EASTERN BLUETONGUE Tiliqua scincoides (White, ex Shaw, 1790)
Found in a number of habitats in south-eastern Australia, the Eastern Bluetongue is probably Australia's best known skink. It grows up to 60 cm, though averaging 45 cm. It is usually but not always greyish in colour, and has a distinctive appearance and pattern. More than one species may be included here. Specimens from west of the Great Divide are sufficiently different from those in coastal and adjacent areas to be at least a different subspecies. (Some obvious external differences are illustrated.)
When disturbed this lizard will often stand its ground, hissing loudly, puffing up its body and holding its mouth agape to reveal its blue tongue. Although this lizard appears to lack well-defined teeth, it is capable of delivering a powerful bite. When biting humans, this species has the habit of not letting go, adding to the pain inflicted.
Where ground cover is thick, this short-limbed species will often move in a snake-like manner, resulting in many specimens being killed in mistake for snakes, particularly Death Adders Acanthophis antarcticus.
The Eastern Bluetongue feeds on most types of animal material small enough to be eaten, as well as plant material. This diurnal lizard commonly lives in suburban back gardens and is commonly kept as a pet. It is hardy in captivity, becoming completely docile and thriving on bananas and canned petfood.
It gives birth to an average of twelve, 10-cm live young in summer.
The above was from the book Australian Reptiles and Frogs by Raymond Hoser and now available on a fantastic CD-Rom along with a vast amount of other information, papers and the like on reptiles, frogs and other wildlife.