Learn about SA’s lesser-known bushfire-affected creatures. They may even hiss and puff up to make themselves look fiercer. We’ve teamed up with our Conservation and Wildlife Unit here at the Department for Environment and Water to answer some of the most common questions you’ve asked us about how to keep blue-tongue lizards safe if one decides to make itself at home in your backyard. The blue-tongue lizard eats plant matter and mostly slow moving prey like beetles, caterpillars, crickets, snails and other small lizards. Is Blue Tongue Lizard Dangerous? It can cause impaction and there is an increased risk of … There are six species of blue-tongued lizards or skinks in Australia. The worst damage it can inflict on you are few minor puncture wounds and some bruising. It is also important to note that blue-tongue lizards are not poisonous and do not post any threat to your cats or dogs. A: In their own territory, blue-tongue lizards know where to find food and shelter, so it’s not recommended that you move a blue-tongue lizard from your yard. The brumation period happens over winter, and it’s during this time that blue-tongue lizards seek out a safe, dry and warm place to stay. In fact, they can be a very helpful friend to have around the garden as they eat snails and caterpillars and other insects and can help keep the population of these invertebrate garden pests down. Check our blog comments policy before posting. Blue tongue skinks are from the open woodland and forest and field areas of Australia, Tasmania and New Guinea. The eastern blue tongue lizard is one of the most familiar reptiles in Australia. Australian Blue Tongue Lizard Species. Though most lizards have small teeth, they can easily pierce the skin. Due to extremely strict regulations prohibiting the export of native … The Good Living blog comes to you from the South Australian Department for Environment and Water. The blue-tongued skink is a fairly small lizard that is recognizable by its blue tongue. If a lizard eats a poisoned snail, the lizard could also die. A: Like any animal, lizards can carry pathogens, particularly salmonella (which every animal has in its faeces) so normal hygiene practices should be followed. Blue-tongued skinks are also bred in captivity and sold as house pets. You can read all about blue-tongue lizards in your garden at this helpful NSW government site: https://www.nationalparks.nsw.gov.au/plants-and-animals/eastern-blue-tongue-lizard. If the intended target is unimpressed, the wide-bodied skink hisses, and then flattens out its body in hopes of appearing too large to attack. The blue tongue skink will try to swallow rocks, no matter what the size. First, you’ll need to make sure it is indeed a lizard and not a snake. One of the largest of the skink species, with beige or tan skin and a blue tongue. It uses its powerful bite to feed on snails and other prey, sometimes refusing to release its mouth. These animals have been bred in captivity, meaning they have not been sourced from wild populations. They are large-bodied and have a long tail. A blue tongue is the main defense mechanism – to trick predators into thinking that the skink is venomous/poisonous. Disclaimer | Privacy statement | Accessibility, This site is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Australia Licence © Copyright 2019. It’s not recommend that you kiss a wild lizard (or any other wild animals for that matter), because you don’t know what diseases it might be carrying. Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Australia Licence. We will share stories with you – about people, places, things to do, how things work, our Aboriginal heritage, how you can get involved and what you can do to help. Blue-tongue lizards are not dangerous to humans. This commenting service is powered by Disqus. There are quite a few species of blue tongue skink, and several kinds may be available in the pet trade. Adults can grow up to 24 inches. The scales are smooth. Here are six of our top picks. Blue Tongues In Your Garden. Also, mites/ticks can cause infections and skin irritation, which can also cause problems with shedding. If you would prefer not to log in you can still make a comment by selecting 'I'd rather post as a guest' after entering your name and email address. It's not hard to make your garden blue-tongue lizard friendly. Approximately 20 per cent of the world's 3800-plus … If provoked, it will bite hard but will let go quickly. A: Private individuals can keep blue-tongue lizards, but most species require a permit to keep and sell them. On warm winter days you may see them basking in the sun, but by late September/early October, the brumation period ends and you’ll see them emerging and back in their usual location. If you suspect the person selling the lizards doesn’t have a licence, or is taking them from the wild, you can ask them about their licence. They vary a bit in colour and size, but ... Australian Blue-Tongue Lizard Facts. Are mites (ticks) in a blue tongue skink dangerous? Blue-tongue lizards are territorial creatures, so it’s important to keep it as close to its existing home as possible. The first thing to do is, relax! What to do if there’s a blue-tongue lizard in your backyard. Blue-tongue lizards are one of Australia’s most familiar reptiles, and provide a valuable pest control service to your home, snacking on snails, caterpillars, insects and other garden pests. Australia has the deadliest snakes in the world. While you may think you’re protecting the blue-tongue, keeping it in a box is actually quite stressful and may be unintentionally making things worse. Like any pest, a lizard will bite as a means of self-defense when it feels threatened. If they are threatened or cornered they open their mouth wide and stick out their tongue to frighten off potential predators. Make sure you clean the container regularly to minimise the chance of spreading disease. Most animals … (Main image courtesy of Tatters in line with Creative Commons licensing). These lizards are common pets, bred in captivity. Large specimens may reach 60cm in total length. Like snakes, blue-tongue lizards shed their skin. I've read online that the light can be dangerous for humans. There's a snake in my backyard, what should I do? This might look scary but they will not bite unless they are attacked or if you try to pick them up and accidentally hurt them. It is also important to note that blue-tongue lizards are not poisonous and do not post any threat to your cats or dogs. They can bite but their teeth are used more for crushing than tearing, so they might bruise you but will rarely break the skin. Therefore, it is not too hard to escape a bite from the pet. What do you do if you find a Blue-tonguein your garden? Blue-tongue lizards are slow moving and are not aggressive. There’s a blue-tongue lizard in my backyard, what should I do? There are six lizard species found in South Australia commonly known as bluetongues, so called because of their blue tongue. However, if you feel the lizard is in immediate danger in your yard, you can relocate it as a last resort. They belong to the Sciniadiae family. A: Blue-tongues don’t hibernate in winter, instead they go into what is called ‘brumation’, where their metabolism slows down considerably. Blue-tongued lizards are out and about, and it's often hard to tell if they are fighting or mating. Orchid bark – this bark can get mold over time due to misting. If you feel you absolutely must do something to help the blue-tongue lizard, consider providing clean fresh water from a bowl or dish that it (and other wildlife) can easily access and not get stuck in. We are here to help inspire and inform you so you can make a difference in your life and world. That being said, many people have had blue-tongues – or rats and mice, which are also prey species for snakes – in their garden or shed for years and have never seen a snake. This can lead to impaction and/or choking. The Australian Museum also has a fact sheet on blue-tongues: https://australianmuseum.net.au/learn/animals/reptiles/blotched-blue-tongue-lizard, If you find an injured blue-tongue lizard, contact an Australian wildlife rescue volunteer near you by visiting the Australian Fauna Care Network at https://www.fauna.org.au, https://kb.rspca.org.au/knowledge-base/theres-a-blue-tongue-lizard-in-my-backyard-what-should-i-do/. A: As a general rule, it’s best not to feed wild animals. A good way to go about this is by getting an open cardboard box and putting it on its side next to the lizard. If there’s still more you’d like to know, then read on. Blue tongue lizards are very useful buddies, eating the snails, slugs and caterpillars that attack your favourite plants. This display, combined with its large head, may successfully frighten off potential predators. First of all, mites will suck on your blue tongue’s blood and can cause anemia. If you’ve stumbled across a bluey in your yard, first you might like to read our story: What to do if there’s a blue-tongue lizard in your backyard. In the wild, they will also eat carrion and any mammals, reptiles, birds or amphibians they can find, though snails are their main The blue tongue skink species (Tiliqua scincoides intermedia) is a blue tongued lizard, also commonly referred to as blue tongues in Australia.The most common characteristic of these lizards is the blue tongue that is used to warn potential predators. It can be an uncomfortable time for them, especially the youngsters … Blue-tongues are not venomous but they try to look intimidating by opening their mouth and acting aggressively. Get to know SA’s local octopus species and which marine parks you should explore to spot these masters of disguise. Then, it opens its jaws, startling the predator with … There are plenty of online guides for creating your own. In fact, they can be a very helpful friend to have around the garden as they eat snails and caterpillars and other insects and can help keep the population of these invertebrate garden pests down. Spring is here and blueys are out and about. Perhaps the most striking feature of the Blue-Tongued Skinks is its distinct blue tongue. A: Blue-tongue lizards generally do not like to be handled, but if you need to move a lizard in your yard, and it isn’t in a spot where you can gently sweep it into a box, you may need to pick it up. These lizards can grow to around 50 to 60 cm including plant matter and live insects. No, they are not poisonous. In fact, they are really not that dangerous at all. Log in to Disqus, Facebook, Twitter or Google to make a comment. Blue tongue skinks will give you signs before biting. When threatened, the blue-tongued skink puffs up its body, sticks out its long, blue tongue, and hisses. Mites can cause various problems for your blue tongue skink, if they don’t get removed for a long time. Blue-tongues do not have well-developed teeth, but … They may hide under vegetation, in hollow logs, under debris and even in drain pipes. This is because the gentle blue-tongued skink has peg-like teeth that aren't sharp enough to deliver dangerous bites. Healthy blue-tongues should be active and alert, responding to movements with their tongue or head. Here are the answers to some of your most frequently asked questions. Start by gently holding, then lifting, the lizard from behind its head. My pet has been bitten by a snake, what should I do? I just got my new baby blue tongue skink and we are about to buy a UVB light for her. If you are not too lucky and get a bite, don’t overreact as the bite is not dangerous. They are widely spread in Australia, New Guinea, and one species in Tasmania. When threatened, they’ll open their mouths wide and stick out their broad blue tongue. This display, together with the large size of the head, may frighten off predators. These lizards quickly get used to the presence of humans and go about their business unperturbed. Blue-tongued Lizard Habitat And Life Cycle. Blue Tongue skinks. This unique color reflects UVA light, which blue tongue skinks can see, but humans can’t! Blue-Tongued Skinks have a relatively normal diet. They are commonly called blue-tongued lizards or simply blue-tongues or blueys in Australia. A: A great way to provide blue-tongue lizards with some shelter away from your pets is to place pieces of PVC pipe around your yard for it to crawl into should it feel it's in danger. Blue-tongues have a home range. Blue-tongue lizards are not poisonous and do not pose any threat to people or their pets. They need to be responsible for finding their own food without our help, because they may start relying on you for food and if you stop feeding them they will struggle to survive. But more recent research suggests that it may be primarily used for blue tongue skinks to communicate with each other. Another behavior possessed by the blue-tongued skink is the ability to lose, and eventually regrow, its tail during a confrontation. Make sure their nostrils and eyes are clear, there is no sign of excessive pieces of skin from shedding and their scales are free from abrasions, swelling or scarring. Blue Tongue skinks are another popularly domesticated lizard. It’s probably best to return it to where you found it. If you see them in your garden, try digging up some worms or curl grubs for them. Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License. Then, when picking it up, make it feel as safe as possible. Blue-tongue skinks are forest floor dwelling lizards with large, smooth, flat scales; a wide head and a bright blue tongue. Here’s how Kangaroo Island’s western whipbird is faring. Large rocks are very dangerous. As the weather warms up, blue-tongue lizards come out of brumation (see our question below about hibernation!) Instead the skink’s best chance of survival is to puff up its body, making itself look larger. A: It is not recommended to keep a blue-tongue lizard in a box (besides while you are relocating it if it’s unsafe to leave it where you found it). The length of brumation varies between lizards, and can last up to 12 weeks. Most blue tongued lizards are not dangerous or poisonous- The bright blue tongue is meant to scare or frighten away predators- in Biology this is known as aposemitism (warning colors). As suggested by these common names, a prominent characteristic of the genus is a large blue tongue that can be bared as a bluff-warning to potential enemies. PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS: Blue tongue skinks have long, slim, smooth and chubby bodies. When threatened, blue-tongues turn towards the threat, open their mouth wide and stick out their broad blue tongue that contrasts vividly with the pink mouth. A: A great way to provide blue-tongue lizards with some shelter away from your pets is to place pieces of PVC pipe around your yard for it to crawl into should it feel it's in danger. They live under rocks or in crevices and come out during the day to sunbake and look for prey. Blue-tongue lizards are not poisonous and do not pose any threat to people or their pets. The blue tongue skink’s tongue is widely speculated to be a defense mechanism used to ward off predators. A: To avoid causing harm to blue-tongues, you can opt for an organic weed killer. The best option is to remove the danger to the lizard, such as by securing your pets (if they might be threatening the lizard), or letting the lizard move on of its own accord. Lizard Bite Safety Blue-tongue lizards are an asset in the garden as they keep the numbers of snails, caterpillars and other pests down. Most bites occur when people try to catch the reptiles in their hands to remove them from homes or yards. Your blue tongue skink is more likely to hiss at you when it’s new or not tame. Blue-tongued skinks generally acclimate well to humans and make great companions, especially if they are raised from hatchlings. Neither are they venomous. A: If you have a sick or injured blue-tongue lizard in your backyard, you can contact a wildlife rescue organisation, such as Fauna Rescue SA, for help. Blue tongue lizards rely on bluffing tactics for survival. They just need is plenty of shelter and food. Blue-tongued skink. Rodent baits are unlikely to impact on blue-tongue lizards, but they may affect owls or any other animals if they eat the lizards. to warm up their cold-blooded bodies, so it’s very common to spot one in your backyard at this time of year. Lots of rocks and logs on the ground, piles of leaves, mulch, ground covers and low shrubs are ideal as beetles, spiders, snails and other critters will like the many m… A: Like the French, blue-tongues see snails as a delicacy. Let your blue tongue skink acclimatize for around 2 weeks before you start handling it. First off - don't panic, they are not poisonous and they greatest defence is bluff! If, during brumation, the lizard is finding that the spot it has chosen to stay is not suitable – it may be too warm or too cold, or if they feel in danger – they will seek out a new place to stay. By puffing out its body this helps the animal look larger than it really is, and the blue tongue is a warning that this animal may be toxic or dangerous. For some reason, some people are quite superstitious and rumours have led people to believe that they are dangerous, poisonous or even venomous. Look no further than native grasses for a low-maintenance garden option. The blue tongue's main defense strategy is bluff: It faces the threat and opens its mouth. Here’s everything you need to know so you and your visitor can live in harmony. If they don’t have one, you can report them to the Department for Environment and Water. In most cases, the bite will not even break your skink as they only have tiny, undeveloped teeth. The skink is a ground-dweller. I'm a little worried about this because my blue tongues enclosure is in my bed room. The legs are small and can often be overlooked, a situation which sometimes means the harmless bluetongue, with its large triangular head, is mistaken for a dangerous snake and inadvertently killed. Bluetongue disease is a noncontagious, insect-borne, viral disease of ruminants, mainly sheep and less frequently cattle, yaks, goats, buffalo, deer, dromedaries, and antelope.It is caused by Bluetongue virus (BTV).The virus is transmitted by the midges Culicoides imicola, Culicoides variipennis, and … Has a blue-tongue lizard made your backyard its home? This approach can be dangerous, as the lizard will likely attack. The Australian Blue Tongue Lizard. During moulting season you might see them scratching themselves like a dog. When threatened the lizard will dart toward its prey, open its mouth and display its blue tongue. You can then use a broom to gently sweep it into the box and move it to a place as close as possible to its existing home on your property. While blue-tongue lizards will mostly be docile, if the lizard is scared it may bite, so be sure to protect yourself by wearing gloves when handling it. Blue Tongue skinks are diurnal, and ground-foraging animals. This bright tongue is used to ward off predators when the skink is threatened, and is one of the reasons why reptile owners love them! Disqus is not affliated with the Department for Environment and Water. A: Blue-tongue lizards are a prey species for some snakes, so it is possible that if you have a blue-tongue lizard in your yard there may also be a snake. Keen to create a native garden but not sure where to begin? When an eastern blue-tongued lizard feels threatened, it turns towards the source and opens its mouth wide to stick out its broad blue tongue that it is in sharp contrast with its pink mouth. The species include the eastern bluetongue lizard … Here are some easy steps to get you started. Supporting its legs – so it still feels connected to something solid – will help to make it feel more comfortable. 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