Animal Diaries Archive
Blue-Tongue Lizards Join The Program
4 June 2004Hi everyone!
This week we'd like you all to meet some new additions to our Wandering Wildlife Program. Lots of you will probably recognise these cute critters from in and around your own backyards. They are the largest members of the skink family and are well known for their bright blue tongues! Any ideas? Well if you guessed Blue-Tongue Lizards, you're right!
Around Christmas time last year, our reptile department were very excited to welcome ten baby Blue-Tongues into the world. They are now at the perfect size to start training and handling, so the Roving Team has been called upon for the job! Being born in captivity and hand-raised here at Australia Zoo, these little guys just love people! We've had lots of fun spending time with them over the last few weeks and now they are ready to head out into the zoo to meet our guests for pats and photos!
They all have names and different little features to help us tell them apart. Blue-Tongue Lizards have a long, light grey coloured body covered in dark stripes. Their head is large and as their name suggests, inside their mouth is a broad, bright blue tongue. This is a very important defence mechanism designed to help ward off predators. If threatened, Blue Tongues are known to poke their tongue at the offender, hiss and flatten out their body so they appear bigger. After this display, hopefully potential predators will have got such a fright they'll quickly be off on their way without harming this clever skink at all!
As Blue-Tongues are so commonly found right throughout Australia, we'd like to give you all some care tips for helping these special skinks in your local area:
Don't use snail baits or insecticides if Blue-Tongues are living in your garden. If a Blue-Tongue eats snails and slugs that have been poisoned by baits, the Blue Tongue will also be poisoned.
Keep cats and dogs under control. Young Blue-Tongues especially are often killed or injured by domestic pets.
Blue-Tongues love basking in warm, sunny spots in the garden. Keep an eye out for them when mowing long grass and when entering or exiting your driveway.
At first glance you might mistake a Blue-Tongue for a snake, but take another look and you'll notice the legs! Whether you see a Blue-Tongue Lizard or a snake, it's best to leave it alone.
We hope you come and visit our new Blue-Tongues soon and don't forget to keep an eye out for wild ones in your backyard!
Our Amazing Blue-tongue Lizards
There are 4 species and 2 sub-species of Blue-tongue Lizards. The belly of the Blue-tongue is usually pale with darker variegations. Their eyes are small and re ...more