If you are interested in the Northern Blue-Tongued Skink, this quick guide will tell you what you need to know the most.
Despite the fact that the Irian Jaya Blue-Tongued Skink was first discovered only a few decades ago, back in the 1990s, it still doesn’t even have a proper scientific name. It’s simply known as “Tiliqua sp.” in Latin.
By the way, you pronounce these species like this:
That’s because the scientific community hasn’t widely agreed on whether or not it’s actually a different species, or even how to recognise and distinguish Irian Jayas from other skinks.
For a while, Irian Jayas were erroneously referred to as “New Guinea Blue-Tongues”, even though that is another name for the Indonesian skink.
Many surmise that these skinks are simply hybrids of other skinks, but that isn’t quite clear.
The reason that Irian Jayas are so misunderstood is due to the fact that it is very difficult to tell them apart from Indonesian and Australian skinks. Irian Jayas, unlike Indonesians and Australians, do not have consistent patterns or colors.
They are however, different from Australians and Indonesians in a few different ways.
- Their tails are much longer than other skink species
- Their limbs are different in color, but never black
Although they vary widely in appearance, size and color, when other breeds (such as Australian or Indonesian) mate and mix with Irian Jayas, their offspring always inherit the Irian Jaya characteristics and traits.
There are a few ways to help you identify them however:
First, is to look at their coloring. They often have very thick, dark stripes that contrast with an almost peace-like undertone. Their underside can be a ton of different colors, from reds, oranges, and various other light-shades.
Secondly, if it was purchased, it may have been shipped with the label of “scincoides”, which was a wrong classification given to it way back in the 90s, which is still in use to this day when breeders or exporters are unsure of what species it is.
Thirdly, if it’s definitely not an Australian or Indonesia Blue-Tongue, there is a good chance it’s an Irian Jaya.
Doing this, you can’t always be for sure, but it will help reduce the number of possibilities in determine what species you are looking at.
The good news however, is that despite all of this, Irian Jayas are rather inexpensive and easy to obtain. That wasn’t always the case however, as just a decade or so ago, Irian Jayas were still thought to be rare, and thus, they were quite a bit more expensive to own.
As far as breeding is concerned, Irian Jayas are similar to Australians, in that they produce 5 to 15 babies, which quickly become independent and start fending for themselves.
The best place to inquire about getting an Irian Jaya is through a reputable blue-tongue skink breeder, that has been vouched for by others.
I would strongly recommend that you inquire with the two groups below to start the process of finding a breeder nearby, before moving on to pet stores or online pet markets.