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Lily and the Blue Tongue

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Inspiration for this week’s blog came while hanging stingersuits to dry after a photoshoot and I saw Lily watching a beautiful blue tongue lizard eating a worm on our back lawn. Although cats are blue tongue’s worst predator, Lily, our little rescue cat, is afraid of her own shadow so she just sits and watches.

For those of you who don’t know what a blue tongue is, here’s the low down:

In Australia, most gardens have had, or will have, a resident blue tongue at some point. There are 6 species here and although called lizards, they are actually a skink. The head and body, which is a grey color with broad brown stripes, measures about 30 cm long. Interestingly, their short stubby tail can be dropped to escape a predator and will regenerate in a year’s time! If this happens, since all reserves of food and water are stored in the tail, Mr Blue Tongue needs to be very busy to survive. Being omnivores, they eat plants plus beetles, crickets, slugs and snails so are good to have in your garden. One important thing though, if you use snail bait, it will kill the snail and the blue tongue when it eats it. So please avoid using it. Oh yes, if you leave dog food outside for Fido, they will eat that as well!

The females, which are bigger than the males, tend to stay in a fairly defined home base whereas the males go ‘walkabout’ over an area the size of 15 house blocks and apparently have several ‘girlfriends’. Hmmmm, so that trait isn’t restricted to Homo Sapiens!

If a Bluey (Aussie slang) senses danger, it will open its mouth really wide revealing a blue tongue against a bright pink background which they do trying to bluff their way out of trouble. Although typically a fairly docile critter, if one is hissing and flattening its body out, don’t pick it up for it will bite you and it can hurt quite a bit. Remember, they eat snails so your finger is no match.

Here's a few Utube links for a little more insight into these cool little fellows!

Since these beautiful lizards live for 20 years or more, I dare say I’ll see this one again from time to time. Maybe we should do an Aussie Blue Tongue stinger suit with a detachable tail for those pesky sharks!

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