Tiliqua Nature Reserve

A Pygmy Bluetongue Lizard Reserve


Area 85 ha (0.85 sq km)
Location 10 km north-east of Burra
Consisting Conservation of the Pygmy Bluetongue Lizard
Acquired 2010
Management Nature Foundation

Tiliqua is the generic name for bluetongue lizards. Tiliqua adelaidenis is the scientific name for the Pygmy Bluetongue Lizard which was once thought to be extinct. In 1992, it was rediscovered in an area to the north-east of Burra. At that time, 200 individuals were countedon a one hectare area.

Tiliqua Nature Reserve supports vital research into the protection of this species and its requirements for habitat management.

The secret of their survival seems to be twofold. Firstly, they only thrive on native grasslands that remain untilled. Secondly, however, it appears that these grasslands need to be grazed to some extent. The late Professor Mike Bull of Flinders University and his researchers undertook multiple research projects at Tiliqua. You can support the Professor Mike Bull Research Fund here.

What does it look like?


The Pygmy Bluetongue Lizard resembles a miniature version of the larger bluetongue lizard. Some distinguishing features are a pink tongue, smooth, flat and overlapping scales, and a grey-brown to orange-brown body with no obvious stripes across or along the body. The tail is shorter than the head and body length and tapers to a point. Total length no more than 20 centimetres.

Where is it found?

Pygmy bluetongues live in old spider holes, often basking in the entrance of these during the warmer months. However, they are very sensitive to movement and will quickly retreat into their burrow if disturbed.

They are found in native tussock grasslands containing grasses such as spear grass, (Austrostipa), wallaby grass (Austrodanthonia) and the dark green iron grass (Lomandra). Iron grass is a good indicator of native tussock grasslands containing spear grass as it will not re-grow if the land has been ploughed.

Click here for our Pygmy Bluetongue Lizard brochure