United States Edition

Prickles's Blue tongue lizard x 1 Sown

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Ah, the dear old blue tongue, guaranteed to give many an Aussie gardener a near heart attack or palpitations, to say the least.

Growing to a length of 60cm it is difficult to realise how easily these creatures are overlooked or go unnoticed – unnoticed, that is, until one almost steps on one or reaches out a hand to pull a weed and a serpentine head rerars up.

Arrrgh! (gasp) it’s ok, only a blue tongue.

The largest of the Australian skink family, the blue tongue (Tiliqua scincoides) is spread right across the continent and can be found from tropical Queensland to the island state of Tasmania. They have a cream-grey body with dark bands which, one would think, makes them easily sighted but in common with a lot of Australian wildlife it seems to work well as a camouflage.

When alarmed it flattens its body so as to appear larger and will open its mouth presenting this amazingly blue tongue but its most-used defence is stillness. It can remain motionless for long periods much to its disadvantage for I have run over one with a motor mower.

The blue tongue has a very soft body and is no match for a determined dog attack or even a ferocious cat, still they continue to populate our gardens seemingly co-existing quite affably with the human intruders.

Their diet consists of slugs and snails, berries and occasional dropped fruit. After a rain, they can be heard during the night crunching on a snail. Bon appetit!


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