Centralian Blue-Tongued Skink (Tiliqua multifasciata)
Karratha, Western Australia
The Centralian blue-tongue seeks a shady refuge from the searing heat of the sun in the Pilbara region of Western Australia. With peak summer temperatures reaching as high as 48 ºC, cooler places such as underneath this old water tank and amongst grass tussocks become valuable hideouts. If daytime temperatures rise too much, blue-tongue’s will become active at night while ground temperatures remain warm for many hours after sunset.
To survive in this harsh climate they remain hidden amongst grass and low foliage while they forage for a wide variety of insects, gastropods (slugs and snails), flowers, fruits and berries. Should they encounter a predator, their only defense is to look as threatening as possible. They achieve this by hissing loudly, flattening out their body and tilting the largest surface area of the abdomen toward the aggressor. They also gape their mouths wide open displaying a large bright blue tongue. Unfortunately, this may do little to deter a hungry snake, dingo or bird of prey. Lucky for this individual I was just a harmless photographer.