Northern Blue Tongue Skink (Mitchell 1955)
Tiliqua scincoides intermedia

Text Written by James Wilson

The Northern Blue-tongued Skink is the most readily available captive-bred blue-tongue in this country, making it very popular with US hobbyists. Its popularity is well deserved in that it is almost always docile in temperament and that it readily breeds in captivity. Because of these traits it is safe to say that the Northern Blue-tongued Skink is bred more often in this country than any other blue-tongue.

Description

The Northern blue-tongued skink is generally paler than the Eastern blue-tongue, and usually grows to a larger adult size. The Northern blue-tongue's back is patterned similar to that of the Eastern blue-tongue, very often with numerous white scales inside the dark bands. As the pattern moves down onto the flanks, the dark bands become bright yellow-orange blotches, while the paler interspaces transform into dark brown blotches, creating a contrasting pattern of alternating yellow-orange and dark brown blotches down the side. The head is light grey or tan in coloration, and is lacking the dark temporal streak often seen on the Eastern blue-tongue. The forelimbs are usually the same color as the head, and are always lighter in coloration than the hind limbs. The anterior temporal scales on the Northern blue-tongue are elongated and much longer than the other temporal scales. The Northern blue-tongue has 34-40 mid-body scale rows, and the tail accounts for 55-60% of the snout-vent length. There are many claims of these skinks reaching lengths of 30 inches (76 cm). However, I have personally never seen a Northern blue-tongued skink over 24 inches (61 cm) as of yet. Females can produce up to 25 live young.

Distribution and Habitat

The Northern blue-tongued skink inhabits the drier open woodlands and grasslands of northern Australia. Its range extends from Western Australia (along the northern Australian coast) through the Northern Territory and into Queensland.