All blue tongue skinks belong to the genus Tiliqua, which can be found throughout Indonesia and Australia. This is a brief overview of 11 commercially available blue tongue skink subspecies, with a few notes on each. Pricing information is based on United States availability. It should be noted that Australian species are much more difficult to acquire (in the US) due to strict exportation laws.
Indonesian Blue Tongue Skink Subspecies
Wild caught animals are referred to as “WC,” and captive bred are referred to as “CB.” All Indonesian blue tongue skink subspecies are typically wild caught (WC), since exporting animals out of Indonesia is not illegal.
Classic Indonesian (Tiliqua gigas gigas):
Classic Indonesians are identifiable by their earthy yellow or greenish coloring, speckling between bands, solid black forelimbs, and thin black markings on the head. $125-$250 WC, $225-$250 CB
Halmahera Indonesian (Tiliqua gigas gigas):
Though they are the same subspecies as the Classic, Halmaheras are recognized as different because of their reddish coloring (sometimes gray) and thin black markings on the head. The easiest way to tell between a Merauke and a Halmahera is by looking at the belly; Halmaheras have a black or black and white belly. $125-$250 WC, $225-$250 CB
Irian Jaya (Tiliqua ssp):
Irian Jayas are the oddballs of the Tiliqua genus. They’re not considered “true” blue tongue skinks, but they’re categorized under “Tiliqua” because scientists don’t know what to do with them yet. They tend to have speckled forelimbs and brown (rather than black) bands with minimal speckling in-between. $125-$250 WC, $225-$250 CB
Kei Island (Tiliqua gigas keyensis):
Kei Island blue tongues are another subspecies of Tiliqua gigas. But they are one of my favorites, distinguished by their unique freckled appearance that extends to the head. $125-$250 WC, $225-$250 CB
Merauke (Tiliqua gigas evanescens):
Yet another subspecies of Tiliqua gigas. They can be distinguished by the freckling on their arms, distinct banding along the length of the body (most specimens lack freckling in-between, but not all), and a salmon orange-colored belly. $125-$250 WC, $225-$250 CB
Tanimbar (Tiliqua scincoides chimaera):
Tanimbars are known for their extremely hard and glossy scales, with a feisty temperament to boot. They are typically silver, gray, or yellow in color, and are known for producing large clutches of over 20 live-born babies. $175-$250 WC, $225-$250 CB
Australian Blue Tongue Skink Subspecies
Australian species of blue tongue skink are more difficult to get in the United States, as extremely strict laws all but prevent export. So while they tend to be more tame due to captive breeding, they are also much more expensive.
Blotched (Tiliqua nigrolutea):
Blotched blue tongues grow up to 24″ (60 cm) long and tend to have longer lifespans—up to 30 years (Kaplan). They’re absolutely gorgeous — yellow, orange, and red blotches contrasting with a black background. $2000-$2500
Centralian (Tiliqua multifasciata):
Centralian blueys grow about 15-18 inches long, with a short tail, stout body, and large head (Kaplan). They possess very distinct black bands behind each eye, but banding along the length of the body tends to be thin and yellow, orange, red, or light brown in color. $4500-$5000
Eastern (Tiliqua scincoides scincoides):
Eastern skinks grow about 18-24 inches long and are the most common blue tongue skink in Australia. Like the Western they feature bold dark bands behind the eyes, but the banding along the body is less distinct. $750-$800
Northern (Tiliqua scincoides intermedia):
Northerns are the most popular blue tongue skink species, having become very tame through generations of captive breeding. They are identifiable by a lack of banding behind the eye, yellow or orange oval splotches along the sides, and solid gray or beige forelimbs. They are the easiest Australian species to find in the United States, and they grow up to 24″ (60 cm) long. $250-$350.
Shingleback/Bobtail (Tiliqua rugosa):
Shingleback skinks feature distinctive bumpy scales, with a stumpy tail that can’t be dropped. Further unlike other blue tongues, young are raised in family colonies, and they mate for life. $4000-$5000
Western (Tiliqua occipitalis):
Western blue tongues feature a notably short tail, a bold black band behind each eye, and thicker banding along the body than seen in other species. Westerns grow up to 20″ (50 cm) long. $4500
Can’t get enough? Subspecies are just the beginning! Here is a video by renowned blue tongue skink breeder Joe Ball on his projects with blue tongue skink morphs:
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