The Blotched Blue Tongue Skink is one of the largest and rarest of skink breeds.
These skinks are also called Southern Blue-Tongued Lizards as well as Blotched Blue-Tongued Skinks, and they are only found in south-eastern Australia, from all the way east to Victoria and the highland areas of South Wales, and even including Tasmania.
The blotched blue-tongue is definitely one of the rarer breeds of skink in captivity, and as time has passed, it has become increasingly less common among skink owners.
Because of this, they are quite expensive to own. Captive-bred (CB) blotches can easily fetch at least a few $1,000. In fact, I’ve actually seen some be sold for as much as $8,000!
Unlike the Adelaide pygmy skink, blotched blueys actually have bright, fleshy blue tongues. They use their tongues as a defensive mechanism; when a they come across a potential predator, they turn toward it, stretch open their huge mouths and stick and flick their bright,blue tongue in the air.
This, in conjunction with their hissing and flattening out their body, will make them more menacing and larger than they actually are, and is usually enough to scare off would-be predators.
One of the largest of skink breeds, they usually grow to around 18″ in length, with a good 1/3 of that being their tail, which by the way, can fall off if grabbed by a predator!
Like other skinks they have a long, chubby body with a bulbous head and short legs and toes.
The females are usually a bit bigger than the males, but they are also a bit thinner with a relatively smaller head.
Although blotched skinks are quite expensive to buy, they do handle captivity very well, just like other skinks.
They are able to eat a wide-range of foods and often live around 20 years in a safe, secure habitat. Some have reportedly lived for as long as 30 years!
Although they can look a bit intimidating when threatened, blotched blue-tongues are very tame, and are not aggressive animals at all, even in the wild. Instead, blotched blueys prefer to rely on camouflage and remaining still rather than fighting back.
However, just because they aren’t aggressive doesn’t mean they won’t ever bite! Though luckily, they don’t have teeth and only do this as a last resort.
In their natural habitat, they love to remain in wet and dry forests, woodlands and coastal areas. They also prefer lowland climates and altitudes, becoming increasingly less common as the altitude increases up into the highlands.
They can be found in tall grasses, laying around rocks and logs and even in suburban drainpipes. At night they prefer to remain hidden under piles of leaves, bushes and other natural obstacles.
Like other skinks they are omnivores, munching on passing by insects, snakes, mice and smaller rodents, as well as flowers, seeds, fruits and other kinds of vegetation.
As I noted above, blotched blue-tongues become increasingly rare the higher the altitude, however there are some differences between the blue-tongues that live in those highlands (called “alpines”), verses those that occupy the lowlands (called “lowlands”).
The biggest difference is simply color, with the alpine blotched skinks being lighter and brighter in color, with the lowland blotched blue-tongues having more darker shades of colors.
The other substantial difference are their litter sizes. Alpine blue-tonges give birth to larger sized but few babies (around 5) than the lowland skinks, which give birth to smaller-sized but more babies (around 10 to 11).
The early spring is their mating season ,with most females giving birth during the autumn, but can be as late as the winter.
Like a lot of other skinks, the babies become independent very quickly.
Nearly every baby skink will leave the nesting area after only a few days to begin fending for themselves.
Unfortunately, as is common in the wild skink world, most will never see adulthood.
Although blotched blue-tonged skinks are not endangered or threatened as a species, the chances of a baby skink reaching full maturity are incredibly low.
The biggest threats to their survival are:
- Reptile ticks that attach themselves around the ears
- Parasitic worms
- Predatory birds such as falcons
- Larger snakes
- Feral dogs and cats
Those aren’t the only threats though, as blotched blue-tongues can often be found in suburban and rural areas that have been developed by humans.
Because they like to hide out in tall grasses, they are at severe risk of being maimed or killed by lawnmowers. Unlike a lot of other animals, they won’t run away when being threatened (as they are too slow), and instead prefer to freeze and hide.
But perhaps the bigger killer of blotched blue-tongues is by cars. Southern blue-tongues need to bask in the sun daily, and they are incredibly attracted to paved roads that can heat up quickly on a hot summer’s day.
That, coupled with the fact that they don’t scurry away easily leads hundreds of them to die on roads every year in Australia.
Overall however, they very unique pets, and owning a blotched blue-tongue will certainly set you apart from just about every other skink owner out there.
If you are interested in purchasing one, then I would suggest only going through a reputable breeder. Contact any of the below people for more information on availability: