Tongue Troubles

Failure to fully extend the tongue, or troubles retracting the tongue, poor aim, etc.- these types of tongue issues can be the result of injury and/or nutritional inbalances.
- trauma from getting the tongue wrapped around or entangled or caught on something in the enclosure or a puncture wound from hitting something sharp in the enclosure;
- damage to the tongue by a live prey item (i.e. the spiky legs of adult grasshoppers, roaches, mantids);
- something caught or lodged in the mouth or tongue tissue
- hand-feeding injuries (if the feeder accidentally grabs or pulls the tongue when it makes contact with the fingers, injury from tongs)
- mouth or tongue infection or abscesses
- parasites
- eye issues (damage from bad lighting, infection, growths, etc)
- dehydration (more common than you might guess)
- hypocalcaemia or vitamin deficiency, mineral deficiency. Nutritional deficiencies are typically a slower, more chronic loss of tongue function. The chameleon tongue's aim may become misguided, or the tongue's reach gradually decreases until the chameleon can project it just a little or not at all.
-Very old age can sometimes cause poor tongue control.

If your chameleon can not retract its tongue, keep the tongue moist and get the chameleon to the vet.

If your chameleon is suddenly having troubles with its tongue, injury is the most likely issue. Seeing a vet would be a good idea.

If your chameleon began missing its prey or not shooting its tongue like it used to, getting worse gradually over time, check your gutloading and supplementation. Poor tongue control / Missing the insects can be a sign of a Calcium, magnesium, zinc, or B vitamins (B1 in particular) deficiency, and /or sometimes maybe vitamin A deficiency (usually not the sole reason), or Vitamin K deficiency, or an inbalance between Calcium, magenesium, vitamin D, and vitamin A, etc. A good supplement or improved gutload containing these nutrients in the correct balance usually helps within a week or two if vitamin deficiency is the reason, and the case is not too far gone.
Over supplementing can also be the source of issues. So if you are already provide a fair bit, consider a temporary respite.

Seeing a vet is also wise.
Blood work can be helpful.

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