A Sandy Beach Almanac

You've landed at Sandy Beach, NSW, Australia: Lat. -30.15331, Long. 153.19960, UT +10:00 – local map & zoom Google map. I live in a cabin on this beach, 25 kilometres north of the traffic and shops of Coffs Harbour, 600 km north of Sydney. My intention is to post observations of Nature and life within 1 km (1,000 paces) of my South Pacific home.


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Sunday, February 06, 2005

Baby pinky

The Pink-tongue skink, Tiliqua gerandii, is very similar to its better-known cousin, T. scincoides, the Blue-tongue skink (usually called the Blue-tongue lizard). Their street names are highly descriptive, as anyone who has seen them poke out their tongues will attest. Fortunately, they do it quite a lot for the punters. The cousins have similar body markings, a bit like tapestry, but pinkish-brown and slate-blue-grey respectively. Very nicely coordinated.

This baby, who lives around the Ponderosa when he's at home, will grow to about 40-45 cm (Cousin Bluey can grow to about 50 cm, about 20 inches in the old money) if we don't scare him to death trying to get this crummy webcam plugged into the right USB port, and if kookaburras, dogs, cats and cars don't get him.

As he lives mostly on slugs and snails, Pinky's very welcome in this garden but very vulnerable to snail and slug bait, which of course you won't find in this yard. However, the more common blueys used to be common pets for generations of Australian children but these days most kids have never seen one, for the above-mentioned reasons. Especially the baits, as chemical warfare was de rigeur for Australian gardens in the 1960s - 80s, but now seems to be as generally derided as it should be. Or am I looking through rosy (pink) lenses? Perhaps snail bait sales statistics will make a liar of me, or show that I just don't move in chemical-using circles.

This pinky's Ma, or Daddy, was around the other day, hiding behind the water tank. The parent is as beautiful as the child, and the tongue is spectacular. Baby Pinky probably has, or had, about 11 - 14 siblings, depending on what they've been eating, and what's been eating them.

Thanks, Peter the Landlord, for displaying Pinky for a glamour shot.

Note: many taxonomists are using a new classification for the pinky, Hemisphaeriodon gerrardi or Cyclodomorphus gerrardii.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

As I live in the Northern Hemisphere and only once visited Australia, I consider myself lucky having met a fully grown blue-tongue lizard. This happened several times in my host's garden in Harbord, Sydney. They truly are magnificent.

10:01 PM  

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