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Blue Tongue Lizards in My Backyard

Author:

Lady Rain works as a daytime stock trader and writes about crafts and hobbies. She likes travelling and making papercraft models.

Healthy Snack for Bluey

Bluey sticks his tongue out all the time to frighten off other animals and predators.

Bluey sticks his tongue out all the time to frighten off other animals and predators.

Where can you find blue tongue lizards?

Blue tongue lizards are commonly found in home backyards in Australia. They have big heads, long bodies and of course, blue tongues. Their legs are small and short. In general, male lizards have larger heads than female lizards. The females are bigger than the males when they reach adult size up to 60cm in length.

The head of a blue tongue lizard looks similar to that of a snake. If part of its body is hidden under some leaves or shrubs, it can easily be mistaken for a dangerous snake in the bush and be killed.

It is usually out and about on a warm day, so you may find one basking in the garden or wondering around looking for food in the afternoon.

Like all reptiles, lizards are cold blooded which means they do not produce any body heat. The surrounding temperatures affect their body temperature. Blue tongue lizards are more active when their body temperatures are above 28°C. They also tend to eat more when the day is warm.

In winter, the blue tongue lizard are dormant but they do not really hibernate. On sunny days in winter, they can be spotted basking for a couple of hours to warm up their bodies.


An adult lizard hiding under a hydrangea bush. Blue tongue lizards prefer a dry bed of leaves as their hiding place. During the day, they wander out to find food and catch some sunlight.

An adult lizard hiding under a hydrangea bush. Blue tongue lizards prefer a dry bed of leaves as their hiding place. During the day, they wander out to find food and catch some sunlight.

A useful guide for keeping blue tongue lizards

What do they eat?

Blue tongue lizards help to control some pests in the backyard because these lizards have an appetite for snails and slugs.

These reptiles in the wild eat anything they can find. They feed mainly on plants, fruits and small creatures like worms, snails, spiders, slugs and beetles around the garden. The lizards in the garden will eat strawberries, bananas and grapes if they can't find anything else to eat.


This blue tongue lizard is on the prowl for food. It has poor eyesight but it can smell the food I have in my hands..snails and berries.

This blue tongue lizard is on the prowl for food. It has poor eyesight but it can smell the food I have in my hands..snails and berries.

One angry lizard.

One angry lizard.

Lizard behaviour

A blue tongue lizard can be aggressive when it feels threatened. It will open its mouth really wide and stick out its broad blue tongue that usually frightens off its enemies like birds and cats. At the same time, it lets out hissing sounds and makes itself look more intimidating by puffing up and widening its body against the ground to make itself look bigger and fiercer.

Some lizards tend to bite if they are being picked up by humans, but some don't. They tend to get more tame if they are handled frequently and fed with their favourite food like strawberries and snails.


Lizards in my backyard seem to like my strawberries and gooseberries. This bluey can eat up to four strawberries at one go.

Lizards in my backyard seem to like my strawberries and gooseberries. This bluey can eat up to four strawberries at one go.

Bluey just loves snails. Having blueys in the backyard is beneficial as they help to get rid of snails that are eating up my plants.

Bluey just loves snails. Having blueys in the backyard is beneficial as they help to get rid of snails that are eating up my plants.

OMG! This snail has such a hard shell and is so hard to swallow. Nevertheless, the powerful jaw muscles of the lizard are able to crush the shell of a snail and the snail is then eaten whole.

OMG! This snail has such a hard shell and is so hard to swallow. Nevertheless, the powerful jaw muscles of the lizard are able to crush the shell of a snail and the snail is then eaten whole.

Emm....that was a yummy snack!

Emm....that was a yummy snack!

Pets to keep in backyards

How to look after them?

Here is what you can do to provide a safe environment for blue tongue lizards to live in your backyard.

  • Plant some shrubs and provide dry leaves, twigs and rocks in the garden beds for them to hide from predators and for shelter in summer.
  • Do not use snail pellets or slug baits around the garden, they will kill the blue tongue lizards that eat the dead snails.
  • Check the garden before letting the dog or cat out, if you know where the blue tongues live. Dogs and cats can kill them with a single bite.
  • Check the driveway before driving through, blue tongues like the warm concrete areas on warm days and often get run over by vehicles.
  • Look for them in the grassy areas and remove any lizards from the lawn before using the mower.
  • Watch out for baby lizards wandering everywhere in the backyard in autumn if you have a couple of adult ones around. Baby blue tongues are usually born towards the end of summer.


A baby blue tongue lizard. The babies are usually born in the summer. Sometimes I find around 5-10 babies in different parts of the backyard. Some grow into adults and went somewhere to mate. Others hang around for a few years.

A baby blue tongue lizard. The babies are usually born in the summer. Sometimes I find around 5-10 babies in different parts of the backyard. Some grow into adults and went somewhere to mate. Others hang around for a few years.

Watch A Blue Tongue Lizard Feeding on A Snail

© 2013 lady rain

Comments

lady rain (author) from Australia on October 24, 2013:

Availiasvision, blue tongue lizards are shy creatures, too. I have one living under a bush for many years before I finally saw it come out to bask in the sun. Before that, I heard "noises" every time I walked past the bush and it freaked me out! Thank you for stopping by to leave a comment.

Jennifer Arnett from California on October 23, 2013:

Wow, I've never seen one of those before. They are really cool looking. It's like having a pet that you don't have to take care of, except for the precautions you mentioned. Lovely article.

saifirizvi on May 20, 2013:

Yes, we need to take some steps to protect them. I am animal loving i love to help creatures and animals even i had 2 dogs, 3 rabbit, 5 ducks and 4 parrots.

lady rain (author) from Australia on May 19, 2013:

saifirizvi, very true -that's why we need to protect these blue tongue lizards and if possible, provide a natural environment for them if we find some of these lizards in the garden.

saifirizvi on May 19, 2013:

I think such type of reptiles getting vanished due to global warming.

lady rain (author) from Australia on May 19, 2013:

Glimmer Twin Fan, most lizards survive the winter here because we don't get snow in our place. I'm glad you loved the photos, thank you for commenting.

Claudia Mitchell on May 19, 2013:

Cool - I wish we had lizards in our garden, but it's way too cold up here in the winters. Love the photos!

lady rain (author) from Australia on May 17, 2013:

Alphadogg16, I believe there are blue tongue lizards in your country, too. Thank you for leaving a comment here.

Kevin W from Texas on May 17, 2013:

This is a very nice, informative hub, I am fascinated with all different types of reptiles. Sounds like it would make a nice pet.