We were only 3 minutes away from home, turning the final corners on familiar roads after a big morning down on the Gold Coast. And I spotted it; this blue-tongued skink was (literally) in the middle of the road.
Since I adore all animals*, including reptiles I slowed right down and looked if it was safe to cross over to the other side of this mostly-quiet street. With no oncoming traffic I just lingered, with our big 4WD, in the middle of the road. While I asked my partner to keep an eye on our new lizard friend's progress getting off the road, I kept my eyes on the back mirrors to look for traffic behind me, and then flicked them forward again to look for more cars coming our way. Thankfully, there none, and as our lizard friend made it safely onto the footpath, I straightened up the car and got off the road.
With the car parked, we both hopped out to check out this full-sized "bluey" as they're known. See the photo above to see this one's blue tongue in action! The blue tongue is designed to be scary to potential predators. And while we meant no harm to this lizard, it probably had no idea that we wanted just the opposite for it; for it to live on and thrive.
As Brad continued to get close to this oversized skink (it was about the length of my forearm), it kept using all the tricks in the book to make itself look scary. It flattened its belly/torso area to make itself look as BIG as possible. It walked using only its two front feet so the rest of its body dragged on the ground making its movement look like that of a snake. And it kept flashing that brilliant blue tongue!
It was impressive to say the least, but as someone who grew up in the bush I knew it was pretty close to harmless to humans as big as us. As long as Brad kept his bare toes away from its mouth, we were going to walk away with nothing but smiles on our faces.
Want some facts about this creature?
Common name: Blue-tongued skink
Scientific name: Tiliqua scincoides
Colour and pattern: Varies, but most blue-tongues are basically
grey-brown with distinct dark brown to black bands.
Offspring: Blue-tongues do not lay eggs. They are live-bearers and
give birth, usually in early summer, to up to 25 young.
Location: Blue-tongues are found in a wide variety of habitats
over much of Australia, in open forests, heathlands and
Food: Both adults and young eat snails, insects, birds’ eggs and
a variety of vegetable matter.
Credit must go to Queensland Museum for all the above facts! These are direct quotes from one of their fact sheets on skinks 🦎
All photos are ours.
*And okay, maybe I don't adore ALL animals. I rather dislike mosquitoes!! But lucky for me, blue-tongued skinks love them 😉