov.au.

lyn wuttke 24 November, 2010 20:03
Is their tongue blue because of their chemical make-up just as human's tongues are red because of the iron in the body? My students have asked this question and would love an answer.
Anne Hadden 26 December, 2010 16:29
I have found one of these at Castlemaine, Vic. in my large courtyard that is surrounded by 15 ft high stone walls I have often seen a leggless lizard and a frog. The lizard wont eat the frog will it? I love them all'
Discovery Centre 30 December, 2010 12:27

Hi Anne, Blue tongues are omnivores and will eat a wide range of food – from fruit, veggies and any animals that they can get their mouths around. In a normal situation I would imagine that a frog can jump away far more quickly than a blue tongue lizard can hunt so they should be safe living in your courtyard.

suzie 10 April, 2011 11:35
can a female blue tongue lizard have babies without a male
Hayden 28 November, 2011 21:23
My eastern blue tounge is now 520mm long and only 5 months old why is it bigger than it says on this page and it has a small head female or male. If i get a boy is it smaller and fatter than a girl and is it allowed to breed and sell.
mellisa 7 December, 2011 21:14
I was told that the dark stripe blue tongue were females & the light stripe were males.
Sue 2 January, 2012 15:52
There has been a large lizard living around our house for about a year. I think its probably a blue tongue, though its markings aren't quite like those shown for either the Eastern or Splotchy, and it is bigger than both too. I live near the Cathedral Range in NE victoria.
Justin Murdoch 29 January, 2012 20:37
I have a domesticated Eastern Blue Tongue lizard that I now cannot look after, unfortunately. Where is the best place I can take her/him? Would be keen to sell her/him, but would prefer that it definitely goes to a good home.
Discovery Centre 2 February, 2012 16:30

Hi Justin,
We forwarded your question to Museum Victoria’s Live Exhibits team who provided us with the following information:
There are many internet sites solely dedicated to the sale of reptiles. A quick web search should provide you with plenty to choose from. Most reptile forums also have a for sale section that may be useful. Other places to try are some of the local pet shops that deal in reptiles.
As it is domesticated it should not be released back into the wild.

Mirella 11 February, 2012 15:42
I have found a couple of these in my back yard. I live very close to Melbourne airport
Nora 12 February, 2012 11:45
Hi, I recently discovered an Eastern Blue Tongue lizard is living in our tool shed, but I am not sure how long it has been there; I have been feeding it snails from my garden. I live in Qld. It refuses to leave the shed, even when I leave the door to the shed open all day; any sugestions re. how to encourage it to vacate the shed for the garden instead? As I can't always leave the shed door open.
Discovery Centre 12 February, 2012 14:45

Hello Nora,

If the Blue Tongue has been living in the shed for some time, it's fairly certain it is able to get in and out as it pleases, probably through a crack in the base of the shed. Blue Tongue lizards can squeeze through surprisingly small holes. In that case the Blue Tongue won't leave through the open door when it has a more protected means of getting in and out. A shed can be an excellent shelter for Blue Tongues and it is unlikely to leave of its own accord.

If there really is no other means of entry for the lizard, the only way to remove it is to pick it up and place it in the garden. They defend themselves by hissing and other aggressive gestures, but they are harmless if you keep away from the mouth (and even then they are fairly harmless).

If there is another means of entry, the only way to keep it out is to find the entrance and block it, then physically remove the lizard.

But it sounds like an excellent example of peaceful coexistence in a backyard.


Mick 15 May, 2012 11:11
Hi. My daughter has a blue tongue and we have recently built an outdoor compound to house it. It has rocks and shelters and grassy ground cover. I gather from some of the other posts that it should be okay for the lizard to exist outdoor... but it is getting cold at night... Will it survive a Victorian (Geelong) winter? It's been hibernating for the last few weeks. Do we still feed it and how often? Cheers. Mick
Discovery Centre 16 May, 2012 15:34

Hi Mick- we've posed this to our Live Exhibits team, who have the following reply for you:

Because blue tongue lizards occur naturally in Victoria, they are more than capable of coping with the seasons. During winter when it hibernates (or brumates, as it is sometimes referred to in reptiles), its activity and metabolism is greatly reduced, and it’s designed not to move around or feed during this period. If the lizard does eat, the body can’t digest the food and it may sit in the lizard’s stomach until the weather becomes warm enough to digest it, probably not until Spring, which can cause all sorts of problems. So the best option is to leave the blue tongue alone until it appears of its own volition later in the year

Hope this helps

Sue 5 August, 2012 16:53
Hi, It seems that our blotched Blue Tongue lizard is trying to mate this our Eastern Blue tongue. (May have succeeded) They are both about 18 months old, and have been together since babies. Is this possible that they can mate and have healthy babies?
Discovery Centre 9 August, 2012 10:24

Hi Sue; we checked with our Live Exhibits manager on this, and his response is as follows:

It is possible for Blotched and Eastern Blue Tongue Lizards to mate and produce offspring, but this is an extremely rare occurrence and we don’t know of any cases where the offspring have survived to adulthood. It’s possible for a number of members of the Blue Tongue genus (Tiliqua) to hybridise, including Stumpy Tails, but it’s very rare. It would also be unusual if your lizards have mated at this time of year, even if they are being kept warm inside. So mating in this case is possible but high unlikely.

Hope this helps

Seth 4 October, 2012 06:49
Hi, I have an eastern blue tongue lizard and it has a lump on its back. It got this lump from lack of calcium in his early stages this happened when the previous owners owned it. Is there any way to get it back into original shape.
Discovery Centre 14 October, 2012 15:51
Hi Seth, unfortunately a lump on a lizard's back is there for life. As the ossification is composed of bone or bone-like material, no amount of massage or any other treatment will remove or reduce it. The good news is that a lump like this doesn't seem to bother the lizards too much.


Harrison 16 October, 2012 16:40
Hi I have 2 a blue tongues that have been with each other for 7 years but sadly one died not long ago and the other will not come out from under his log and is very scared of me what should i do? thanks
Discovery Centre 17 October, 2012 13:36

Hi Harrison, we forwarded your query to the Manager of our Live Exhibits team, and he's responded as follows:

As long as you consider the Blue Tongue to be healthy, it might just need some time to adjust to the new arrangements. With regular attention to the lizard and careful handling, it should get used to your presence once again. If you’re concerned about the lizard’s health, then a trip to the vet might help the situation.

Hope this helps

Alyena 2 November, 2012 16:06
Hi, We recently moved to Glenroy in Victoria and I had a heart attack when I saw my 2 1/2 year old pointing at a 'snake' under the apple tree one day last week (when it went over 30C). We have two (mainly indoor) cats, but am worried about our son. He is a good listener, but not sure what to do about the 'snake' which I am now sure is a blue tongue (just found the picture on the web). Am worried about my son. Should I be asking Council to remove the lizards? I am convinced they live in the woodpile in the garden (if there are more...) Thank you!
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Lyn 23 November, 2012 13:32
I have just found a blue tongue living under the side of our swimming pool and a couple of weeks ago, found a dead one floating in our swimming pool - until then, we had no idea we had blue-tongues living on our property. I feel very sad to read that they mate for life and would be happy to have the living one stay with us but, unfortunately, we are having the whole pool area concreted in a few weeks so I am not sure what would be the best thing to do for the blue-tongue? I have heard they should be taken right out of the area or they will return but there will be nothing for the poor thing to return to. Any ideas from anyone?
Discovery Centre 24 November, 2012 10:54

Hi Lyn, Blue Tongue lizards don't mate for life - they will mate with any available partner, which generally changes from year to year. Lizards such as Shinglebacks will mate with the same partner each year, but will seek out others if their partner dies.

You can either move the Blue Tongue to another suitable location now (100m away should be enough), or when you're ready to have the pool area redone, move the Blue Tongue to another part of the garden and it should seek out somewhere else to shelter. Blue Tongue lizards are not generally tied to any particular location and will move if it becomes uninhabitable.

nicole 31 July, 2014 16:55
I was watching a documentary on Australian reptiles and it showed that a male Blue Tongue/Shingleback will only mate with one female, and will never mate again. I thought that was the same as "mating for life". Also, they showed a female that had been run over by a car and the male - who was still alive - did not leave her.
Sean 1 December, 2012 22:53
I was wondering is it ok to keep a male and female Eastern blue tongue lizard together. Im sure i have a boy cause there were these sperm plugs in its poo
maddie 3 December, 2012 23:17
i have a pet blue tongue lizard (from sydney) and i just caught a big grasshopper , but it is about the size of my pinky and the blue tongue lizard is pretty small can they eat just killed grass hoppers? and its a big jumper so i dont want to put it in the tank and it jump out. help please !!!!!
star 3 February, 2013 17:33
usually if the grasshopper is the size of its head or smaller they can eat it if you mix the grasshopper with other foods it will eat it if it is dead
stella 2 February, 2013 17:30
im getting 2 baby blue tongues soon and im picking the ones i want out of 8 is there any way to tell a female and a male? they are young and about 3 weeks old
Discovery Centre 7 February, 2013 10:54

Hi again Stella - we ran this past our Live Exhibits team also, here's their reply:

Blue Tongue Lizards cannot be sexed with any accuracy until they are at least one year old, often older. Even then sexing can be difficult and/or unreliable, but it is definitely not possible to sex a three week old lizard.

stella 3 February, 2013 18:27
iv got a few questions on blue tongues can they eat rice? and also can they eat dog food? if you got a big cage to put them in could they live with bearded dragons and shingle backs? will two adult brothers fight and can they hurt each other? please could you answer some of my questions as soon as possible
Discovery Centre 7 February, 2013 10:34

Hi Stella - we ran these questions past our live exhibits crew, who have responded as follows:

Blue Tongues in captivity will happily eat dry and wet dog food but they should not be fed cat food. There is also no good reason to feed them rice. If the enclosure is of a suitable size, Blue Tongues will live in harmony with Bearded Dragons and Shinglebacks, but male Blue Tongues should not be housed together as they will usually injure and even kill each other in a short time.

Please also be aware that reptiles in captivity should be sourced from a breeder, who should be able to provide husbandry advice, and that many species require a permit to be kept in captivity.

Chloe 17 February, 2013 15:38
Hi there, I'm Chloe and i was just wondering if you could keep common garden skinks with a blue tongue lizard. I keep 1 blue tongue in a 1m x 1m tank and i have 4 garden skinks that i'd like to put in there but I wasn't sure if they'd get eaten or not, Thanks Chloe
Discovery Centre 19 February, 2013 16:40

Hi Chloe - we checked with our Live Exhibits experts about this, and they have responded as follows:

Garden Skinks and Blue Tongue Lizards do not do well together. Whilst a Blue Tongue will live in peace with larger lizards such as dragons, it will continually chase the skinks around and, if it does not kill them, will stress them and probably make them drop their tails.

Hayley 23 March, 2013 21:57
2 days ago, my blue tongue gave birth to only one baby.Will there be more babies or just that one?
Discovery Centre 27 March, 2013 15:24
Hi Hayley,

Blue Tongues regularly produce 20 or more offspring per birthing episode, so it's understandable that you're wondering about the appearance of a single offspring. This can sometimes happen due to several reasons - the most common seem to be low sperm production from the male, or a female at the start of her reproductive life, or one at the end of her reproductive life.

It's possible that more offspring may appear, and if they do so it will happen over the next week or so. But the most likely scenario is that no more will be born.

cam 14 July, 2013 21:54
I would like to know what lighting you would recommend for a blue tounge ie uv a uv b regular heat light ours is kept in a 1mx.5m tank and does not get much natural light also its already 340mm long and 12 months old thanks cam
Dan2248 27 July, 2013 11:27
I've recently just gotten a baby eastern blue tongue skink its about 18 centimetres long and just wondering if any one could tell me regular basis of them sheading thanks Dan2248
scott 8 October, 2013 16:15
Hi, I have recently found two big blues about 30cm living together in one hole and only about 1mtr away a much smaller 10cm one all living together is it very normal? Thanks Scott
Discovery Centre 20 October, 2013 11:35

Hi Scott - Blue-tongue Lizards live alone for most of the year, but between September and November males pursue females persistently and may be found together in a single burrow. This is only a temporary arrangement and we suspect that's what the adults you mentioned are doing. The smaller lizard may be unrelated or may be the offspring from a previous breeding season - Blue-tongue Lizards may live 20 years and breed every two to three years.

nicole johnson 31 October, 2013 15:24
I have two blue tongues that are my nephews, he works awayl and I have them in my care. I love them and so do my kids they are such fun. I have notice one of them has a bite mark and blood...could this mean they are fighting? I cannot tell male or female?? They have had babies before but not in my care. Could you tell me if they are fighting due to mating? The bluey with the bigger head has the mark.
Discovery Centre 2 November, 2013 13:05
Hi Nicole, we have asked the Live Exhibits Team about this, and it may be a love bite!  At this time of year Bluetongue Lizards are fighting and mating, and bites are one of the consequences. Bites are part of the courting process, but if the bite is particularly severe or deep the lizard may need to be taken to the vet. Keep in mind that in captivity, enclosure-mates may be unable to escape an aggressive or overly amorous partner, and are unable to choose between partners.

Male and female Bluetongues are very difficult to distinguish and even using a range of different features, sexing is never certain. Males, for example, have proportionately bigger heads, but females are generally bigger so may have a large head anyway. The only certain way is to see who gives birth!

Lisa 12 November, 2013 14:37
Hi. I have had my common blue tongue Lizard for 22 years and he was 1 or 2 years old when we got him. I was wondering how long they live for since we had been told it was rare for one to live that long. Thanks.
Discovery Centre 16 November, 2013 11:44
Hi Lisa, common blue tongue lizards are considered to have long lives. According to the Australia Zoo many cases of captive common blue tongue lizards have been known to live up to 20 years. WIRES Northern Rivers note that blue tongues are very adaptive and when living in back gardens can live up to 30 years.


Discovery Centre 14 January, 2014 13:05

From our research, it sounds like you do have quite an elderly lizard!  It is probably less likely in nature for one to live so long but it is thought they may live to thirty years, given ideal conditions and maybe a lot of luck! There are a number of references which suggest 20 years or more possible life span as with yours. 

Ernie 29 November, 2013 13:23
I have an outdoor enclosure with blue tongues and shingle-backs, I want to plant some plants that they will eat and all i keep hearing is they eat a variety of plants, can you name some for me, i am in vic and am licensed, i have planted strawberries so far, but looking for more natural sort of things, hope you can help.
Discovery Centre 10 December, 2013 10:33

Hey Ernie,

Although it's been acknowledged for a long time that Blue-tongue Lizards eat plant material, there are very few records about which species they will eat. Almost all captive animals are fed vegetable matter in the form of fruits and vegetables, and observations of the dietary habits of wild specimens are few and far between. What little information there is comes largely from analysis of scats and gut contents, and the only references to specific plant species we can find are that they consume flowers during spring and eat increasing amounts of leaf material during summer. These include the seeds of Dianella and the leaves and flowers of the introduced Medicago.

Given the paucity of available information, it may pay to trial a few plant species yourself from the lizards' natural range.

ernie 12 December, 2013 21:06
Michelle 1 December, 2013 23:13
Our resident Blue Tongue was attacked by a maltese and has a gash across the top of the neck. I've brought him inside to stop flies getting to the wound, have him in cage so I can give him water, food, sunlight through gauze door. Will such a gash heal? to put him back in garden?
Discovery Centre 4 December, 2013 09:37

Hi Michelle,

Blue-tongue Lizards attacked by pets don’t have a particularly good survival rate unless treated by a vet and given antibiotics and other medication. As it’s a wild animal, it is your decision whether or not to take the lizard to the vet. There are a number of specialist reptile vets around Melbourne, and also a number of vets who treat wild native animals for a minimal fee.

Hayley 10 January, 2014 14:20
How can you tell if a common blue tongue is in labour??
Discovery Centre 15 January, 2014 10:32
Hi Hayley, we checked with the Live Exhibits Team and it seems it can be difficult to tell if a female Blue-tongue Lizard is gravid (pregnant), let alone in labour. Quite often a female will become much larger in size and show all signs of being pregnant without producing any offspring. Females that are genuinely pregnant often give birth also without showing any signs of labour, but many lizard keepers report increased basking rates and 'heavy breathing' by females a few days before giving birth
Seth 16 January, 2014 09:45
I have recently received a 1 year old eastern blue tongue and I put him in my trampoline to sun it's self but I also put my 11 year old eastern blue tongue in there as well and it's a pretty big space but my 11 year old blue tongue started moving its tail back and forth continuously like a dog is this a sign of dominance?
Dave 18 February, 2014 11:24
Hi I have found a very young Eastern Blue, It is only 12cm long, can I keep this? It was found in a factory that backs onto a creek. I am considering keeping the BT as I already have a Terrarium and can easliy adapt it for the BT. It will get plenty of attention with my three kids
Discovery Centre 19 February, 2014 12:45
Hi Dave, Blue Tongues can be kept without a licence but it is illegal to collect them from the wild - even from your own backyard. They can be purchased from a pet shop or licenced breeder. If you find a lizard in the wild that appears to have been someone's pet, you can hand it in to the various reptile rescue centres around Melbourne.
Ashley 26 February, 2014 10:27
Hi :) If a blue tongue is found in the wild and does appear to be a pet, with no reptile shelters in the area; are you allowed to keep it?
Discovery Centre 1 March, 2014 16:17
Hi Ashley. It is difficult to determine whether a reptile is a pet or not - it may be a wild animal but fairly placid and habituated to humans. If the lizard is injured or in distress, you should ring your local council for details of the nearest wildlife carer.  Be aware that the keeping of wildlife as pets is subject to strict licensing requirements and legislation - please contact your State or Territory government for further information.
corey 5 March, 2014 18:57
hi i have a cunningham skink and a baby blue tounge... can they be housed together?
anne-maree 21 April, 2014 17:24
Hi, I have a baby eastern blue tongue. He is about 25cm. He is in an outdoor enclosure that is in the sun for most of the day and we live in north east NSW. Im worried because he stays hidden even when its cold he doesn't come out to sun himself. He doesn't eat any food we give him. The ants get to it first. I have tried bringing him inside to feed him but he isn't interested. Could he be hunting? I have never seen him out. He is always in his bed. We have had him for about 6 weeks and all his eaten is 2 grapes! When we get him out he is active and seems very healthy. Could it just be that he is very sneaky and catching his own food?
Discovery Centre 28 April, 2014 11:20
Hi Anne-Maree, Blue-tongue Lizards are generally hardy and adaptable pets that don't have problems with their food, as long as the diet is right - a combination of fruits, vegetables, snails and insects. They will instinctively hunt for their own food if housed in an outdoor enclosure, but should also take any additional food offered to them. At this time of year the lizard's activity begins to wind down for the winter, so it's not unusual that the lizard is off its food. Regular weighing during the warmer months will give an indication of the lizard's health and food intake. Be careful not to feed the lizard too soon before it brumates (hibernates) for winter - any leftover food in its stomach can't be digested and will sit there rotting until Spring, causing any number of health issues.
Vicki Melson 22 August, 2014 13:16
Hi, I have had a blue tongue lizard since his birth 20 years ago. He has lived outdoors in a large enclosure with good shelter and plenty of spots to hide in. He has always been very approachable and happy to be handled but last year became extremely aggressive and I am now loathe to pick him up. He lies out in the rain and hasn't really hibernated this year at all and rarely eats. He has also become paler. This makes me very sad. I am aware that he is very old and was wondering if this could be senility? Any tips on how to make his final years more comfortable? I would hate to think he is suffering.
Discovery Centre 25 August, 2014 10:35
Hi Vicki,  the symptoms you've described suggest those of a Blue-tongue Lizard that is approaching the end of his life. Lack of eating and hibernation are serious changes to a lizard's life and health. Blue-tongues also seem to become more 'bad-tempered' at that age, particularly to other lizards but also sometimes to humans. And as a general rule they don't live much past 20 years.

It's health may improve if you keep it indoors, particularly during cold weather - other than that, it will continue to inevitably decline.

Angie 9 September, 2014 14:01
Our blue tongie lizard, bought seven years ago from a licensed lizard place, died today. He was fine yesterday. What are common illnesses or causes of death? Thanks Angie
discoverycentre@museum.vic.gov.au 13 September, 2014 16:32

Hi Angie,

Blue-tongue Lizards will often live more than 20 years. You mention that you've had the lizard for seven years but don't indicate how old it actually is. It's not always possible to determine an old lizard by its appearance, so it can be difficult to estimate age without knowing exactly when it was born. Blue-tongues are most vulnerable during or immediately after hibernation - if you've hibernated the lizard over winter it may have picked up an infection and now succumbed. This is the most common cause of death in the wild. Otherwise the issue may simply be old age.

Rachel 19 September, 2014 21:05
We have a blue tongue lizard that lives under our house. I can hear movement in the walls and the roof and it doesn't sound like a possum. Could the lizard climb up to the wall cavity and into the roof?
Discovery Centre 22 September, 2014 14:20
Hi Rachel - our Live Exhibits manager says that Blue-tongue Lizards do best on a flat surface and cannot climb over even the smallest of obstacles. So they definitely won't be moving around your walls or roof space - the most likely culprits there are rats or possums.
Le 4 October, 2014 16:59
Hi. We have chickens and think a blue tongue or a snake may be steeling some eggs, the nesting boxes are about 60cm off the ground with only corri ion to clime. Would a blue tongue be able to jump that high.
Al 12 October, 2014 04:04
Le, I had the same problem every couple of days 9 eggs were missing.this happened for about a month.One morning I was in my driveway between the house & fence when a crow flew over with 1 whole egg in his mouth.cheeky bugger was taking one by one back to his nest.i put a scarecrow up which fixed it overnight.not saying this is same in your case.goodluck with catching your thieve.
Discovery Centre 13 October, 2014 14:02

Hi Le,

There are a number of potential culprits that would steal eggs. Foxes are the most likely, but they would also be stealing your chickens if they had the opportunity. Brushtail Possums and rats will take the eggs but not the chickens. Blue-tongue Lizards would not be able to climb a barrier of 60cm, but most snakes would have little problem with this. If you can sweep the area with a broom at the end of the day, any tracks around the nesting boxes the following day may give you a clue.

Premgita 5 October, 2014 23:33
I have found a young, less than 10cm blue tongue lizard in my garden infested with mites. I took him in to treat him. Now he is well again and I wanted to release him. We built a little stone mound so that he would have shelter from cats. An hour after building it we went out and found a massive huge blue tongue. Is it safe to release the young one at this location or will he be attacked? Are they territorial? I found the little one in the front near the road where developers have just cleared natural grassland, so I think he is safer in my backyard with half an acre of native bushland with pond, compost heaps with lots of bugs and all. Should I choose another location in the garden and build another rock mind?
Sarah Keillor 22 October, 2014 17:02
I have had my blue tongue for five years, and I recently got another one which is about 2-3 years old. How do I introduce them? I have put them both on my bed once or twice and they seemed to be ok but I don't want them to fight or anything. Can you help me please ??
Discovery Centre 27 October, 2014 13:54

Hi Sarah - our Live Exhibits Manager says that how well the Blue-tongue Lizards get on will depend on the sexes. If you have a male and a female or two females, they should be fine. If you have two males, they will most likely fight each other. Sexing is possible but can be difficult - there is plenty of information on this page. It is currently the mating season and courtship can be a very rough affair for female Blue-tongues (leaving bite marks, scratch marks etc), but this is normal behaviour and is not as damaging as fighting between two males.

Anna 18 November, 2014 15:50
Hello, My Blue Tongue lizards have recently developed light white spots which look like dust on their bodies and heads, should I be worried about this?! Can I fix this with diet or lighting or is this a disease/virus which they will need to see the vet about? They seem to be fine but I want to make sure! Thank-you, Anna
Discovery Centre 26 November, 2014 14:06
Hi Anna, the white spots are most likely mites, or at least mite sloughs. If this is the case the lizards should be treated as soon as possible with an appropriate miticide from a vet. The powder you described could also be calcium powder from feed crickets, but this is much less likely.
tm 4 December, 2014 21:07
Gday, In regards to the previous post, Just wondering what you mean when you say mite sloughs? Can reptiles appear to have mites in the late stages of a slough? thnx
Discovery Centre 7 December, 2014 10:41


The sloughs are from the mites rather than from the reptile. Mites are small, spider-like creatures that shed their skins (slough) as they grow, as do all arthropods. There are a couple of species of mites that infest reptiles in captivity, and they should be removed as soon as possible or they can quickly cause problems. The white mite sloughs are the most visible sign of a mite infestation.

Stephen 24 December, 2014 13:27
Hi. Our resident back yard blue tongue drank from our swimming pool this morning, then slipped into it. It appeared to happily crawl along the bottom of the pool under water before I scooped it out, fearing it might drown. Is swimming a natural behaviour of blue tongues?
Discovery Centre 24 December, 2014 13:42
Hi Stephen - well rescued! I'm not sure how happy it would have been if left to its own devices, as whilst many reptiles are strong swimmers, blue tongues have been known to drown in backyard pools and ponds. 
Glen 28 December, 2014 22:48
Hi there We live adjacent to the bush in Sydney on a steep sandstone escapement. A large blue tongue has taken residence under a large sandstone rock that juts out providing lots of shelter. I suspect he has been dislodged from his previous home due to a new home being built two blocks away. My concern is that it's only matter of time before my Labrador discover his presence. Am I better to attempt a relocation or can blue tongues co-exist with dogs. ? If they cannot coexist - what sort of distance is necessary to prevent my new friend returning ?
Discovery Centre 18 January, 2015 13:29
Hi Glen, as a general rule Blue-tongue Lizards (Tiliqua species) and domestic pets don't get on. Even a non-fatal bite from a cat or dog may lead to infection that eventually kills the lizard. If the lizard is unlikely to survive in its present location, you could move it to a more suitable one. The sooner this is done the better, before the lizard has properly established a territory. It may return, but without an established home it may move to another, more suitable area.
jessica 8 January, 2015 20:13
Just wondering why my blue tongue is biting its tail even though there is food in her dish she still seems to nor on her tail? And how do you tell if a blue tongue is pregnant?
Alison 10 January, 2015 19:03
Hi, I live in N.Z and have a pet blue tongue. It is about 12 months old and has been very quiet lately. It is eating well, but seems to sleep in its cave most of the day. This is unusual for it as it's usually very active. Any suggestions as why this is happening. Thanks
Discovery Centre 18 January, 2015 12:51
Hi Alison, Blue-tongue Lizards (Tiliqua species) slow down to hibernate during winter but an active lizard shouldn't slow down at any other time unless there is something wrong with it. If this is the case you should take the lizard to a vet that specialises in reptiles. They also slow down in old age, but as they often live to 20 years or more in captivity this would not be the case here.
Eleonor 18 January, 2015 14:24
Hi, I too live in New Zealand and have pet Eastern BTS, can they eat slaters and do garden slaters carry any parasites that may be harmful to BTS? Could you also recommend a website that would give me some guidelines to a size chart for Eastern BTS. Lastly, how much Calcium and VitD powder would you recommend I give to a 7 week old BTS? Thanking you
Discovery Centre 18 January, 2015 15:11
Hi Eleonor, Blue-tongue Lizards do eat slaters, which are definitely good for them as part of a varied diet. Slaters have the additional benefit that they clean up fungus spores and other detritus from the enclosure. Size charts are not really available for Blue-tongues because their size and age are often independent - size is based more on the amount of food consumed over a given period rather than how old the animal is. Calcium and vitamin D can be dusted on food items before offering to the lizard, and in combination with plenty of sunlight should be sufficient for the lizard.
Annie 27 January, 2015 18:03
Hi, there are many blue-tongue lizards that live around my house. A few weeks ago there was a blue-tongue looking very sick and unable to move much. We have found another with similar symptoms today. He had a bit to drink when we offered it to him but then some water came out his nose and he didn't want to drink again. We tried putting it in the sun as it was only 21 degrees today. Could his sickness have something to do with the cold? He looks like he might die soon. What can we do with lizards with similar symptoms in the future?
Discovery Centre 9 February, 2015 13:42

Hi Annie, we checked with our Live Exhibits team, and they've responded as follows:

The health of wild Blue-tongue Lizards (Tiliqua species) varies over time, depending in part on environmental conditions and food availability. They also get slower and begin ailing as they get old. You could take it to a vet that specialises in reptiles, but even if the vet can help the lizard it will still need to be released afterwards. The best option may be to leave them to their natural fates.

Ash 12 February, 2015 15:57
I have recently caught a blue togoue lizard and put it in my garden. But I was wandering if I could feed it cocktail frankfurts?
Discovery Centre 13 February, 2015 12:07
Hi Ash - state legislation actually doesn't permit the taking or relocation of reptiles from the wild. The best and kindest thing to do would be to put the lizard back in a safe place as close as possible to the spot you found it. And no, cocktail frankfurts are not ideal food for a blue-tongue.
Sandra Corbett 19 February, 2015 21:32
I have a captive bred blue tongue lizard who has been kept in a heated lizard cage. He recently escaped into our backyard and I am wondering if you have any ideas as to how we can recover him.
Discovery Centre 21 February, 2015 14:51
Hi Sandra, the only option you have is to search for the lizard in places it's most likely to hide. They will shelter amongst rocks, in long grass, under logs or under compost bins. Any location in your garden that resembles these types of habitats might harbour the lizard. Alternatively it may have left the garden and may not return. If the lizard is still around it may emerge on warm days to bask in the sun, so keep an eye out for that. You could also leave out garden snails during the day (free of snail bait) to see if this will lure it out. Best of luck.
olive 22 February, 2015 10:41
Friend photographed bearded dragon eating young blue tongue,is this unusual ?
David 10 March, 2015 22:55
I live on the water at paradise point on the gold coast in a suburban area I have re homed near a dozen blue tongues this summer 2 this week it was the same last year but not quite as many, I have moved them to a bushy area over 1km away would they be coming back? It is becoming a weekly occurrence and the one tonight was inside. I have a small dog that wants to attack them so just leaving them isn't an option is there a way to deter them?
Caitie 13 March, 2015 22:53
Hey there, we have owned a few eastern blue tongues but never one as young as the one we have now (only 5 weeks old), with our adult pair we purchased 18 months apart (both unsexed) we fluked it and they get along amazing, no fights or changes in behaviour/health/etc. anyway my question is is the dominance shown in very young lizards? I mean if I were to purchase another young one soon or even slightly older (6months +) will they be territorial straight away if they are both males? I don't want to put this young one in with the adults and cause overcrowding etc and am interested in another young lizard. Thanks!
Discovery Centre 23 March, 2015 15:33

Hi Caitie,

Male Blue-tongue Lizards are more territorial and more aggressive than females and the level of aggression depends to a large part on the individual. In the wild they are largely solitary, and keeping them together can cause stress and serious fights. Individuals frequently lose toes or entire feet in captivity, and males can do serious damage to females during the breeding season. I you plan to introduce a new individual, particularly a young one, you should monitor their behaviour very closely - it can only take a few minutes for one of the older skinks to do major damage to the young one. You should also have an extra enclosure on stand by and be prepared to keep the new skink separately, possibly for the rest of its life.