Northern vs Indonesian Blue Tongue Skinks | Key Differences
7 Differences Between Northern and Indonesian Blue Tongue Skinks
Blue tongue skinks are fascinating reptiles and wonderful pets known for their vibrant blue tongues. Within the blue tongue skink family, two distinct subspecies stand out: the Northern Blue Tongue Skink (Tiliqua scincoides intermedia) and the Indonesian Blue Tongue Skink (Tiliqua gigas). While they share some similarities, they also have notable differences. If you are trying to decide which blue tongue skink species to own as a pet, it is beneficial to know these main differences. Let's explore seven key distinctions between these two remarkable species.
1. Geographic Origin:
The primary distinction between the Northern and Indonesian Blue Tongue Skinks lies in their respective native regions. Northern Blue Tongue Skinks are found in the northern parts of Australia, while Indonesian Blue Tongue Skinks originate from the Indonesian archipelago.
2. Size and Appearance:
Northern Blue Tongue Skinks tend to be larger in size compared to their Indonesian counterparts. Adult animals can reach lengths of up to 24 inches (60 cm), while Indonesian Blue Tongue Skinks typically grow to around 18 inches (45 cm). In terms of appearance, both species exhibit a range of colors and patterns, but the Northern Blue Tongue Skink often features darker and more pronounced banding. Due to captive breeding efforts with Northern Blue Tongue Skinks, there are many different morphs available to the pet trade.
3. Scale Texture:
Another notable difference lies in the texture of their scales. Northern Blue Tongue Skinks have a rougher, grainy texture on their scales, while Indonesian Blue Tongue Skinks possess smoother scales that are somewhat glossy in appearance.
4. Temperature and Humidity Tolerance:
Given their native habitats, these skinks have adapted to different ranges. Northern Blue Tongue Skinks are more cold-tolerant, capable of surviving cooler temperatures. In contrast, Indonesian Blue Tongue Skinks thrive in warmer environments and are less tolerant of colder climates. In addition, Indonesian Blue Tongue Skinks require higher levels of humidity than the semi-arid Northern Blue Tongue Skink
5. Diet and Feeding Habits:
While both species are omnivorous, there are some variations in their dietary preferences. Northern Blue Tongue Skinks have a more varied diet, feeding on a combination of plant matter, insects, and small vertebrates. Indonesian Blue Tongue Skinks, on the other hand, primarily consume vegetation, including fruits, flowers, and leafy greens.
Reproductive behaviors also differ between the two species. Northern Blue Tongue Skinks generally breed in the spring or early summer, with the female giving birth to live young after a gestation period of around 4-5 months. Indonesian Blue Tongue Skinks, on the other hand, are egg-layers and deposit their eggs in nests dug in the ground. The incubation period lasts for approximately 3 months.
7. Availability in the Pet Trade:
Both Northern and Indonesian Blue Tongue Skinks are popular choices as pets, but their availability can vary. Northern Blue Tongue Skinks are more commonly found in the pet trade due to their success with captive breeding. Indonesian Blue Tongue Skinks, however, tend to be rarer and often wild-caught.
While the Northern and Indonesian Blue Tongue Skinks share similarities as members of the blue tongue skink family, these seven key differences highlight the distinct traits and characteristics that set them apart. Whether you're a blue tongue skink parent already or considering owning one of these captivating lizards, understanding these disparities can help you make an informed choice and provide the best care for your blue tongue skink companion.
To learn more about blue tongue skinks and their care, check out our other articles here! If you're looking for the perfect blue tongue skink enclosure so your skink can thrive, you can find their perfect habitat here at Zen Habitats!
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