The Pygmy Blue Tongued Skink (T. adelaidensis Peters, 1863)
(Also known as the Dwarf blue tongued skink)

These are the 'midgets' of the blue tongues, rarely reaching lengths of over 6-7 inches (females grow slightly larger than males)! The name is spelled both 'Pygmy' & 'Pigmy', and they're exceptionally rare. They're not simply just rare however, they were actually thought completely extinct for over 20 years until an adult male was found in the stomach of a road killed brown snake in 1992. The lizard had only recently been consumed, and was still whole and in perfect condition. This amazing discovery proved that there were still specimens alive and living in the immediate area. Observation groups were immediately organized and more small groups were found in and around Adelaide, Australia. It is estimated that only about 5000 remain today, but there are many people right now working to increase their numbers. Thanks to their efforts, this unique animal is slowly recovering. Litter sizes are very small ranging from 1-5 babies, and they measure in at only 3-5 inches. They live mostly underground taking over spider burrows in the grasslands of Adelaide. Fun fact: In a book written by Edgar Waite in 1929, the Pygmy was described as the "Doubtful blue tongue" he suggested that perhaps this species was misidentified, and veritably only a baby or juvenile of a larger blue tongue. This mysterious lizard has only truly been researched in the last decade, and is still by far the most arcane species of all BTS. One last facet, it is illegal to privately own a Pygmy BTS, and only two assemblies in Australia are known to have them: the South Australian Museum has one adult male, and the Adelaide Zoo has a small breeding group (no known results yet).

Distinguishing characteristics:

    Smallest of all blue tongued skinks
    Very small variegated scales with no real stripes or patterns
    Head is often disproportionately large to body
    Short, very thin tail
Information about the Pygmy Blue Tongue
Map of the Pygmy Blue Tongue's Territory
Recovery Plan for the Pygmy Blue Tongue


Photo: Glenn Shea



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This animal (pictured above & below) was caught as a newborn, and is now 11 years old. It is kept legally at the South Australian Museum. Thanks to Mark for the pictures!

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