PINE KNOLL SHORES, N.C. — Two blue-tongued skinks, Bluey and Tili, are the newest animal ambassadors at the North Carolina Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores, and the community voted on their names.

Over 1,000 votes were cast during a two-week voting period to choose the names for the Aquarium’s two new female blue-tongued skinks.

Of the six names to choose from, Bluey, a common nickname for blue-tongued skinks, and Tili, short for the skinks’ genus Tiliqua, were the top votes. Bluey is the new name for the Eastern blue-tongued skink, and Tili is the name for the Northern blue-tongued skink.

For the voting, volunteers and staff came up with a list of names based on the Aquarium’s animal ambassador naming criteria. The names should highlight an important connection to the animal’s historical or cultural significance, natural history, scientific name, or an aspect of the animal’s adaptation or behavior.

“We’re thrilled with the response from our community and their help naming these amazing reptiles,” said Emily Fessler, aquarium education curator. “Seeing these large, blue-tongued skinks up close can also encourage people to learn more about the lizards, skinks, and other reptiles we have in North Carolina.”

Both blue-tongued skinks are native to Australia, and both species can live anywhere between 15-30 years. They arrived at the Aquarium in May and went through a 45-day quarantine period, during which the veterinary team observed them to make sure they were healthy.

“Our hope is that people will learn about the different adaptations that different lizards have based on their habitats. We also hope our guests will want to help conserve these amazing creatures, both ones at home and those around the world,” said Fessler.

The skinks will be in their habitats in the Aquarium’s Discovery Classroom. Guests will be able to meet the skinks during Creature Connections and Animal Encounters, two of the Aquarium’s free daily programs. Animals do vary per program, but the schedule of daily programs can be found at www.ncaquariums.com/free-programs-pks.