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Living with Blue Tongue Lizards in My Garden
Healthy Snack for Bluey
Where can you find blue tongue lizards?
Blue tongue lizards are commonly found in home backyards in Australia. They have big heads, long bodies and of course, blue tongues. Their legs are small and short. In general, male lizards have larger heads than female lizards. The females are bigger than the males when they reach adult size up to 60cm in length.
The head of a blue tongue lizard looks similar to that of a snake. If part of its body is hidden under some leaves or shrubs, it can easily be mistaken for a dangerous snake in the bush and be killed.
It is usually out and about on a warm day, so you may find one basking in the garden or wondering around looking for food in the afternoon.
Like all reptiles, lizards are cold blooded which means they do not produce any body heat. The surrounding temperatures affect their body temperature. Blue tongue lizards are more active when their body temperatures are above 28°C. They also tend to eat more when the day is warm.
In winter, the blue tongue lizard are dormant but they do not really hibernate. On sunny days in winter, they can be spotted basking for a couple of hours to warm up their bodies.
What do they eat?
Blue tongue lizards help to control some pests in the backyard because these lizards have an appetite for snails and slugs.
These reptiles in the wild eat anything they can find. They feed mainly on plants, fruits and small creatures like worms, snails, slugs and beetles around the garden. The lizards in the garden will eat strawberries, bananas and grapes if they can't find anything else to eat.
A blue tongue lizard can be aggressive when it feels threatened. It will open its mouth really wide and stick out its broad blue tongue that usually frightens off its enemies like birds and cats. At the same time, it lets out hissing sounds and makes itself look more intimidating by puffing up and widening its body against the ground to make itself look bigger and fiercer.
Some lizards tend to bite if they are being picked up by humans, but some don't. They tend to get more tame if they are handled frequently and fed with their favourite food like strawberries and snails.
How to look after them?
Here is what you can do to provide a safe environment for blue tongue lizards to live in your backyard.
- Plant some shrubs and provide dry leaves, twigs and rocks in the garden beds for them to hide from predators and for shelter in summer.
- Do not use snail pellets or slug baits around the garden, they will kill the blue tongue lizards that eat the dead snails.
- Check the garden before letting the dog or cat out, if you know where the blue tongues live. Dogs and cats can kill them with a single bite.
- Check the driveway before driving through, blue tongues like the warm concrete areas on warm days and often get run over by vehicles.
- Look for them in the grassy areas and remove any lizards from the lawn before using the mower.
- Watch out for baby lizards wandering everywhere in the backyard in autumn if you have a couple of adult ones around. Baby blue tongues are usually born towards the end of summer.
Watch A Blue Tongue Lizard Feeding on A Snail
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