The Eastern Shingleback Lizard (Tiliqua rugose asper) is a reptile in the Scincidae family of blue-tongued skinks. It is also called the Two-Headed Skink.
The Eastern Shingleback Lizard is a wide, stumpy-tailed, slow-moving lizard armoured with brown and cream shingles, or scales. It has a triangular-shaped head and a distinct neck. Its tongue is bright blue. Its legs are short.
Its head and tail look similar, which confuses its predators. If its tail is damaged or drops off, it cannot regenerate a new tail. Regeneration is called autotomy. Skinks can regenerate a new tail, but not Shingleback Lizards.
It grows to 26-31 centimetres (10-13 inches) in length.
It is native to eastern Australia in the states of New South Wales and Victoria.
It prefers shrublands, desert grasslands, and sandy dunes. In winter, it does not go into full hibernation. Instead, it goes into brumation, which means that it lies dormant, or asleep, but it often wakes up to drink. It can endure months without food.
The Eastern Shingleback Lizard is omnivorous, easting snails, insects, flowers, and plants.
It is viviparous, which means that the female has eggs that hatch inside her body, and she gives birth to live young. She has 1-4 live young. The young stay close to their parents for several months. Even when they are mature, they stay together in a colony.
The Eastern Shingleback Lizard lives for about 50 years.
[Location of photographs: Taronga Zoo, Sydney, Australia]
Photographer: Martina Nicolls
Martina Nicolls: SIMILAR BUT DIFFERENT IN THE ANIMAL KINGDOM