Shingleback Skink

Tiliqua rugosa


Least Concern

The shingleback skink goes by many names, all referencing their appearance or demeanor; the stumpy, bobtail, pinecone, two-headed, sleepy, lazy and patty lizard. Considerably not shy, these lizards can ward off predators with the vibrant display of their bright blue tongue, appearing poisonous whilst actually being quite harmless.


Sticking to the more open country to maximise basking opportunities these lizards will never venture too far from ground-covering grasses, foliage or logs and rocks. Their distribution spans a huge portion of central Australia from the southern parts of Queensland across NSW and Victoria all the way to the west coast of Australia.


These omnivorous reptiles will eat anything that will fit in their mouth. Primarily invertebrates like grasshoppers, slugs, snails and grubs but they’ll happily eat eggs, small mammals as well as fruits, foliage and flowers.


These lizards are ‘ovoviviparous’ (giving live birth), differing from the others by giving birth to only one, or occasionally two, fully-formed juveniles that can weigh up to a 1/3 of mum’s weight. Imagine that! Studies have discovered these lizards have monogamous behaviour and while spending their summers apart, will often reunite each season.

  • Close up of a shingleback skink
  • Image by Joel Sartore

    A shingleback skink on a white background

    Dark green indicates where shingleback lizards can be found.

    A distribution map of the shingleback sking in Australia
  • Close up of a shingleback skink