Backyard Buddies
Blue Tongue lizard

Photo: Peripitus

Blue Tongue lizard

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Blue tongue lizards are one of the largest lizards found in many Australian backyards. With their bright blue tongues, you will recognise them straight away.

Baby blue tongues do not hatch from eggs but are born fully formed. They can live for more than 20 years and reach over 50cm in length.

While young, they are vulnerable to currawongs and kookaburras but their greatest threat is from uncontrolled dogs and cats.

Female blue tongues stay within a defined home base. Males wander over about 15 house blocks and have several females. Mating sometimes looks like a fight, and injuries do happen.

They are not venomous, but they will sometimes bite hard if handled. You may find one sunning itself on your garden paving on a warm day, or sheltering under a rock or log when it’s too hot. Like all lizards, blue tongues need to regulate their temperature by moving in and out of the warmth.

Blue tongue lizards are very useful buddies, eating the snails, slugs and caterpillars that attack your favourite plants.

Blue tongue lizards rely on bluffing tactics for survival. When threatened, they’ll open their mouths wide and stick out their broad blue tongue. They may even hiss and puff up to make themselves look fiercer.

These tactics are great against many natural dangers. But if blue tongues are to prosper in close contact with us, they need a little extra help to keep them safe from harm.

Simple things that you do can make a huge difference to Australia’s animals. That’s why the Foundation for National Parks & Wildlife is running Backyard Buddies— to give you tips to help.

What is a backyard buddy?

Backyard buddies are the native animals that share our built-up areas, our beaches and waterways, our backyards and our parks. The blue tongue lizard is a backyard buddy.

Backyard buddies are also the local people who value the living things around them, like the blue tongue lizard, and are willing to protect and encourage them by doing a few simple things around their own homes.

So you can be a backyard buddy.

Be a backyard buddy

It’s easy. All you have to do is care... and take a few simple steps.

Step one is to find out what blue tongue lizards do and do not like.

Blue tongues love:

A warm spot – in a sunny part of your yard, near shelter.

A safe place to hide – usually in gaps between rocks or bricks, a wood pile, or in a clay pipe.

Food – especially snails, slugs, caterpillars and beetles. They may also help themselves to your tomatoes or strawberries.

Shrubs and rocks – which provide safe paths around the garden and protection from predators.

But they don’t like:

Snail and slug bait – which will poison them when they eat contaminated snails or slugs.

Cats and dogs – which frighten or even attack them.

Being handled – as they dislike losing contact with solid ground.

Be a blue tongue buddy

Try to:

Avoid:

Don’t be surprised if:

Find out more about your buddies

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