Distribution: Southern Australia
Habitat: Coastal areas
Description: Western Blue-tongue Skinks are smooth-scaled and have a broad, triangular shaped head. Wide, dark-coloured bands run across the skink’s body and tail. They also have a fleshy blue tongue, which gives them their name.
Diet: Blue-tongue Skinks are omnivores and feed on invertebrates, snails and slugs, flowers and fruit.
In the wild: Adult females give birth to 4–10 (usually 5) young in late summer. Western Blue-tongue Skinks are ovoviviparous, which means the offspring develop in a jelly-like sack inside the mother’s body before they are born.
When threatened, a Blue-tongue Skink will flatten its body, hiss and open its mouth to display the blue tongue to scare the predator away. Skinks are often eaten by central Australian Aborigines and their other predators include snakes, monitors and raptors (birds of prey).
Threats: Land clearing has resulted in habitat loss for this lizard. They are also poached and sold on the illegal pet trade.
At Perth Zoo: The mixed exhibit inside the Reptile Encounter is home to a number of skinks and lizards.