What Do Shingleback Lizards Eat?

What Do Shingleback Lizards Eat?
The shingleback lizard is a slow moving lizard and has a blue tongue. With its rough scales, triangle shaped head and short stumpy tail, it is a unique looking lizard.

A shingleback can have a wide range of colors and markings on it, depending on subspecies. From a bluish black, brown, reddish brown body with white, yellow or cream markings.

The shingleback is part of the skink family and is found in Australia. It is and has four subspecies.

Tiliqua rugose is the shingleback lizard’s scientific name.

The shingleback lizard has many common names and nicknames because of its appearance. It might also be known as a: Shingle-back, sleepy lizard, bobtail, pinecone lizard, stumpy-tail, two headed skink and double-headed lizard.

What do you feed a shingleback lizard?

What do shinglebacks lizards eat?

Shinglebacks are omnivores and eat both plant and meat. For this question, we will break it up into a list and with two sections for more detail.

One – What do shinglebacks eat in the wild? Two – What can shinglebacks eat as a pet in captivity.

In the wild, the shingleback can eat:


Grubs and caterpillars.



Insects like beetles, cockroaches, crickets and grasshoppers.


Bird eggs.

Carrion. (Dead animals.)

Berries like strawberries.

Plants and flower petals like dandelions.

Fruits and vegetables.

Smaller lizards and small snakes.


What do you feed a shingleback lizard as a pet?

In captivity the diet of the shingle back lizard can eat a variety of meats plants and fruit like:


Dandelions flowers and dandelion plant look a likes.

Salad and some plants.

Raw mincemeat.

Small pieces of raw meat

Canned soft dog food or cat food occasionally.

Soft fruits like banana’s, grapes and berries.


Insects like grubs, crickets and grasshoppers.


Chicken eggs.


Try to include a varied diet. Some individuals will like a certain food, other ones won’t touch it. As an example some shinglebacks love strawberries, other ones won’t eat them.

Note: If you do catch snails in the garden to feed them, make sure there is no poison bait for the snails in the garden.

Although not recommended, they can or may eat ice-cream, custard, some yogurts and sweet soft food occasionally.

Shingle back lizard.


Does the shingleback lizard eat every day?

In the wild, the shingleback may not eat every day and this is the same for captivity. It might only eat every second or third day depending on weather.

On hotter days it will be more active and might search for food more often.

On cooler days it might be happy to try and warm itself up and try to get some sun and may not eat.

Like a lot of reptiles the shingleback doesn’t have to eat every day.


Do shingleback lizards drink water?

The shingleback won’t drink much water in cooler conditions, but on how days they can. So it pays to have a shallow bowl of water for them. (Although most of the time they will crawl through it, or sit in it on a hot day.)


How big do shingleback lizards get?

How big do shingle back lizards grow?
The shingleback lizard can grow from around 10 to 14 inches or more. (Around 25 to 35 cm.)

It has a similar body size to the blue tongue lizard, (Which is also part of the skink family and has similar eating and habits. But the blue tongue lizard can move quicker.)

Females can grow slightly larger than males.

Some shinglebacks can grow over 14 inches (35 cm.) if kept well and healthy.


Do shingleback lizards bite?

Do shingleback lizards bite?
Yes, they can bite hard and draw blood, leaving an open wound. They will flare open their mouth as a warning when they feel threatened. If you try and pick them up in the wild, they might try and bite you.


Are shingleback lizards good pets?

Overall with a little care and attention a shingleback can make a very good pet.

As they are slow moving lizard compared to a lot of other lizards. As an example, compared to a water dragon, they are very slow. Because they move slowly, they won’t run off quickly and make a good pet in that regards.

Shingleback lizard can also be a very tame pet. However if introduced from the wild can be aggressive and try to bite. (Another reason only to get a lizard from a licensed reptile dealer.) Some shinglebacks might take time to get to trust you as they may think you are a predator.

It is not recommended to feed the shingleback with your fingers too close to its mouth, otherwise it might accidentally bite you.  Once you know the temperament of the individual lizard some are very docile and gentle.

The shingle back lizard needs some exercise and freedom to walk about every so often. The shingle back does not cover a great distance, but does like to explore. Especially on warm days when they are more active and will naturally hunt for food.

If you have a garden let it go for walk and it might eat some snails, spiders, insects and more so it will help your garden greatly.

Shingleback skinks do have to be checked for ticks in their ears and under their scales frequently.

The shingleback lizard is like a pet dog or cat in the way, they can have their own personality. Some are more content being with the owner; other ones enjoy a bit more solitude.


What are the shingleback’s predators?

Many predators will kill shingleback lizards like foxes, eagles, kookaburras, feral cats, wild dogs and more.

Bigger snakes and bigger lizards will also eat the shingleback.

The shingleback lizard’s first line of defense is its camouflage. It will stay still and try not to move as its rough scale and patterns blend in effectively for most surroundings.

When the animals attack, the shingle back lizard will flare its mouth and will try to show its tail as the predator will think it is its head and will try to attack it.

Shinglebacks will lie on the road on a hot day and sun-bake. They absorb the warmth of the road, unfortunately as they are slow moving, they get hit by cars.


Do shingleback lizards have teeth?

Yes, they have teeth and jaws powerful enough to crunch down on snails and hard shell insects.


Are shingleback lizards dangerous?

Shingleback lizard eating.
Shinglebacks are not venomous or poisonous. But can bite hard.

The bite wound can get infected easily as the shingleback can eat all types of food and can have some nasty germs in their mouths.

While not dangerous like a Gilla monster, they need to be treated with respect. (A gila monster has a longer tail, colored markings and smaller scales and are not found in the same countries.)


How long do shingleback lizards live for?

Shingleback lizards live to around 20 years if kept well and healthy, which makes them excellent pets. There have been reports of some shinglebacks living to up to 50 years


7 interesting facts about shingleback lizards.

No.1 Shingleback hibernate and sleep through winter.

No.2 The shingle backs tail stores fat for when it hibernates.

No.3 The female shingle back is pregnant for up to 5 months.

No.4 You have to have a license to own a shingleback lizard in Australia. If you want to buy a shingle back you need to get it from a pet store or licensed reptile trader. Do not get them from the wild, as they are not used of human contact and will probably think you are a predator.

No.5 A shingle back will mate with the same partner for life.

No.6 Female shingle backs may have one to four live young. (Meaning they don’t lay eggs.)

No. 7 The shingleback lizard mates in spring.


Overall thoughts of the shingleback lizard.

The shingleback lizard is a distinctive looking lizard and dinosaur like appearance with its large rough scales.

The shingle back can make an excellent pet, but does need some care and consideration.

Shingleback lizards have different personalities as some may be tamer straight away, others are more timid. Some shinglebacks can be picky eaters, other ones will devour anything and are not fussy eaters.