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 (191)

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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.
Ryan 12 March, 2017 17:53
I know you posted this a very long time ago but it is illegal to keep wild animals unless you have a lisence and can get a big fine
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.
Animal girl 22 December, 2015 15:01
It is actually a really hard thing to do. Females usually have a slimmer head and a larger body. Another way to tell is to put two lizards together. Males will fight each other, females will ignore each other, and a girl and a boy will mate. The only certain way to tell is if you get a vet to examine them. Sorry to disappoint you! P.S. I thing Bob is a great name!
Ivar 1 April, 2017 20:43
The only way to sex a blue tongue is to have them probed.... Even then is only accurate 80% of the time no Color patterns or thickness of any body part can be accurate to determine the sex.
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.

fiona baxter 15 December, 2015 16:45
Hi, we found a young blue tongue with a greyish lump crowding one ear, hoping its not a parasitic tick. Weve seen him about for almost three weeks now. If it were a tick wouldn't it have killed the lizard by now?
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!
Animalgirl 22 December, 2015 15:28
blue tongue lizards can not hurt you unless you place your hands near it's mouth. (this would be and act of defense). Blue tongue lizards are great in your garden they keep the population of pests like snails down. You may find the lizards basking in the sun or looking for food. In the winter they will hibernate under logs or shelter, probably in the "woodpile" you mentioned. I do not recommend you have the lizards removed.
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
Lucy 17 May, 2015 10:42
When my lizard was pregnant we didn't know about it until she had her babies, but leading up to it she was aggressive and bit me whenever my hand went near her belly.
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?
Rachel 25 December, 2015 10:56
Last i checked, it means its shedding. I have a baby lizard who is one month old today (merry christmas) and he just finished shedding. During it he was itchy and bit his tail and rubbed his head on rocks, etc. Best thing to do is give him a warm (not too hot) bath and softy rub his skin to help him shed. Dont make the water deeper than his height.
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.

Anthony 9 April, 2015 21:42
My blue tongue is sick im pretty sure, very skinny, tongue hanging out side, wont eat, his two front arms he wont use, im thinking he wants to die. My question is do i just leave him to pass or any other option,
Discovery Centre 11 April, 2015 15:13

Hi Anthony, there are many reasons your Blue-tongue Lizard may be unwell - old age, lack of calcium, lack of UV, poor diet, infection etc. There are many specialist vets and the treatment for these ailments are usually quick and effective. It's worthwhile taking the reptile to the vet as its quality of life is likely to be dramatically improved.

Caitlin glass 14 April, 2015 16:47
Can blue tongue lizards breed with any other lizards please answer
Discovery Centre 17 April, 2015 11:36
Hi Caitlin - There are certainly references to blue-tongue crossbreeding both in the wild (intergrades between closely related subspecies where distributions overlap) and in the private pet trade. A blue-tongue skink would not be able to be cross-bred with a very different type of lizard such as a dragon or goanna, however.
Norman 18 May, 2015 15:33
When attempting to clear up a pile of grass clippings and garden cuttings I disturbed four blue-tongue lizards (one adult and three juveniles) that were hibernating in the pile. What is the best thing to do with lizards when they have been disturbed during hibernation? I placed three of the lizards back into the pile and covered them over with some grass clippings and leaf litter but I am worried that they may suffocate by being covered over rather than creating their own burrow into the pile. Is it best to leave them to find a new spot to hibernate (bromate)?
Discovery Centre 25 May, 2015 11:42

Hi Norman,

The best option you have is to leave them to their own devices. Blue-tongue Lizards often wake up during hibernation (brumation) on warm days and move around before returning underground, particularly early on in the cold season. As a burrowing species they won't suffocate, but will either make the place you put them more suitable to their needs, or quickly find a more appropriate location.
Jakirra 31 May, 2015 11:49
I got three lizids🐉🐲🐺
Sophie 1 June, 2015 18:17
I own two blue tongue lizards who share the same enclosure (they are about 3-4months old now we purchased them together). Now one has gotten much bigger than the other during the time we have owned them (they both get hand fed the same food however the smaller one now gets more) this is because the bigger lizard seems to be biting the little one and we don't know why (we assume it's aggressive because the place we got them from says they are still too young to breed and we do not know their genders). We have separated them For now with the hopes this will stop but is there anything we could do??
Discovery Centre 7 June, 2015 14:20

Hi Sophie,


Biting is common in mature Blue-tongue Lizards during the breeding season, but as these lizards do not mature until about four years of age, that’s unlikely to be the case here. Sometimes individual animals simply don’t get on with other animals, particularly when they are held captive together with nowhere to get away on their own. You could supply add more hiding places in the enclosure and the fighting may settle down over time, or the smaller lizard may put on a growth spurt and be better able to defend itself, but the fact may be that these two animals aren’t compatible.

danae 10 June, 2015 11:34
I was told that Blotched and Eastern Blueys can have small amounts of yogurt as a treat. is this true?
Discovery Centre 28 June, 2015 12:13

Hi Danae - we checked this with our Live Exhibits team, who have said it's best not to give Blue-tongue Skinks (Tiliqua species) any yoghurt at all. They should be fed fresh vegetables and live insects, as well as other invertebrates such as snails, and can be given fruit as a treat.

Shan 18 July, 2015 01:52
Hi there I happen to have one of these lovely creatures that is now almost two years old (we got it at 6 weeks old from a shop). My son wanted one so bad that he chose having a big party over owning one. Well now I'm it's care taker (me being mum) and have done a lot of research on these unique beings and wanted to check if my info was enough to keep it alive for many years to come. It's not even two and it's already past 40cm long but I feed it crickets which are fed greens and carrot (though I'd like to ask if I could feed the crickets lizard pellets which are high nutrient base and I give the lizard but it's not fond of eating) another question is if they are indoors should I let the natural hibernation happen in winter if it chooses? I have been advised that if it goes to that state it may never wake up. Last year (when it was 1 I had to rouse it, wake it up to eat) now it's almost two it very active during these winter months in Victoria , is this my fult because I woke it during last years winter months? It sheds well and seems very happy (it's well provided for) and growing like a soldier. After all I have looked up and asked of vets these are my main two questions. The feeding crickets the pallets and should I rouse it next winter if it sleeps too long? I have been told very different things so I thought I'd ask here. Thanks in advance
Discovery Centre 27 July, 2015 10:00

Hi Shan,

Blue-tongue Lizards (Tiliqua species) feed well in captivity on insects (crickets and cockroaches in particular), snails (guaranteed free of snail pellets), fruits, vegetables and greens. They need either calcium dusted crickets or access to natural light or significant amounts of artificial ultraviolet light each day to avoid bone and skeletal problems. Some lizard keepers will boost the crickets with other supplements, but generally this is not necessary if the lizard is on a balanced diet. During winter, Blue-tongues will naturally hibernate (called brumation in reptiles) when the temperature starts to drop. If the lizard is kept inside all year, the lizard will not brumate and there are no adverse effects from this. It is not true that if they go into brumation they will never wake up, although if brumating outside some individuals may develop infections (analogous to the common cold) that may affect their health. So it’s up to you if you want your lizard to brumate/hibernate or not. The only other factor to keep in mind is that adult lizards need to brumate at a minimum temperature (usually 15 degrees or less) for a minimum amount of time (usually six weeks) to develop their reproductive organs, so if you want to breed your lizard then brumation is necessary.

Anthony 3 August, 2015 20:48
Hi I have had an Eastern Blue Tongue for about a year now and it is winter but he/she has been quite active it usually comes out a lot and waits for me to come home after school when it should be hibernating. I understand that they don't eat much during winter and hibernate but my one doesn't hibernate it is very active and I don't know why. P.S. We named it Ethan.
Discovery Centre 4 August, 2015 10:33

Hi Anthony,

During winter, Blue-tongues will naturally hibernate (called brumation in reptiles) when the temperature starts to drop. If the lizard is kept inside all year, the lizard will not brumate and there are no adverse effects from this.

So it’s up to you if you want your lizard to brumate/hibernate or not. The only other factor to keep in mind is that adult lizards need to brumate at a minimum temperature (usually 15 degrees or less) for a minimum amount of time (usually six weeks) to develop their reproductive organs, so if you want to breed your lizard then brumation is necessary.

kellie 8 August, 2015 23:35
Was wondering if you help answer this question a eastern blue tongue. Was found dead the other night lives out side in a reptile tank with heat lights uv ect but the tummy of the lizrad was spilt open it is a frezzing winter it had turned off its food. Would the lizard not have hibernate properly due to the heat lamps and the food posably rot in the tummy? Im shocked to see this and understand what happened was it possible the lizard was sick
Discovery Centre 14 August, 2015 12:11
Hi Kellie, we checked with the experts and captive reptiles can either be kept in warm conditions throughout winter so they don’t hibernate (brumate), or allowed to go through the natural process of brumation. The natural process in the wild involves the reptile reducing and then ceasing its food intake as the weather cools, so that brumation occurs on an empty stomach. Because their metabolic processes stop during cold weather, they can’t digest any food left in the stomach which tends to fester and rot during the cold months, sometimes causing the death of the reptile (which appears to be the case here). Once the outside temperature drops to below 16 degrees or so (depending on the species), the reptile will automatically shut down, so it needs to be definitely one or the other – either keep warm and keep feeding throughout winter, or stop feeding altogether before winter and allow brumation to occur naturally.
Nate 9 August, 2015 14:45
Hi, would i need to get a license to own one of these? i have always had a fondness of reptiles
Discovery Centre 10 August, 2015 16:25

Hi Nate,

Please be aware that keeping wildlife as pets, such as Blue Tongue lizards collected from the wild, is subject to strict licensing requirements and legislation - please contact your State or Territory government for further information. Blue Tongues can be kept without a licence as long as they are purchased from a pet shop or licenced breeder. It is illegal to collect them from the wild - even from your own backyard.

lexi 12 September, 2015 11:07
I caught a blue tongue lizard recently, she is very calm and likes to eat. She is gaining weight very fast, even when she decides she hasn't eaten food that day. I was just wondering how to tell if she is pregnant.
Discovery Centre 26 September, 2015 16:02
Hi Lexi,

Blue-tongue Lizards (Tiliqua species) can be kept without a permit but must be bought from a pet shop, never collected from the wild. The ‘wild’ includes your own backyard, and the rules are in place to protect local populations and prevent the inappropriate mixing of gene pools. So it’s best to put the lizard back and leave her to her own devices. It is difficult to tell whether a female is pregnant (gravid) as the weight of an individual varies over time, and increases quickly in spring as they come out of hibernation (brumation) and fatten up in preparation for breeding. Young females may also become pregnant and produce only a couple of stillborn rather than the 10 or more living young that an older will produce, or may reabsorb the foetuses before giving birth. One of the best ways to tell if a female is pregnant is if her breathing becomes heavy as the foetuses press against the lungs, and during later pregnancy she will become very fat and very slow.

Rachel 27 September, 2015 19:19
Hello, I'm in Adelaide and have a blue tongue I savec from our dog. It lives inside in temperature contrilled vivarium but yesterday I discovered a large sore (about the size of a 50c coin) with a scab to the side. Would a normal vet be able to treat it. Its extremely friendly and we are looking to donate to our childs school for educational purposes but i cant if its unwell.
Discovery Centre 28 September, 2015 15:50
Hi Rachel,

We suggest that you contact your local exotic animal veterinarian for medical advice concerning your Blue Tongue. Best of luck!
jennifer 6 October, 2015 16:53
Thanks for all the great advice. We are planning to get a bluetongue once we have everything we need, and have learnt all we can. I have found differing advice about how much sunlight they need if they are mostly living indoors. One exotic vet recommended sunning for 30 mins twice a week (I think he means in addition to a UV light). What about if they live outside in Melbourne? Also, how often do they poo?
Discovery Centre 24 October, 2015 16:45

Ultraviolet light is a complex issue for reptiles, and the more we learn about the relationship the more complicated it gets. Reptiles need UV to build calcium in their bones and avoid metabolic bone disease, but it can also be supplemented through non-UV sources such as calcium powder. It’s complicated because, for example, UV can only be absorbed when the lizard is warm, so placing a UV lamp at one end of the enclosure and a basking light or heat mat at the other end means no UV is absorbed. Artificial UV sources aren’t always the answer either – lamps from different manufacturers emit different quantities, wavelengths and types of UV. And some types of lamp lose their UV capacity more quickly than others. The best option is unfiltered sunlight, at least four hours per day, and the easiest way to achieve this is spending time outside during summer. Make sure the lizard has places to hide and places to bask, so it doesn’t overheat and can choose the best location for itself.

Frequency of defecation is determined in part by how often the lizard eats – it’s usually 2-3 times per week. Even during winter when they hibernate they will defecate once or twice.

Nick 28 October, 2015 21:48
Hi I'm nick and I have an eastern blue tongue skink about a year old, he is very aggressive and I'm not sure how to make him and my dog be friends?
Paula 15 November, 2015 21:35
I would like to use iron based snail pellets in a vegetable garden which is visited by eastern blue tongues. Once the snails are killed by the iron EDTA compound (active constituent), will it be safe to feed the dead snails to the lizards ? The manufacturers claim that the active constituent is non toxic to pets and lizards but I am being extra cautious about checking safety.
Discovery Centre 28 December, 2015 11:23
Hi Paula, apologies for the delay in getting back to you. Our manager of Live Exhibits has said Blue-tongue Lizards (Tiliqua species) prefer feeding on live snails, so any snails killed by the poison may be less attractive to them. It’s risky to allow lizards access to snails poisoned with Iron EDTA, even though the label says the compound is safe for pets. If the lizards aren’t doing a sufficient job of biological control for your liking, you might try going out at night and physically removing the snails – you’ll be surprised how few excursions are required to effectively remove snails from your garden. Once the job is complete, don’t worry about the lizards; there is plenty of other food available in your average garden.
Maureen Toy 22 November, 2015 12:46
A blue tongue lizard has taken up residence in our garage, recently a foul smell emanating from garage, have checked for dead rat etc but have found nothing, cannot find any info lizard producing bad smelling faeces.urine, so could be something else causing odour. Hope you can supply info. Thank you
Discovery Centre 28 November, 2015 16:54
Hi Maureen, our live exhibits manager has said when distressed or threatened, wild Blue-tongue Lizards (Tiliqua species) can release very foul-smelling faeces. Other than that situation, these lizards are virtually odour-free, so there might be something else in the garage producing the odour.
Elisabeth 4 December, 2015 16:33
Have a 15 year old blotched blue tongue, which live indoor in a 5' aquarium. We lost ifs partner last year. I have been offered a couple off baby blue tongues, was just wondering if it is wise to add them to the tank. Don't want them to get hurt. Thanks for any advise.
Discovery Centre 28 December, 2015 11:12
Hi Elizabeth, our manager of Live Exhibits has said it’s best not to put young Blue-tongue Lizards (Tiliqua species) in with a fully-grown specimen, particularly if the adult lizard is a male. Adult males tend to get on with adult females, but even between two individuals there can be ‘personality’ differences that mean one consistently hassles and attacks the other. Young lizards will be even more vulnerable in this situation – it may work out okay, but the chances are the young lizards will be killed by the adult.
Suishi 9 December, 2015 14:46
We have had a family of skinks living in our yard for over 30 years. We never interfere in their lifestyle, but I do leave fruit near their home. They have moved around in the yard several times, and we just let them be. My problem however, is this: Next week our retaining wall is being ripped out and replaced, and their home is currently under a big rock, at the top of the retaining wall. I would very much appreciate some advice on how to safely re-locate them until the new wall is done, then I will put them back where they came from, with the same rock. If I leave them where they are, the bobcat will destroy their home, and quite possibly the lizards as well. There are definitely 3 young ones, and I would say its the mother as well. We have all co-existed in harmony for over 30 years, and I dont want that to change, but I cant bear the thought of them being injured whilst trying to escape the bobcat.I would be so grateful for some advice. Thank you.
Discovery Centre 28 December, 2015 11:26
Hi Suishi, our manager of Live Exhibits has said although it’s illegal to collect native lizards from the wild, even from your own backyard, in this case where it appears to be in the best interests of the lizards an exception can be made. If you can collect the lizards from under their rock and house them temporarily where they won’t be harmed, then return them to the site when the wall is complete. They can be fed small insects such as crickets and small pieces of fruit whilst in your care. If you’re unable to catch them, at least remove the rocks and disrupt them as much as possible so they vacate the site while the work is going on. In either case, there’s a good chance they will return when the building activity settles down.
alana 12 December, 2015 15:03
I think my blue tongue is a female but she has a orange belly and people say a female has a pink belly plus it is also long but not skinny but this may be because she is not very old yet
Karisa Anderson 14 December, 2015 14:12
Do blue tongue skinks eat their young??
Liv 17 December, 2015 16:39
Recently a blue tongue lizard was in my backyard and was attacked by my dog. he dropped his tail and ran. is there a chance he will come back to that area? i really dont want him coming back.
Discovery Centre 28 December, 2015 10:39
Hi Liv, our manager of Live Exhibits has said if a Blue-tongue Lizard (Tiliqua scincoides) has been attacked it’s unlikely to return to the same area. Although they are skinks and technically are able to drop their tails, it can be a traumatic experience and they don’t always survive. If the lizard does return, the dog is likely to remind the lizard of the previous experience and it will quickly retreat.
Niki 20 December, 2015 14:42
I am just wondering how old would a 30cm Blue tongue lizard be?
Discovery Centre 28 December, 2015 10:22
Hi Niki, our manager of Live Exhibits has said reptiles don’t grow according to time (age), but according to food intake and environmental conditions. Therefore a great range of sizes are present for reptiles of any particular age. However, in general, a 30cm Blue-tongue Lizard (Tiliqua species) would be about two years old.
Coleen 21 December, 2015 15:42
We have recently rescued a pink tongue lizard in the garden and we've looked after it for a few weeks. Today we've rescued a blue tongue similar size (10cm) from being attacked by 4 birds. Would it be possible to keep the blue tongue and pink tongue together in an enclosure. We also have pigmy dragons and snakes with reptile licence so we know how to look after them. Please could you let me know if we can keep them together.
Discovery Centre 28 December, 2015 10:14
Hi Coleen, our manager of Live Exhibits has said Pink Tongue Skinks (Hemisphaeriodon (Cyclodomorphus) gerrardii) and Blue-tongue Skinks (Tiliqua species) can generally be kept together if they are of similar size and as long as there are plenty of hiding places in their enclosure. Keep a close eye on the lizards and there is any sign of fighting, particularly bite marks around the limbs and body, be sure to separate them as soon as possible. Keep in mind too that it’s illegal to collect animals from the wild, even in your own backyard, and even if you have a licence for that species. Captive animals must be sourced from a licenced wildlife dealer.
Belinda 9 January, 2016 12:54
How long is the Blue tonge breeding cycle? I have two 18 month old lizards and the male has been showing mating behaviours in the last week. The vet has assured us that the damage to the females head and back is perfectly normal and they are not showing signs of aggression, but I am concerned for the female as even with extra hiding spots, the male really never gives her a break. They are indoors amd do not hybernate, but have access to natural lite as well as the lamp. Does mating behaviour go on for weeks? Months? I don't want to seperate them unless I have to.
Discovery Centre 17 January, 2016 16:09

Hi Belinda,

There are a number of Blue-tongue species, each with slightly different breeding seasons, but in general it is between December and April. Males can do a lot of damage to females, so as the carer of the lizards this is something that shouldn’t be taken lightly and they should be separated if it gets out of hand, as males are capable of killing females. The problem may be a lack of hibernation (also called brumation) – this is usually required by females for their ovaries to mature. Without brumation, the female may be incapable of mating which means the male will not let up with her. In this case they should be separated at least until the female is capable of mating.


Sue 12 January, 2016 20:48
I have discovered that the blue tongue in my garden is stealing the chooks eggs. I like both the blue tongue and the eggs which are laid in the garden by the back door. Is there anyway that I can stop the blue tongue from stealing the eggs.
Discovery Centre 18 January, 2016 14:21

Hi Sue, 

Chicken eggs are not naturally part of a Blue-tongue’s diet – although they naturally take smaller eggs, chicken eggs are generally too big. However, once they get a taste for chicken eggs it can be hard to wean them off. If you’re able to fence off the chickens or their laying area from the rest of the garden, it should be relatively easy to keep Blue-tongues out. Due to their thick bodies and stumpy legs, Blue-tongues are unable to climb any vertical surface greater than about 30cm high.

Marina 22 January, 2016 00:34
Hello, I've recently discovered two strange orange objects in the tank of my female blue tongue lizard. They are around the size of grapes, and hard like shell or bone. They kind of look like tiny eggs or a yolk that's solidified. Late last year I had to begin housing my other blue tongue in a separate tank, as it started to constantly bite and scratch the female. That lizard has always been smaller, skinnier and more aggressive so I suspect it's a male and was attempting to mate, and now I'm scared that these orange objects are calcified lizard babies. The female lizard was getting quite fat at one point but has slimmed down in the past month or so. I'd love to know what might be going on.
Discovery Centre 24 January, 2016 16:33
Hi Marina, our manager of Live Exhibits has said the strange orange objects you describe are undoubtedly lizard babies/foetuses. In their first year of producing offspring, female Blue-tongue Lizards (Tiliqua species) often give birth to young that don’t survive, and will produce only two or three offspring rather than six or more in later years. Adult males can be very aggressive to females during the breeding season, including the delivery of severe bites and scratches. As the carer for the lizards, you’ll need to keep an eye on them and separate the female if it gets out of hand. The fact that she was previously fat then slimmed down suggests that she has produced young, and in subsequent years she should become more successful.
Dylan 28 January, 2016 22:33
Hi, we recently released a baby blue tongue into out backyard, and he has made his home in our retaining wall. We placed many hides where he resides and he utilizes them all. He has also been clearing our garden of pests (we don't use pesticides). We leave out water and food for him and he eats it all. I was just curious of what his chances were of reaching adulthood?
Discovery Centre 29 January, 2016 11:40
Hi Dylan,

If you are within the Blue-tongue Lizard's natural range (ie the environmental conditions are within the limits it's used to) and there are no marauding cats or dogs, then the chances of survival to adulthood are excellent. The main threat to young lizards in this situation is predatory birds such as Kookaburras, birds of prey and even Butcherbirds. It's better when lizards naturally colonise an area because they are attracted to suitable locations that suit them, rather than being artificially released into areas that may not suit them. However, most gardens have enough food available for Blue-tongues, and if it ever finds the conditions unsuitable it will no doubt move to a more favourable location.

Rosie 21 February, 2016 20:43
I have had a blue tongue for about 6 years (bred in captivity) I have a large two story enclosure and thinking about introducing another one. Is there any recommendations on how to do this? Or male or female? It will be a young blue tongue. Are they normally accepting? thanks
Discovery Centre 6 May, 2016 10:46
Hi Rosie, 

Female Blue-tongue Lizards (Tiliqua species) can be kept together, and an individual male can be kept with one or more females, but males cannot be kept together. There are individual differences in personalities, so one pair of lizards may get on well together while another pair may not get on at all, for no apparent reason. Even with a compatible male-female pair, the female will be continuously assaulted by the male during the mating season (sometimes very seriously) and she will need places to hide from him. In all cases, there needs to be a number of hides to give both lizards somewhere to retreat to when things get out of hand.

Nada 14 March, 2016 15:28
Hi. I found a healthy looking but lethargic BTL. It doesn't open its eyes. I can't seem to find any info regarding this. I found it yesterday on the Central Coast near a footpath so it shouldn't be hibernating as its still hot. What could the problem be.
Discovery Centre 14 March, 2016 16:27
Hi Nada, and thanks for your concern about our wildlife. If you read through previous comments and responses, you'll see that there are a few reasons people can encounter ill or lethargic blue tongues, whether it be old age, infection or other unseen diseases or injuries.
Lindy 15 March, 2016 17:46
I was in the garden yesterday and saw what I thought was a beautiful brown & golden hued stick a few feet away. Reached down to pick it up, and realized it was a blue tongue...though not like any I'd ever seen. Counted at least 12 sets of gold dots down the length of its body...about the size of a 1 cent piece near the head, smaller as they reached tail. It was about 1 foot long, and as thick as my wrist & forearm (which are of average size). I can't seem to find it on any sites. Didn't see it's actual tongue, though have handled lots of blue tongues over the years in the years I've lived in the bush, so recognized the shape, etc. The body colour was almost a rich mahogany...simply stunning. Can you tell me anything about this gorgeous creature? Thanks, Lindy
Discovery Centre 17 March, 2016 17:10
Hi Lindy,

Without an image, we're not able to provide you a certain identification. You might want to check out our Field Guide app for assistance, and if you see the critter again and manage to take a photo then don't hesitate to send it to us! 
Luca malivindi 21 March, 2016 19:08
I wojldlike to know how humans have affected this animal and how are we helping it.
Discovery Centre 2 April, 2016 15:48
Hi Luca, our Live Exhibits manager says that: Some species of Blue-tongue Lizard (Tiliqua species) have benefitted to some degree from urbanisation and other changes to the landscape following European settlement, whilst other species have been disadvantaged. Eastern Blue-tongue Lizards (Tiliqua scincoides), for example, have adapted to living in urban and suburban environments and will readily feed on introduced snails and slugs, as well as introduced garden plants. However, cats and dogs frequently prey on these lizards and they are also regularly killed by cars. Overall, European settlement has not been beneficial for Blue-tongues, but they have adapted better to these changes than many other native animals.
Lel 19 April, 2016 21:28
Hi.. I see you don't need a licence in Vic for Blue Tongues, can you tell me if i need a licence in Queensland for them? in fact do you know if i also need a licence for Geckos and Water Dragons too? I know i need one for Bearded Dragons, but not the other 3 breeds, which i would like to buy when i've found out which can be kept together, and which can be kept outside, as our Gold Coast winters often get close to zero, brrrr. All advice appreciated. Thank you.
Discovery Centre 25 April, 2016 10:44
Hi Lel,

The Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning is the governing authority for wildlife licences in Victoria. Their website (http://www.depi.vic.gov.au/environment-and-wildlife/wildlife/keeping-and-trading-wildlife/private-wildlife-licences#basic) includes all the documentation for keeping native animals, and the lists of animals that can be kept without a licence, or with a basic licence, or with an advanced licence. The equivalent website for Queensland can be found at (https://www.qld.gov.au/environment/plants-animals/wildlife-permits/recreational-licence/).

As a general rule, most reptile species are best not kept with other reptile species, but there are some exceptions. The best place to find these exception is on reptile-keeping online forums.

Muriel 25 April, 2016 17:34
We found a blue tongue lizard in the backyard sitting in tge tall grass. We have not seen it move and it has been there for days. Do these lizards go into hibernation?
Jake 25 August, 2016 22:27
Hi, I have 2 gorgeous Blue Tongues, I love them endlessly but they keep trying to climb up the side of the tank, (it's a glass tank). They have plenty of rocks and things to play on but they keep climbing? I'm worried they're going to injure themselves either their backs or them falling. Is this a bad thing and is there a way to stop it? Thanks
Discovery Centre 8 September, 2016 15:52

Hi Jake,

There are several reasons Blue-tongue Lizards may try to leave their enclosure. These include looking for a mate during the breeding season, avoiding an aggressive cage-mate, looking for extra food or other requirements, or trying to avoid unpleasant conditions within the enclosure. The two first reasons are the two most common – if the cause is the search for a mate, this should settle down outside breeding season. Cage-mates may not get on, particularly if they are the same sex, or if a male is excessively aggressive towards females during the breeding season. It may be worth reviewing all these potential reasons, and if none of them are probable causes, wait for the lizards to eventually settle down.

Unless the lizards are able to climb up something and fall from a height, they are unlikely to hurt themselves. The other problem to keep an eye out for is the lizards getting claws or toes caught in mesh or other small holes around the edges of the enclosure.

Sarah 12 September, 2016 10:24
Hello! I have 2 blue tongue lizards living under my air conditioner unit at the side of the house - they are quite friendly and co-exist very well! This morning however, I found the larger one biting the neck of the other. Very vigorously. Is this a mating ritual or is he trying to kill his friend?? I separated them just in case but if it is "normal" behaviour I will take down the partition and let them continue. I was worried the smaller one was being attacked! Thank you!
Talisha 13 September, 2016 20:14
Hi, my neighbours moved house bet they left their blue tongue lizard in a cage outside. We know that it's a girl because of its pink belly, it's about 42 cm long and it is really fat. It gets really protective when we touch it's belly, I was just wondering how do I tell if it is pregnant. Thankyou, Talisha.
Discovery Centre 18 September, 2016 13:05
Hi Talisha, our manager of Live Exhibits has said female Blue-tongue Lizards (Tiliqua species) can have ‘phantom pregnancies’ where the belly is swollen but the lizard has no young inside. Also, for the first year or two after maturity females may give birth to infertile embryos (‘still births’). If the female has been kept in a cage for some time on her own, she’s unlikely to be pregnant as there would be no access to a male. The lizard should not be left in an outside enclosure without any care – it will need regular feeding and access to water, as well as places to shelter. If your neighbours have left it behind you should contact your local vet or local animal rescue, or  the Lost Reptiles Home (www.facebook.com/LostReptilesHomeVictoriaWest/).
Jenny 15 September, 2016 15:46
Hi, I found a blue tongue on the rd right near my house. He has woken too early due to what I imagine is his hibernating hole getting washed out in all this rain. Took him to the vet for a once over as I thought he had a recent eye injury which turned out to be an old one. Anyway I've set up some wood, layers of saw dust and Lucerne in an old dog kennel near my compost hoping he might go back to sleep - vet suggested warming him overnight first. About to let him go now and hope I'm doing the right thing? I am just out of Melb...
Danielle 2 October, 2016 10:44
We found a little blue tongue lizard in the backyard yesterday afternoon, about 15-20cms long. Our Golden retriever was barking at it and trying to bite/kill it. We have picked the lizard up and placed him/her in a box, I'm not sure what to do with him now? I'm worried that if I release him our dog will kill it. We live on a farm in central Vic. My son wants to keep him as he is scared the lizard will not survive if released. Would it be okay if we released him?
Discovery Centre 2 October, 2016 11:59
Hi Danielle, 

If the animal is injured you may want to take it to a vet, otherwise we would recommend releasing it into the wild, where it is much more familiar, in an area your dog cannot get to it.
Amy 2 November, 2016 14:45
Hi, I work in the transport industry & a blue tongue lizard has made its way from Victoria - Mackay QLD on one of our trucks. It was hiding inside a pallet. A wildlife carer has collected from me today. Are they allowed to be released in a different state? They weren't able to tell me. Thanks
Discovery Centre 2 November, 2016 15:01
Hi Amy - good question, we'll see what we can find out for you.
Discovery Centre 3 November, 2016 13:31

Hi Amy,

If a reptile can’t be released into the same area it was found, or if the exact location is unknown, the consensus is that it shouldn’t be released at all. The genetic composition of animal populations can be very important and releasing animals from other populations can disrupt the gene pools, causing more problems than it solves. Groups such as the Lost Reptiles Home takes in these reptiles and finds new homes for them.

Ian 11 November, 2016 11:22
Hi, I was given 2 blue tongue babies in February this year. They don't seem to be happy in their environment (I have a 5 foot tank with UV light and a ceramic heat lamp as well as a heat cord) as they are always scratching at the glass to get out. I worry that I am not able to care for them as best as possible as I live alone in a flat and don't have a backyard I can let them out into. Would it be ok to let them out at a suitable habitat?
Discovery Centre 20 November, 2016 11:45
Hi Ian, our manager of Live Exhibits has said Blue-tongue Lizards (Tiliqua species) regularly roam their enclosure and scratch at the glass, so it may not be anything to be concerned about. Lizards often associate humans with food, so they may well only be scratching the glass when they know you are present. The enclosure and the fittings you describe should well suit Blue-tongues, except that you don’t need a heat lamp as well as a heat mat. The enclosure should have a basking light at one end and vary in temperature from 28-32 degrees under the basking light, to room temperature (21-23 degrees) at the other end. This will give the lizards a gradient of heat to find the place that suits them best. Heat mats (or heat cords or heat coils) don’t provide this gradient or the opportunity to bask.

If this doesn’t work, under no circumstances should the lizards be released. They have a very low chance of survival, most probably suffering a long slow death, and if they manage to survive and breed they will undoubtedly be contaminating the integrity of the local Blue-tongue gene pool. The breeder you purchased them from will probably purchase them back, and if not there are a great number of other breeders that will.

Elyce 29 November, 2016 22:25
Hi, I have a fully enclosed garden with lots of nice hiding spots as well as sunbathing areas for a bluey to enjoy and am considering getting one as it could live quite happily in our backyard. However a friend owns one and says they have come across theirs climbing halfway up the wall of their exposed brick house before! Could a blue tongue scale an 8-foot wooden fence to escape? I also have a pet rabbit living in my yard, would this be a reason not to get a blue tongue?
Discovery Centre 2 December, 2016 10:05
Hi Elyce, 

Blue-tongue Lizards (Tiliqua species) are ground-dwelling but have some capacity to climb, although they have a lot of trouble with smooth surfaces. If a wall is at a significant angle, or if there are multiple footholds, the lizards can climb higher than otherwise. Generally they can’t climb any smooth surface higher than a metre, and an eight foot high wooden fence should be more than adequate to keep them contained. Keep in mind that they can also dig, so make sure any barrier extends half a metre or so underground. Sunbathing areas should receive eight or more hours of sunlight per day, as well as plenty of shady places for the lizard to escape the sun. There should be no problems sharing the space with a rabbit, although you should monitor the rabbit carefully – at least initially - so it doesn’t have a go at the lizard.

Harry Gill 17 January, 2017 15:43
I have had my blotched blue tongue lizard since birth which was 3 years ago, he lives in an indoor enclosure with lights and everything and we take him out regularly, recently he has become quite pale on his patterns, I just want to make sure he is okay and if i should be worried. Also just additionally, he doesn't eat every day, is this normal. Thank you in advance
Siobhan 5 February, 2017 03:50
Hi, I have two blue tongue lizards and both of them REFUSE to eat fruit and vegetables. They have meat and insects. Can they live happy and be healthy on a full meat diet?
Discovery Centre 10 February, 2017 12:22

Hi Siobhan - here's some information from our Live Exhibits manager.

A blue tongue skinks diet should be 50% veggies and greens, 40% protein (meat, mice, insects) and 10% fruit.

If the reptile refuses to eat vegetables, try either puréed or finely chopped greens and vegetables mixed with dog/cat food and sneak it into the diet, this will get maximum nutrition to them. Many Blue tongues like to eat scrambled/ hard boiled eggs and bananas so if your reptile seems to be picky, you could try that.

Unless the animal is sick or underweight only offer it a healthy diet including veggies, eventually it will get hungry and eat what’s on offer. Also don’t offer it any treats if it is being fussy, stop feeding it treats until it is eating a healthy diet.

Siobhan 5 February, 2017 03:58
One of my pet blue tongue's constantly tries to climb up of things such as the side of the couch or me. He always ends up falling backwards into his back. Most of the time I am able to grab him so that he doesn't hurt himself. He does this over and over again so it doesn't seem to be hurting him but I just want to know why he does it?
Jason Ward 7 February, 2017 21:08
Hi, i have a 1 month old Eastern Blue tounge. it acts normal but its right side , his bone sticks out a little more than the other side, what does this mean?
Discovery Centre 11 February, 2017 13:27
Hi Jason, 

This is not an appropriate forum to seek medical advice. If you are concerned with your pet's health, then you should contact a veterinarian without delay. 
Matt 13 May, 2017 09:43
Hello, Just had a few questions. How do blue tongues survive? What is there place in the ecosystem?
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