It can be a little unnerving for the owner of a lizard to suddenly see his or her pet without its tail. There is no need to worry too much, however, because the tail will soon reappear as quickly as it disappeared.
This fact will not stop you from asking why the tail was lost in the first place and what, if anything, could have been done to stop this from happening.
Is the loss of a tail inevitable for a lizard?
Most lizards have the ability to free itself from its tail. In many cases, the tail will grow back at its own convenience. The phenomenon is a defense mechanism that allows the lizard to escape prey after other methods of avoiding the threat have failed.
When the tail of a lizard is grabbed, it will separate from the lizard’s body along a fracture line that exists on the lizard’s body. The process is called caudal autonomy and the severed tail will continue to move on its own after the separation in an effort to distract the predator.
How do tails grow back?
Scientists have been fascinated with the tail regrowth of lizards for some time now. The regrowth of a tail can take anywhere from a couple of weeks to a few months to complete. The tail can also be a different length and color than the original tail. The new tail will consist of cartilage and not vertebrate like the first tail and many aspects of the detail will be influenced by factors like diet and environment. The new tail your lizard grows may first look like a stump to you but will begin to take shape with time.
How you can help your lizard?
The detachment of your lizard’s tail will damage nerves and blood vessels. There is not much that can be done about this. It is uncommon for your lizard to bleed much after losing its tail but you should apply direct pressure to the point of the detachment if you observe a substantial amount of blood. You should throw the tail away after it becomes detached from your lizard.
Caring for your lizard
The best thing you can do for your lizard after its tail is loss is to make sure its cage is as clean as possible. You do not have to clean or bandage the affected area of the lizard. Tail loss is a natural occurrence for a lizard and the body is adept at healing the damage that is caused.
Can tail loss be prevented for lizards?
The best way to prevent your lizard from losing its tail is to handle it gently and give it no reason to feel threatened. One expert suggests you hold your lizard under its forearm. You should place your off-hand beneath the lizard’s belly to support its body weight. If you notice your lizard whipping its tail in defense of a threat it feels, stabilize the tail by placing your hand at its base and holding it steady.