if it happens again - what do I do? STUCK TONGUE

little leaf

Avid Member
one of my 6 mo old Jax babies got her tongue stuck on a vine yesterday - she was stuck for over 5 min/ she shot a silk, got 1/2 the silk, 1/2 the vine - it was one of those vines that kinda look like they have dirt on them - she had to run to her tongue, and HUNG from it- and of course, she was on the way back side of the cage, upside down, and the vines are wired in , so I could not take it out - I hurried and just held her close to the vine to get the pressure and weight off her mouth - it scared me to death - what if she does this again, and can not get her tongue off- is there a way to help them- she had not done this before, but what do you do if they do get really stuck - or was this just a freak thing ? at one time of another , about every one of my chams has stuck my finger when their tongue kind "over flowed" from the feeder bug - thats a weird feeling :p - but they did not stick - she went and hid, and would not eat the rest of the day :( I have not fed yet this AM - should I let her rest her tongue today - I think it really did hurt when it happened :(
 
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laurie

Retired Moderator
When you told me about this, I had no idea what to say. I would have been in a panic worst than you were. I think you handled it as best as it could be. My guess is she at least strained her tongue muscles. I doubt she will want to eat today. Just try to make sure she drinks, and watch her a carefully as you can to see how she is acting. I have NO idea what to do if it happens again. Let's just hope it never does.
 

sandrachameleon

Chameleon Enthusiast
it does happen on rare occasion that their tongue "sticks" to a branch or whatever. Usually they will run themselves towards the end of their tongue to retract. Sometimes they wont eat for a few hours or even a couple days afterwards, but usually there is no permanent negative outcome.

I've never heard of one loosing its footing and hanging from the tongue. Is her foot grip strong? Are there enough branches that she can walk herself to her tongue to reel herself in if ever it should happen again?

Lucky you were there to support otherwise it could have severed the tongue. I think you did the right thing.

I agree with the providing water.
I'd bowl feed for a few days, so that she doesn't have to exert /shoot her tongue at all for awhile if she doesn't want to.
 

Alexl

Avid Member
First question: Was it a fake plant or a real one (and if they're real ones- why are they wired?) Imho one could avoid another situation like this by using natural plants (which would simply break away) and no wires inside the cage. I had an patient with similar problem last year, he got his tongue stucked in a netting wire (usually used for rabbits) in his garden cage. Result luckily was an only a little hurted tongue which recovered great with pain medication, infusions and feeding break for some days. And the owner built a new cage with smaller wire the chameleon wouldn't try to shoot through anymore.

What you can do when your chameleon gets his tongue stuck at home and obviously can't help himself: Gently fix the chameleon at neck and hip with one hand, place him near to the tongue tip to avoid more injuries and carefully get the tongue out of whereever it stucks with your other hand. Maybe you can call a second person to help you. If the chameleon can pull back his tongue completely afterwards, great. Don't feed it, watch it carefully and take a look after some hours if there are visible swellings or discolourations of the tongue. If the chameleon can't pull back his tongue or just a little part, keep the tongue moist and call your vet for a visit as soon as possible.
 

little leaf

Avid Member
When you told me about this, I had no idea what to say. I would have been in a panic worst than you were. I think you handled it as best as it could be. My guess is she at least strained her tongue muscles. I doubt she will want to eat today. Just try to make sure she drinks, and watch her a carefully as you can to see how she is acting. I have NO idea what to do if it happens again. Let's just hope it never does.

but you know EVERYTHING :p I am scared to feed anyone now :(

I've never heard of one loosing its footing and hanging from the tongue. Is her foot grip strong? Are there enough branches that she can walk herself to her tongue to reel herself in if ever it should happen again?
her grip is very strong, she shot from across the cage- the one she shot was not for her- it was for her sister - and there is kinda a open sunning spot in the middle - she was like by the door, and shot to the back of the cage - she ran as far as she could to her tongue, and then just kinda walked off the vine and hung there- so I pushed her to the vine, and she held on, but I kept my hand there just encase she fell - I always watch them eat - I was surprised just how far she could shoot her tongue! I am going to add another plant to take up the gap in the center of the cage- she just ran out of "road" to get to her mouth - she ate the worm, but then she did like when the male panthers puff out the lower neck area - and you can kinda see the tongue bone - do you know what I mean - :confused: -lol and then went and hid - I thought it best at the time not to dig her out of the plant as I know she was upset - I do see a TINY bit of swelling in her lower neck, but her tongue is in her mouth - not hanging out at all - and she did drink - but she is still in her "stress" colors - ( I am still in my stress colors too!! :p ) I will just keep an eye on her- today is supose to be roach day- but I think I will offer her just water and give her one more day and see how the swelling is on Sunday -

thanks you guys for the help - it scared the crap out of me :(
 

absolutbill

Chameleon Enthusiast
Sounds like you did the right thing, and I probably would have fecaled my pants if it happened to one of my guys! :eek:
 

little leaf

Avid Member
First question: Was it a fake plant or a real one (and if they're real ones- why are they wired?) Imho one could avoid another situation like this by using natural plants (which would simply break away) and no wires inside the cage. I had an patient with similar problem last year, he got his tongue stucked in a netting wire (usually used for rabbits) in his garden cage. Result luckily was an only a little hurted tongue which recovered great with pain medication, infusions and feeding break for some days. And the owner built a new cage with smaller wire the chameleon wouldn't try to shoot through anymore.

What you can do when your chameleon gets his tongue stuck at home and obviously can't help himself: Gently fix the chameleon at neck and hip with one hand, place him near to the tongue tip to avoid more injuries and carefully get the tongue out of whereever it stucks with your other hand. Maybe you can call a second person to help you. If the chameleon can pull back his tongue completely afterwards, great. Don't feed it, watch it carefully and take a look after some hours if there are visible swellings or discolourations of the tongue. If the chameleon can't pull back his tongue or just a little part, keep the tongue moist and call your vet for a visit as soon as possible.

the vine is a flukers - the bumpy kind- but all the plants are real - and you know they only do this stupid kind of stuff when you are home alone :p - and they are in big outdoor cages - she looked like a poor little yo-yo - the first thing thew my mind was " great , I only have to stand here for an hour until school is out, and the kids get home to help me - " I did not want to let go of her- I am thankful she was able to un-suction herself - I have added the plant in the center to discourage "across the cage" shooting :cool:
 

reptoman

Avid Member
I have had a similar thing happen but not as bad as hanging from her tongue. A cricket ran up my arm into a hairy part of my wrist and she got her tongue entangle in my arm hair. All I could do was stand there and let her bite my arm repeatedly until she freed her tongue, leaving a small bit of her tongue in the hair. It took a while before she would hand feed but she eventually recovered. I hope your girl is able to bounce back quickly.
 

little leaf

Avid Member
I have had a similar thing happen but not as bad as hanging from her tongue. A cricket ran up my arm into a hairy part of my wrist and she got her tongue entangle in my arm hair. All I could do was stand there and let her bite my arm repeatedly until she freed her tongue, leaving a small bit of her tongue in the hair. It took a while before she would hand feed but she eventually recovered. I hope your girl is able to bounce back quickly.

oh my gosh !! that had to be unnerving - I dont think there was any of her tongue on the vine- I did not even think to look at the vine :eek: I will watch very close when/if she eats on Sunday to see if there is any damage - I never looked at her tongue because I let her go hide, and today , she is still being shy - and I dont want to dig her out and stress her even more- but I will on Sunday if she is still acting off - glad your little one got better - these crazy chams !! :eek:
 

laurie

Retired Moderator
I have had a similar thing happen but not as bad as hanging from her tongue. A cricket ran up my arm into a hairy part of my wrist and she got her tongue entangle in my arm hair. All I could do was stand there and let her bite my arm repeatedly until she freed her tongue, leaving a small bit of her tongue in the hair. It took a while before she would hand feed but she eventually recovered. I hope your girl is able to bounce back quickly.

Time to start shaving those arms Brian. You can still skip shaving the are pits.:rolleyes:
 

Jupiter

Member
I've had the arm hair thing happen, but I opted to rip it out rather then risk him hurting his tongue. As far as the original question goes, the best thing I can come up with would be to go in and clip off the section she's stuck to, small enough so she can reel her tongue in, but big enough that she can't swallow it on accident. Then you take the whole project out of the cage where you can maneuver better. But I don't know. It's definitely a...STICKY SITUATION
 

Dr O

Veterinarian
anyone else having "A Christmas Story" moment?

another thought then would be getting water on to the stuck tongue quickly, which usually dilutes it enough that it should come free. probably the most harmless method as long as the water doesn't go down the cham's throat.

in a pinch, pee on the tongue!! :D
 

Jupiter

Member
anyone else having "A Christmas Story" moment?

another thought then would be getting water on to the stuck tongue quickly, which usually dilutes it enough that it should come free. probably the most harmless method as long as the water doesn't go down the cham's throat.

in a pinch, pee on the tongue!! :D

I feel like that would have to be a pretty specific pinch haha.
 

Dr O

Veterinarian
Doc - a lot of us are ladies here on the forum, and not quite, um, bendy enough to complete that maneuver! :p

fair enough. I do think water would likely work quite well to loosen the tongue, as evidenced by the sticking trouble chams tend to have w/ wet insects or a very wet mouth.
 

lovepicasso

New Member
Hope her tongue gets better soon, just keep an eye on her and keep the tongue moist.....I know all about how bad tongue damage can become......best of luck with her Cheryl.
 
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