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Blue-tongued skink facts for kids

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Blue tongue lizard redirects here.

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Blue-tongued skinks
Tiliqua scincoides showing its blue tongue
Scientific classification

(Gray, 1825)

8, see text.



Blue-tongued skinks make up the Australasian genus, Tiliqua, which has some of the largest members of the skink family (Scincidae). They are also called blue-tongued lizards or simply blue-tongues, shinglebacks or the sleepy lizard in Australia. The main feature of the genus is a large blue tongue that can be used to scare away enemies.


Blue-tongued skinks are closely related to the genera Cyclodomorphus and Hemisphaeriodon. All species are found on mainland Australia except Tiliqua gigas which lives in New Guinea and various islands of Indonesia. One subspecies of Tiliqua scincoides is also found on several small Indonesian islands between Australia and New Guinea. Tiliqua nigrolutea is the only species in Tasmania. With the exception of the pygmy blue-tongue, they are large lizards which can grow up to 45 cm total length. They are light-bodied, short-limbed, broad with a distinct head and dull teeth.


Most species are diurnal ground-foraging omnivores, feeding on insects, gastropods, flowers, fruits and berries. The pygmy blue-tongue however mainly eats arthropods. The skinks give birth to live young. The litter sizes ranging from 1–4 in the pygmy blue-tongue and shingleback to 5–24 in the eastern and northern blue-tongues.


Name Scientific Name Picture Subspecies
Adelaide pygmy blue-tongue skink T. adelaidensis (Peters, 1863)
Indonesian blue-tongued skink T. gigas (Schneider, 1801) Riesenblauzungenskink T. g. evanescens, Merauke blue-tongued skink;

T. g. keyensis, Key Island blue-tongued skink

Centralian blue-tongued skink T. multifasciata (Sternfeld, 1919) Zentralaustralischer Blauzungenskink
Blotched blue-tongued skink T. nigrolutea (Quoy & Gaimard, 1824) Schwarzgelber Blauzungenskink
Western blue-tongued skink T. occipitalis (Peters, 1863) Westlicher Blauzungenskink
Shingleback T. rugosa (Gray, 1825) Tannenzapfenechse T. r. aspera, Eastern shingleback; T. r. konowi, Rottnest Island shingleback; T. r. palarra, Shark Bay shingleback; T. r. rugosa, Common shingleback
Australian blue-tongued skink T. scincoides (White, 1790) Gemeiner Blauzungenskink T. s. chimaerea, Tanimbar blue-tongued skink; T. s. intermedia, Northern blue-tongued skink; T. s. scincoides, Eastern blue-tongued skink
Irian Jaya blue-tongued skink Tiliqua sp. Irianjayansinikieliskinkki.jpeg
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