Tiliqua rugosa

Shingleback lizard

Family: Scincidae

Origin: Australia

The shingleback lizard curled around to stare at the camera with its large head.
Shingleback lizards have a short, wide, stumpy tail that resembles its head and may help confuse predators.
Photo credit: Margaret Stanley

Regional Pest Management Plan (RPMP) status

  • Hauraki Gulf Controlled Area Notice pest
  • Whole region — Sustained control

View more about the RPMP statuses

General description

Lizard up to 40cm long, with large head, short blunt tail, large rough scales and a dark blue tongue. Dark brown colour, sometimes with yellow spots, and a pale underside.

What you need to know

To help protect our environment, you must not release any shingleback lizard within the Auckland region.


Open habitats, grassland, shrubland, dunes.

Impact on environment

Preys on native invertebrates. May spread disease to native reptiles.



If you have pet shingleback lizards, make sure they’re securely contained to avoid accidental escapes. If you are no longer able to look after your pet shingleback lizard, find someone who is prepared to give it a lifetime home, or contact a relevant pet shop or animal rescue organisation to get it rehomed.

Never release a shingleback lizard into the wild – your pet may be unable to find the food and shelter it needs, and it also puts our native species at risk.

If you see a shingleback lizard in the wild, please report it to Auckland Council at pestfree@aucklandcouncil.govt.nz.

A shingleback lizard with large brown and black scales crawling on the ground.
Shingleback lizards are omnivores; they eat invertebrates and plants.
Photo credit: Margaret Stanley
The shingleback lizard with an open mouth, showing a blue tongue.
Shingleback lizards have an armoured body.
Photo credit: Margaret Stanley