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Old 14-07-2019, 11:53 PM
Dreadpan's Avatar
Join Date: Jul 2019
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Default Lizard biting his own tail off please help

Hey everyone, I am in serious need of advice about a strange and very worrying behaviour my water dragon has been displaying recently.

About a month ago I heard him splashing an abnormal amount in his water and when I checked on him he had the end of his tail in his mouth and had bitten into it enough to draw blood. I put this down to unfortunate accident and treated the wound with diluted iodine and kept a close eye. The wound healed well and no sign of tissue dying off.

Fast forward to this past weekend when I was away for two days, his lights on a timer I had just asked someone to call in the mornings and check all vivarium lights had come on and cast a quick eye on all occupants.
When I came home I checked on my reptiles and to my horror found that the last two inches of my boy's tail chewed up still attached and about a cm of what appears to be dead/dying tissue.

Now obviously im taking him to the vet tomorrow to have him treated asap, but I am concerned that rather than this having been an accident , it could be a behaviour.

For a little background he is about 12 and healthy otherwise. I have owned him for 11 years with no issues until now. The only thing I can think of is that his favourite food are superworms, which are brown and striped not unlike his tail.

Any insight at all is appreciated and thank you in advance for any suggestions.
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Old 28-09-2019, 10:08 AM
Salazare Slytherin's Avatar
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Admittedly I have not seen this behaviour with water dragons but I have seen it occur with iguanas. I had a large male who, when breeding season came around would chase his own tail and try to bite it.

My hunch at the time was that the dominant males at least are directed by their hormones and just have a “need” to contest their spaces and maybe just seeing a tail was enough to stimulate a chase response, as they naturally would, males would do this a lot in the wild to fight and gain access to greater territory or females.

I did manage to mitigate the behaviour in his case by offering him cuddly toys to “engage with” i.e. fight, death roll, masturbate with, and it did help to mitigafe the behaviour somewhat by exhausting him out but that is all I could really do about that.

I did also see it once with another iguana who had just arrived here and I ascribed it at the time to being afraid and stressed, it only done it the once thoufh and I never really was sure.

I have not seen the behaviour with water dragons in my time of keeping them, it may be possible he has been seeing a lot of his own reflection maybe and finally gave chase to the tail out of frustration but I honestly can’t say.

How is he doing now?
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Old 28-09-2019, 02:36 PM
Dreadpan's Avatar
Join Date: Jul 2019
Posts: 4

That's not something I had considered before so I really appreciate the input!

He went to the vet shortly after I posted this and unfortunately he had to have a good portion of his tail amputated. I was disappointed to say the least having kept him so long with a full tail.
He has made a full recovery now and has adjusted to stumpy life.

The vet's only suggestion was that he had possibly injured his tail and was frustrated by the pain and chewed where it was sore, like a dog licking a cut.
Touch wood he hasn't done this since and I don't think he can any more as his tail is too short to reach now.

Thanks again for the reply!
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