My most recently added males are at the top of this page, starting with Solaris: Male born June, 2019. From European ‘Fire Opal’ stock.
Th male below, Ataturk, was produced elsewhere from stock reputedly linked back to Andrew Seike ‘sunrise’ Northern Blue-tongues. I tend to consider most of the “lineage” claims more marketing than any kind of legitimate genetic ‘lineage’. I am breeding for colors but my primary focus is to produce robust and healthy skinks — not oddities or color freaks. I note genealogical lines if I know them (and even invented a couple myself!), but I prefer to evaluate each skink based on its own merits — not some vague legendary ‘lineage’ that does not even go back to a locale in Australia. [What the rosy boa breeders are trying to do with their careful locale information should be the gold standard for reptile breeders.]
However, determining locale information is extremely difficult with Australian Tiliqua due to the intransigence of the Australian government in allowing even limited export of captive-born animals, which could include accurate locale data if known. All Tiliqua (with the exception of T. adelaidensis) are non-CITES, non-endangered species. The real threats stem from habitat destruction and development, massive worsening wildfires from anthropogenic climate chaos, highways and roads (road kill), and virulent introduced species such as the ‘cane toad’ (undoubtedly cats and foxes also kill many blue-tongues).
None of these Tiliqua species are threatened by “over collection” or reptile keepers or the vastly overblown threat of smuggling. It is scientifically estimated that 2.46 BILLION reptiles were killed in the devastating 2019-2020 Australian bush fires. It is ludicrous to claim that moderate and regulated collection of common reptiles for the purposes of captive breeding and research pose any threat in the face of those staggering numbers of fatalities. And of course many rare species of birds and mammals have been completely devastated by these fires. In the meantime, Australia continues to mine and export vast amounts of coal, which is contributing to their own environmental devastation. Australia is dead last in a survey of 57 countries trying to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Nonetheless, their government will continue to support the export of coal and fossil fuels that contributes to the destruction of their own fragile environment, while blocking the export of common captive-born reptiles.
Fortunately, Tiliqua scincoides intermedia (and to a lesser extent its even more common subspecies T.s. scinoides) are well established and thriving in U.S. and European collections. They are a rugged species well-adapted to a wide range in humidity, temperature and diet. With generally pleasant personalities (there are exceptions!), and a willingness to breed and reproduce in captivity, they are one of the most interesting and commendable species available to reptile collectors.
Tecumseh is my largest male by weight — even with a notably stub-tail. Not sure his exact age — probably around 8 or 9. I’ve owned him for 3 years and he’s been used as a breeder in 2020 and 2021. Probably he lost his tail as a baby when a roommate (sibling) nipped it off. This is why Northern BTs need to be separated within a couple of weeks after birth as they become quite undiscerning when it comes to what is edible and what is someone else’s tail.
These are some of my original Northern blue-tongues (T.S. intermedia) that comprise my breeding group. I’ll put their name, which helps me keep track of them, with some information for each skink. (I need to update soon with a couple more males that I’ve added to the colony.)
Here I’ll list the males:
(Note — to enlarge photos click on the double arrow icon that appears when you mouse over the photos.)
ARES — Male — Estimated age 9
Ares is the most territorial and aggressive of the males, especially during breeding season.
VLAD — Male — Estimated Age 7
Vlad was raised as a pet and handled a lot, and he is easily the most mellow of all the males.
Ares and Vlad were the primary breeders with Kerberos and Ajax as backup breeder males in 2018. Each female was bred 3 or 4 times during the first two weeks of February 2018. As the males aggressively bite the shoulders of the females during breeding, often drawing blood, I limit the number of encounters and stand guard to separate the animals if things go wrong. I’ll give more information on the breeding later in another section.
HARLAN was born in June 2018 and is the offspring of Athena and a loaner male. Since he has very rich copper colors, I decided to keep him as a breeder. As it turned out he was a very active and successful breeder in 2020.
KERBEROS — Male — Born June 15, 2015 (Kerberos was traded to a new home, and replaced by a young female and male with no known ties to my group. This is an attempt to add even more diversity to the group.)
AJAX — Male — Age around 15 to 16 years old. (Ajax from the Greek Aias, hero of the Trojan war, not from the household cleaner.)
I added this skink to the group about a year ago, obtaining him from someone who didn’t have much interest in blue-tongues. I thought he was probably a male, possibly quite old, and with borderline health issues. He was very thin and I thought with care and better feeding he would ‘fatten’ up. There were no signs of mouth rot, metabolic bone disease, or injuries — except for the oddly forked and kinked tail, probably the result of an old injury.
He was alert and active, and had a good attitude when handled. (Northern blue-tongues, especially males, can show a paranoid attitude — mouth gaping, attempting to bite — if they are not tamed with gentle handling.) However, Ajax is a picky eater and remains far too thin, and putting weight on him has proven frustrating.
Many captive blue-tongues can end up overweight, but when you observe bony hips and a raised spine (shown in photos), then the animal is underweight. (Gravid females will also usually show thin hips and prominent spine as they absorb reserves during the late stages of neonate development; this, in conjunction, with a bloated torso, is a strong indication that they are about to give birth.)
Nonetheless, Ajax remains active and strong, was cooled with the other adults this winter, and proved to be a good breeder when given the opportunity. He would not eat at all during the breeding season, typical of males, but is now eating well. With any luck, I’ll have to change his name to Fat Boy by the end of the year. (Not likely.)
I want to add some photos of Ajax showing his improved condition as of 5/23/18. It turns out he is not as picky an eater as I feared, and has been gobbling up a wide range of foods. Compare his 2/18 photos with photos taken about 100 days later.
You can no longer see the prominent backbone or bony hips visible in his earlier photos. Ajax may not be a ‘Fat Boy’ just yet, but looking much healthier. Everything about him seems greatly improved.
I rested Ajax in 2019 but at his own behest he came out of retirement in 2020 and contributed as a dependable backup male breeder.