What Do Blue-Tongue Skinks Eat?

Written by Jude Speegle
Published: May 12, 2022
Image Credit EWStock/Shutterstock.com
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With blue tongues and smooth skin these unique reptiles are sure to have a diet that is just as unique. Not many know about these dynamic skink lizards. What do blue-tongue skinks eat with thier incredible blue-hued eating apparatus?

What Are Blue-Tongue Skinks?

Blue Tongued Skink Lizard
These skink lizards are 1 of 5 animals in the world that have blue tongues.

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Blue-tongue skinks are a variety of skink, which is a lizard with a smooth body, not scaly like a bearded dragon. They either have no limbs at all or have short stubby ones. 

However, it’s not just limbs or lacktherof that keep them from being snakes. They also have external ears, whereas snakes have internal ones. Another aspect that puts them in the lizard family is they have eyelids and can blink. Indeed, snakes cannot blink.

Blue-tongue skinks are one of only five animals in the world known to have blue tongues, and they also give birth to live offspring. 

What Do Blue-Tongue Skinks Eat?

Giant blue-tongued skink lizard or Tiliqua gigas isolated on white background
Blue tongue skinks are omnivores that eat invertebrates like spiders, crickets or worms along with various plants, fruits and seeds.

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Blue-tongue skinks are omnivores that eat a diet of invertebrates and plants. They enjoy crickets, earthworms, locusts, roaches as well as berries, bananas, apples and squash.

According to the journal Amphibia-Reptilia, the blue-tongue skink often eats arthropods and some plants. Arthropods are insects without a backbone, such as spiders. In addition to insects like beetles they’re known to eat insect larvae, as stated in Australian Zoologist.

When it comes to plants, most blue-tongue skinks eat flowers, fruits and berries.

Blue-tongue skinks are an excellent and unique species of lizard. They can eat a variety of insects, fruits, and vegetables, making them a fun pet to keep. They also can scavenge leftover carcasses for sustenance, which means they are hardy survivors.

Lists of Foods Blue-Tongue Skinks Eat

A blue tongue skink kept as a pet can eat a broader mixture of food because we have access to insects uncommon in their native flora. Arthropods they can eat include:

  • Calcium Worms
  • Crickets
  • Earthworms
  • Locusts
  • Silkworms
  • Snails
  • Roaches

As pets, blue-tongue skinks are easily fed. Most pet stores and lizard specialty stores have access to all the fresh insects they need to live long and happy lives. 

When it comes to fruits and plants, these include:

  • Apple
  • Banana
  • Blackberries
  • Blueberries
  • Green Beans
  • Pears
  • Raspberries
  • Strawberries
  • Squash

Foods Blue-Tongue Skinks Can Not Eat

Never feed a blue-tongue skink citrus fruit such as lemons, limes, or oranges. These are toxic to these lizards and may cause digestive problems.

One fascinating fact about the blue-tongue skink is that the toxins produced by the cane toad are lethal to this lizard.

According to the journal Wildlife Research, The consumption of cane toads could lead to them to become an endangered species. 

Where Do Blue Tongue Skinks Live?

Blue tongue skinks are native to Australia and New Guinea.

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Blue-tongue skinks hail from Australia. The continent is known for the most diverse animal populations. Thousands of animals are native only to Australia. This is true for both plants and animals. The isolation the land provides has led to beautiful examples of flora and fauna—what a fantastic place to explore.

In Australia and New Guinea, blue-tongue skinks are as ordinary as a household lizard is in Florida. Dogs and cats love chasing after them, so they have to be watchful of predators.

Cold-blooded creatures, the blue-tongue skinks burrow in sand for warmth and thrive in tropical regions.

Why Do They Have Blue Tongues?

Blue-tongue skinks have blue tongues to intimidate predators.

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While all lizards have unique tongues, the blue-tongue skink is a particularly striking example. Blue-tongue skinks have blue tongues primarily to intimidate potential predators. This is according to a study published in the journal of Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology

The color at the back of their mouth is more UV reactive and brighter than the tip of the tongue, so it stands out better to predators. The front of the tongue is less UV reactive and is targeted more toward other lizards. It was tested by having them extend it toward a perceived threat.

Are Blue-Tongue Skinks Poisonous?

Aposematism is a mechanism of advertising a dangerous nature to potential predators. It often manifests as bright colors that suggest toxicity of other difficulties. Blue-tongue skinks are considered poisonous by potential predators, but it’s a trick! Their tongue is an anomaly of evolution because it isn’t poisonous but keeps them safe. 

They can also use their tongue to smell the air like a snake does. Cats also have special scent glands in their mouths. Since their tongue can smell, they can use it for smelling food or attracting mates, among other things.

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About the Author

Jude is a writer both by trade and by heart. They have been writing since a very young age and have eight years of professional writing experience. Passionate about animals, Jude has three birds and three cats.