First Pygmy Blue-Tongue Lizards Birthed At Australian Zoo

Once thought extinct, 14 of the little skinks are doing well at the zoo's new breeding facility.

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Watch the pygmy blue-tongue lizards pop out of their burrow for crickets. Via Zoos SA: Phil Ainsley/ABC News Australia
John Virata

Australia’s Monarto Zoo announced what it says is the world’s first successful captive breeding of 14 pygmy blue-tongue lizards, and these little guys have got to be the cutest lizards we’ve seen in a long while.

The lizards were once thought to be extinct, but a herpetologist came across one in the belly of a roadkill snake in 1992, according to ABC News Australia.

Their numbers have just risen thanks to the captive breeding program at the zoo, which opened its breeding facility just 18 months ago. The tiny skinks, which by the way, have pink tongues and not blue tongues, are currently just 4 inches in length and are being fed crickets three to four times a week.

This pygmy blue-tongue lizard is getting hand fed a cricket. Via Zoos SA: Phil Ainsley

This pygmy blue-tongue lizard is getting hand fed a cricket. Via Zoos SA/YouTube

“Over the last few weeks, the little lizards have become more active, venturing out of their burrows where they have been seen eating crickets,” Zoos SA conservation programs manager Phil Ainsley told ABC News Australia. “The pygmy blue-tongue is one of the rarest reptiles in the country and we need to do everything we can to ensure the survival of this species.”

This pygmy blue-tongue lizard is about to eat a cricket. Via Zoos SA: David Mattner

The cricket is about as big as the lizard’s head. Via Zoos SA/Facebook

Ina  YouTube video posted by the zoo Tuesday, the lizards can be seen being hand fed crickets by the zoo staff. They pop out of their burrows, gobble up the crickets, and then as fast as they popped out, they disappear back underground again.


Dinner time! Via Zoos SA/YouTube

The pygmy blue-tongue lizards are currently known to exist between Kapunda and Peterborough in South Australia. They live in unused spider burrows. They are the smallest lizard in the blue-tongue family and grow to about 7 inches in length. The pygmy blue-tongue lizard’s bigger cousin, the blue-tongue skink, is a super popular pet among reptile keepers.

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