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Meet our Blue-Tongued Skinks

This article appeared in the 5/31/19 edition of the Davis Enterprise.

Meet our Blue-Tongued Skinks

Blizzard, one of Explorit's blue-tongued skinks. Photo by Sara Thompson.

Meet our Blue-Tongued Skinks

 

By Sara Thompson

Special to the Enterprise

 

 

Explorit has a variety of animals and insects that we use for science education.  We bring our animals to area schools, let our summer campers meet them, show them off at birthday parties, and assist with interactions with our guests during our public hours.

 

Two of our resident reptiles are Blizzard and Tiger. There are several species of blue-tongued skink that range from Australia, New Guinea, and Indonesia. They can be found in a variety of habitats such as grasslands, rainforest, woody forest, semi-arid and desert regions.  The variety we have at Explorit are the Northern blue-tongued skink, scientific name Tiliqua scincoides intermedia, found almost exclusively in Northern Region of Australia, sometimes in the gardens of some suburban neighborhoods.

 

Blue-tongued skinks do in fact have bright, blue tongues. They stick them out to explore their surroundings and to feed.  They also use them in defense.  If startled or being attacked by a predator, the skink will open its mouth wide and stick out its tongue.  This might startle the attacker long enough for the skink to bite back or to get away or under cover.  Although bright colors in animals tend to indicate poison or venom, blue-tongued skink are not venomous but will leave a small bruise if bitten.  Skinks have a docile nature and usually only bite if provoked, however, any animal with a mouth can bite, so treat them respectfully and be gentle in petting or handling.

 

Blue-tongued skinks are omnivorous, which means they eat both meat and plant matter.  In the wild they would eat most anything that could fit in their mouth, including baby mice or smaller lizards, but they would primarily stick with insects, worms, snails, and slugs.  The vegetation they eat are primarily flowers, berries, and other fruit. They are active during the day and forage for their food from the ground.  Both Blizzard and Tiger love banana and celery, but we feed them a variety of things like leafy greens, squash, mango, apple, and hard-boiled eggs and mealworms if they need some protean.

 

Blue-tongued skinks have an average, captive life span of 20 years, but there have been some that lived up to 30 years old.  Blizzard, our female skink, is 15 years old.  Tiger, our male skink, is between 18-20 years old.  Both skinks go out to area schools to help with science and animal education, as well as brought out for birthday parties or public hours to meet our guests.  If you would like to meet one of our blue-tongued skinks, or any of our other resident critters when visiting Explorit, just ask a staff member and we’ll be happy to show them to you.  Just, please be respectful and listen to the staff member because they are trying to keep you and the animal safe.

 

Explorit's coming events:



  • Visit Explorit's latest exhibition, Earth Explorations. Explorit'sExploration Galleryis open to the public every Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday, 1:00-5:00 p.m.  Admission is $5.00 per person; Explorit members, teachers and children 2 and under are free.
  • Explorit offers summer camp at Davis and Woodland locations. Limited spots are still open.  To register, visit http://www.explorit.org/programs/summer-camp/summer-and-vacation-classes.
  • Become a membership to Explorit and also gain free access to hundreds of science museums across the nation. Discounts for camps and birthday parties.  For more information or to purchase or renew your membership online visitwww.explorit.org/join/membership-levelsor call Explorit at 530-756-0191. For a list of participating museums across the nation visithttp://www.astc.org/passport/.



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Explorit Science Center is located at 3141 5th St. For more information call (530) 756-0191 or visit http://www.explorit.org, or "like" us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/explorit.fb.

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