Blue Tongue Skink Clicking Noise

Have you ever wondered about the mysterious clicking noise made by Blue Tongue Skinks? These fascinating creatures, native to Australia and Indonesia, have intrigued herpetologists and reptile enthusiasts for years. While their name suggests a connection to their distinctive blue tongue, it is the enigmatic clicking sound they produce that truly captures attention. In this article, we will take a closer look at the purpose behind this intriguing behavior and explore the possible explanations for the Blue Tongue Skink’s clicking noise.

Blue Tongue Skink Clicking Noise

What is a Blue Tongue Skink?

A Blue Tongue Skink is a type of lizard that belongs to the Tiliqua genus. They are known for their distinctive blue tongues and can be found in various parts of Australia, Indonesia, and New Guinea. These reptiles are highly sought after as pets due to their docile nature and unique appearance. Blue Tongue Skinks are medium-sized lizards, typically ranging in size from 14 to 24 inches in length. They have a stocky build, smooth scales, and come in a variety of colors and patterns. Their tongues, as the name suggests, are bright blue, which serves as a warning to potential predators.

Physical Characteristics

Blue Tongue Skinks have a robust and somewhat flattened body, which differentiates them from other skink species. They have a triangular-shaped head with a short snout and a row of large, overlapping scales on their backs. These scales can range in color from shades of brown, grey, or black with various patterns and markings, providing excellent camouflage in their natural habitat. One of their most distinctive features is their brightly colored blue tongue, which they often display when feeling threatened or trying to intimidate a predator. This blue tongue is a result of specialized pigment cells in the skin.

Habitat and Distribution

Blue Tongue Skinks are primarily found in Australia, where they inhabit a range of ecosystems, including deserts, grasslands, woodlands, and coastal regions. They prefer areas with loose soil or sand, allowing them to burrow and create a network of tunnels. These lizards also require access to fresh water and vegetation for foraging. Blue Tongue Skinks can adapt to various climates, but they are most commonly found in the southern and eastern parts of Australia. They have also been introduced to other countries, such as the United States and Europe, where they have become popular pets.

Understanding Blue Tongue Skink Behavior

To truly appreciate Blue Tongue Skinks as pets, it’s essential to understand their behavior and natural instincts. By being aware of how they interact with their environment and other individuals, we can ensure their optimal care and well-being.

Diurnal Nature

Blue Tongue Skinks are diurnal creatures, which means they are most active during the day. However, their peak activity may vary depending on their environmental conditions. In the wild, they bask under the sun to regulate their body temperature and to absorb essential ultraviolet (UV) rays that aid in vitamin D synthesis. As pets, it’s crucial to provide them with a suitable basking spot that replicates this natural behavior.

Social Behavior

Blue Tongue Skinks are solitary animals and typically do not exhibit social behavior like some other reptiles. Although they are not known for living in groups, they can tolerate the presence of other skinks in their territory as long as resources are abundant. However, it’s essential to note that introducing multiple skinks into the same enclosure can lead to stress, aggression, and territorial disputes. Therefore, it is generally recommended to house them separately unless proper supervision and adequate space can be provided.

Hunting and Feeding Habits

Blue Tongue Skinks are omnivorous, meaning they consume a varied diet of both meat and plant matter. In the wild, their diet consists of insects, snails, slugs, small mammals, fruits, flowers, and vegetation. As pets, their diet primarily consists of commercially available diets, such as insects (crickets, mealworms) and a mix of fruits, vegetables, and leafy greens. It’s essential to provide a balanced diet that meets their nutritional needs, which includes incorporating calcium and vitamin D supplements to ensure healthy bone growth and development.

Communication in Blue Tongue Skinks

While Blue Tongue Skinks may not be as vocal as some other reptiles, they have various methods of communication that they utilize to convey messages and signals to their surroundings.

Visual Signals

Blue Tongue Skinks employ visual signals to communicate with conspecifics (members of the same species) and potential threats. They may engage in various display behaviors, such as body postures, head bobbing, and even puffing up their bodies to appear more significant and intimidating. These visual displays can express dominance, submission, or territorial claims.


Blue Tongue Skinks are known to produce vocalizations, although they are not as frequent or elaborate as those of some other reptiles. Their vocalizations, which consist of hissing, chirping, growling, and clicking noises, serve as a form of communication to convey specific messages.

Chemical Communication

In addition to their visual and vocal signals, Blue Tongue Skinks also utilize chemical communication to communicate with each other. They have specialized glands on their chin and cloaca, which produce scent secretions. These secretions contain information about the individual’s sex, reproductive state, and may play a role in marking territory or attracting mates.

Types of Vocalizations in Blue Tongue Skinks

Blue Tongue Skinks have a range of vocalizations that they utilize in different situations. By understanding these vocalizations, we can gain insight into their behavior and needs.


One of the most commonly heard vocalizations from Blue Tongue Skinks is hissing. When feeling threatened or frightened, they emit a loud, forceful hissing sound. This hissing serves as a warning to potential predators or intruders to back off. It’s their way of saying, “I am not happy, and I might defend myself if provoked further.”


Another vocalization that Blue Tongue Skinks produce is a chirping sound. This sound is often likened to the chirping of birds or insects and can vary in pitch and intensity. Chirping is primarily associated with courtship and mating behavior, and males often chirp to attract females during the breeding season. It’s their way of saying, “I am interested in you, let’s mate.”


Blue Tongue Skinks also have the ability to produce a low, rumbling growl-like sound. Growling is typically associated with territorial displays, especially when defending their territory from potential rivals. It’s their way of saying, “Back off, this is my territory.”


The clicking noise produced by Blue Tongue Skinks is perhaps the most intriguing vocalization they make. This unique and rapid clicking sound resembles the noise made by castanets or the tapping of fingernails against a hard surface. The clicking sound is not as common as hissing or chirping, and its purpose and meaning have been the subject of much speculation and research.

Blue Tongue Skink Clicking Noise

What is the Clicking Noise?

The clicking noise made by Blue Tongue Skinks is a rapid succession of short, sharp clicks produced by the lizard’s tongue hitting against the roof of its mouth. This clicking sound is distinct and easily recognizable once you have heard it. However, the precise purpose and meaning behind this behavior are not entirely understood and remain a subject of ongoing research.


The clicking noise itself consists of a series of clicks, which can vary in frequency and duration. Some Blue Tongue Skinks produce slower, more deliberate clicks, while others may produce faster, rapid clicks. The clicking sound can range from soft and faint to quite loud and audible, depending on the individual skink and the specific circumstances.

Possible Meanings and Purposes

While the exact meaning and purpose of the clicking noise are not definitively known, there are several theories and hypotheses that researchers have put forth:

  • Intraspecific Communication: It is possible that Blue Tongue Skinks use clicking as a form of communication between individuals of the same species. It may serve as a way to establish social bonds, recognize kinship, or convey information about their presence or intentions.

  • Territorial Display: Clicking may be a territorial display or a warning signal to other skinks that a particular area has already been claimed or is occupied. It could function as a way to establish boundaries and prevent confrontations between rival males.

  • Courtship Signal: Another possibility is that clicking plays a role in courtship and mating. It may serve as a signal to attract potential mates or a means for males to communicate their interest and readiness to reproduce.

  • Stress or Fear: Clicking could also be an expression of stress or fear in Blue Tongue Skinks. It may be their way of signaling discomfort or distress, similar to hissing or growling.

The exact meaning and purpose of the clicking noise may vary depending on the context, individual skink, and other environmental factors. As research continues, we may gain a better understanding of this unique behavior.

When Do Blue Tongue Skinks Click?

Blue Tongue Skinks click in various situations, and understanding when and why they engage in this behavior is crucial for accurate interpretation and responsible care.

Territorial Display

Clicking is often observed during territorial displays. When a male skink feels the need to establish or defend its territory, it may produce rapid clicks as a warning to potential intruders. This behavior is more commonly observed during the breeding season when competition for resources and mates is high.

Courtship and Mating

Clicking can also play a role in courtship and mating rituals. Males may produce clicking sounds in the presence of females to attract their attention and convey their interest. This behavior is typically observed during the breeding season and is more common among sexually mature individuals.

Stress or Fear

Blue Tongue Skinks may click when they feel stressed or fearful. This can be triggered by various factors, such as handling, environmental changes, or the presence of potential predators. Clicking in response to stress or fear is often accompanied by other defensive behaviors, such as hissing, puffing up, or attempting to flee from the perceived threat.

It’s important to note that clicking alone is not necessarily indicative of stress or fear. It is essential to consider the overall context, body language, and other accompanying behaviors when interpreting the meaning behind Blue Tongue Skink’s vocalizations.

Blue Tongue Skink Clicking Noise

Understanding the Clicking Behavior

To understand the clicking behavior of Blue Tongue Skinks, it’s essential to consider the frequency and duration of the clicks and their potential interpretations.

Frequency and Duration

The number of clicks produced by Blue Tongue Skinks can vary significantly. Some individuals may produce only a few clicks, while others may click continuously for an extended period. The frequency and duration of the clicks may depend on the specific circumstances, the skink’s individual behavior, and the intended message.

Interpretation of Clicking

Interpreting the meaning behind Blue Tongue Skink clicking requires careful observation and consideration of the overall context. It’s important to consider the skink’s body language, the presence of conspecifics or potential threats, and any accompanying vocalizations or behaviors. By analyzing these factors, we can gain insight into their intentions and emotional state.

For example, if a skink is clicking rapidly while maintaining an agitated body posture, it may indicate territorial defense or readiness to mate. On the other hand, if a skink clicks softly while exhibiting signs of stress, such as flattened body posture or attempting to hide, it may suggest fear or discomfort.

It’s crucial to remember that interpreting Blue Tongue Skink’s clicking behavior is not an exact science, and there may be individual variations in their vocalizations and responses. Careful observation, thorough research, and consultation with experts can help in better understanding and interpreting their clicking behavior.

Common Misconceptions about Blue Tongue Skink Clicking

There are some misconceptions and myths surrounding Blue Tongue Skink clicking that need to be addressed and debunked to ensure accurate understanding and responsible care.

Sign of Aggression

Contrary to popular belief, Blue Tongue Skink clicking is not always a sign of aggression. While it can be associated with territorial displays and asserting dominance, it is not inherently aggressive behavior. Clicking should be interpreted within the broader context of the skink’s body language, behavior, and environmental cues to determine its meaning accurately.

Sign of Illness

Clicking alone is not necessarily indicative of illness or health issues in Blue Tongue Skinks. While it’s important to closely monitor any changes in behavior, eating patterns, or appearance, clicking should not be automatically assumed as a sign of illness. It is essential to consider other factors and consult with a reptile veterinarian for a proper diagnosis if there are concerns about the skink’s health.

Debunking Myths

Blue Tongue Skink clicking is a fascinating and unique behavior that has led to various theories and misconceptions over the years. It’s important to rely on accurate information from reputable sources, scientific research, and experienced reptile enthusiasts to debunk myths and clarify any misunderstandings. By staying informed and continually learning about these reptiles, we can provide them with the best care possible.

Blue Tongue Skink Clicking Noise

Maintaining an Optimal Environment

To ensure the overall health and well-being of Blue Tongue Skinks, it is essential to maintain an optimal environment that mimics their natural habitat as closely as possible.

Temperature and Humidity

Blue Tongue Skinks are ectothermic animals, meaning they rely on external sources of heat to regulate their body temperature. It’s crucial to provide them with a temperature gradient within their enclosure, allowing them to choose between warm and cool areas. The basking spot should be set at around 95-100°F, while the cooler end of the enclosure should be around 75-85°F. Humidity levels should be maintained at around 40-60%, depending on the specific needs of the skink’s natural habitat.

Habitat Setup and Enrichment

A suitable enclosure for a Blue Tongue Skink should be spacious enough for them to move around comfortably and exhibit natural behaviors such as burrowing and climbing. The enclosure should include hiding spots, such as caves or logs, to provide security and a sense of privacy. Substrate options like sand or bark mulch can be used, as long as they are safe and easy to clean. Providing enrichments such as branches, rocks, and artificial plants can create a stimulating environment for the skink to explore, providing both physical and mental stimulation.

Regular monitoring of temperature, humidity, and cleanliness is essential to ensure the well-being of Blue Tongue Skinks. Consultation with reptile-specific veterinarians or experienced reptile keepers can provide valuable guidance in setting up and maintaining an optimal habitat for these unique pets.


Blue Tongue Skinks are fascinating reptiles with a range of remarkable behaviors and vocalizations. While their clicking behavior still holds many mysteries, our understanding continues to evolve through research and observation. By appreciating and respecting their natural instincts, we can provide these captivating lizards with an optimal environment and ensure their well-being as pets. Whether you are a current Blue Tongue Skink owner or considering adding one to your reptile family, understanding their behavior, communication, and unique vocalizations is key to fostering a fulfilling and enriching relationship.

Blue Tongue Skink Clicking Noise