Broken tail :(


New Member
Hi, i'm pretty new here and to chameleons in general. This site has been a great resource for me correcting early husbandry mistakes, and now I'm wondering if anyone has some advice for me, I have a male veiled who is probably about 4 months old. This morning at feeding time the very tip of his tail got shut in the lid of the cricket keeper (Poor guy, I feel awful.:( ) It's now crooked at the end and he can't curl it into a tight circle like before.
So my question: Is this something the vet can fix? I want him to be able to use his tail for climbing, and I'm worried that with it broken like this he won't be able to. So if anyone has had a similar injury to their chameleon, or just has an idea of how much a vet can do to fix it, please let me know. Also, if the vet CAN fix this, does anyone have a vet they really like in the OC or SD area? I'm looking to find somebody that I can use regularly.
Thank you so much for any input!

Hi Hannah,

It should be looked at by a vet. Part of the problem with a broken tail is, if it is severely broken, the tip will no longer get blood flow. Then, it will rot.. and the rot will spread to the healthy part of the tail as well. Only a vet will be able to tell you if it needs to be amputated or not.

Sorry, not familiar with vets in your area.. Brad has a list somewhere.

I have a male panther that has a broken tail tip. He already had it when I got him. He functions completely fine and still uses his tail to climb and hang and to hold on for dear life when I try to get him out of his cage. He can't curl it up as tightly as he would be able to, but other than that it does not affect him at all.

I'll post a picture of it later on. Taking him to the vet is your best idea.. but try not to feel badly. It happens and I am sure that you have learned to be more careful. He will be fine ;)
When my friend introduced me to chameleons, by asking me to take his for a while, the tail tip was already kinked/broken. I knew nothing then and did nothing about it. She never used her tail to aid herself in her climbing and never curled her tail all the way up. Kind of a loose curl. But it never discolored or anything. But had I known what I know now, I'd have had it taken care of with a vet.
Thanks so much for the input! We have an appointment, and hopefully everything will be fine.
I had a Parson's a LONG time ago that broke his tail about 1/3 of the way up from the tip in a fall. The fall occurred during his recovery from a fungal infection that affected his ability to walk properly...he was WC and came in with the fungus (CANV). We (the vets and I) tried to splint the tail, but he kept getting caught on things no matter what we did so we finally decided to let it go to see what would happen. The part from the break to the tip became necrotic and eventually was amputated leaving a short piece of the necrotic part. The tail did not die any further up and eventually the remaining necrotic part fell off.

I have had several other chameleons over the years that had the end of their tails either lopped off or crimped/squashed. (Thankfully, I didn't lop or crimp/squash them...I did lop the end off a flying gecko's tail once though before I had kept many chameleons. It sure made me feel very guilty...and smartened me up so that I always checked tails and toes whenever I shut lids or doors to cages after that.) Luckily none of the tails died further up than where the damaged part was in the first place....but I have heard of it happening. Sometimes its due to dry gangrene.

If the squashing/crimping is minimal and there is still blood flow, it might correct itself. If not, as Heika said, the lack of blood flow will cause it to die. In any case, it would likely be wise to have a vet check it out.
I've made the appointment just to have it checked out, plus I've been meaning to have a check up just because he wasn't in great health when I got him.

In regards to blood flow, would the tip be discolored if the blood flow was disrupted? It was black right after it happened, but after about ten minutes it went back to normal and now it matches the rest of his body. (I'm keeping my fingers crossed that this means no amputation will be necessary...)

Is there any possibility, assuming the tip won't be amputated, that they could heal the break and he could regain full use of his tail again?

thanks for answering my questions, I just want to know what to expect.
In my experience if the color is back to normal there is likely blood flow....just remember that I am not a vet and my experience with this is limited.
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