Wild - 20 years
Captive - 20 years
My What a Blue Tongue You Have!
The bright blue tongue which gives a blotched blue tongue its name is not just for looks. These animals use that tongue to help scare away predators. By showing their large blue tongue which contrasts against the pink inside of their mouth they may be able to scare the predator away.
This species is an omnivore which will feed on a range of plant matter such as berries. They will also use their strong jaw to break through the shells of invertebrates such as snails.
Australia is the native home of the blotched blue tongue lizard where they can be found in highland regions of Victoria and New South Wales.
What does a Blotched Blue Tongue Lizard look like?
Across the body of the blotched blue tongue lizard they have smooth scales. Along the sides of the body they are colored yellow with black streaks across this. On the underside they may be white or yellow with some black spots. Their back and upper side of the tail are colored black with cream, yellow or pinkish blotches patterning this.
The legs of the blotched blue tongue lizard are short and stubby with small toes at the end.
Their is some regional variation within this lizard species. Generally animals found in alpine areas of New South Wales are larger than those found in the south of their range.
Males can be distinguished by a slightly larger head. Females tend to grow to a slightly larger size.
An individual can weigh between 300 and 450g (10.6-15.9oz) and measure 25-30cm (9.8-11.8in) long.
How does the Blotched Blue Tongue Lizard survive in its habitat?
This species is able to expand its body in an effort to make it look larger. By doing this they may scare off predators which could threaten them.
What does a Blotched Blue Tongue Lizard eat?
The blotched blue tongue lizard is an omnivore. Their diet includes a range of plant matter such as berries, flowers and leaves. This is supplemented with animal prey such as invertebrates, small mice and occasionally with carrion which they scavenge.
They make use of their strong jaw muscles to crush the shells of their prey such as snails.
Where do you the find the Blotched Blue Tongue Lizard?
Australia is the native home of the blotched blue tongue lizard. Here they live in highland areas of New South Wales and Victoria. They also occur on the island of Tasmania and a number of smaller islands in the Bass Strait.
These animals have adapted to living in urban environments where they survive alongside humans.
Where can the Blotched Blue Tongue Lizard survive?
These animals are found in forests, woodland and heath. Across much of their range they live in highland areas.
How does a Blotched Blue Tongue Lizard produce its young?
Blotched blue tongue lizards give birth to live young. Up to fifteen young may be born in a litter but smaller numbers are more common. A clutch is produced once every two years by the females but males can father a clutch every year.
Young are born after a 3-5 month long gestation period with most births observed between December and April. Young develop in the oviduct attached to a placenta which closely resembles those used by mammals to support their embryos.
At birth they can immediately begin to care for themselves. A few days after they are born they will undergo the first shed of their scales.
Sexual maturity will occur around 3 years old.
What does the Blotched Blue Tongue Lizard do during its day?
The blotched blue tongue lizard will use a hollow log or a scrape excavated under a rock to hide and find shelter. They may also dig among leaf litter to find shelter.
Like most reptiles the blotched blue tongue is an ectothermic animal and must bask in the sun to generate heat. They use this warmth to raise their body temperature. When the weather is cold they will become inactive and seek shelter in a burrow. Despite this they will still emerge on warm days.
Outside of the breeding season the blotched blue tongue lizard is solitary spending its time alone.
Predators and Threats
What stops the Blotched Blue Tongue Lizard from surviving and thriving?
Populations of the blotched blue tongue lizard are considered stable.
In areas where dogs are present in large numbers this species is often absent due to predation by this species.
Humans pose a threat for blotched blue tongues as they poison insects. If these insects are then consumed by the lizards it may lead to them becoming ill or potentially passing away.
If a blotched blue tongue lizard is threatened it will flatten out its body and display its broad blue tongue to attempt to scare off the predator. They will also hiss at any threat which presents to them.
While possible it is rare for a blue tongue skink to lose its tail as a means of defence.
This species is kept in captivity across Australia. Most of these individuals have been captive bred and this means poaching from the wild is uncommon to supply the domestic trade.
The blotched blue tongue lizard is the largest species of lizard found in the state of Tasmania.
They may also be known as the southern blue tongue lizard.
Rowland, P. and Farrell, C. (2020) ˜a naturalist's guide to the reptiles of australia. Oxford: John Beaufoy Publishing.
Blotched blue-tongue lizard (no date) The Australian Museum. Available at: https://australian.museum/learn/animals/reptiles/blotched-blue-tongue-lizard/ (Accessed: January 5, 2023)
Gillespie, G., Hutchinson, M., Melville, J., Michael, D., Clemann, N., Chapple, D.C & Robertson, P. 2018. Tiliqua nigrolutea. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2018: e.T109481446A109481473. https://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2018-1.RLTS.T109481446A109481473.en. Accessed on 05 January 2023.
Liu, J. 2002. "Tiliqua nigrolutea" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed January 04, 2023 at https://animaldiversity.org/accounts/Tiliqua_nigrolutea/
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