URGENT! Baby Chameleon's Tongue Completely Fallen Out & Unattached After Getting Stuck!

redhorse

Chameleon Enthusiast
Not an expert, but think it could be this portion in red. (processus lingualis in chameleon)

Not 100% sure but think this bone assist in shooting the sticky and muscle portion out and then the retractor muscles pull back in.

input anyone?




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kinyonga

Chameleon Queen
You said..."Yes, the vet walked me thorugh a tutuorial with him on how to properly syringe feed so nothing goes down the trachea. Jeez I'm so nervous"...good that the vet did that. If you just ease the meds in and not squirt them in it will make it less likely that it will go into the lungs as well.

You said..."Tongue came out clear - root and all. No tissue left in the slightest"...it is actually better if it all came out so there's no muscle/tissue/flap left at the end of the hyoid bone. If there's a flap/tissue/etc left it makes it more difficult to be comfortable with the tongue gone and can lead to issues.

You said..."When you say "hand fed" does that mean hold the bug in my hand while it's flat? Or feed with syringe?"...neither. Hold the bug in your fingers or with tongs so the bug can't run away.

You said..."Also I was thinking of clearing everything out of the bottom of the tank and maybe letting bug lose for him to "ground hunt"?"...I wouldn't do that yet. Is try to keep it simple until the "remains" of the tongue have time to heal.

You said..."Very worried about water"...don't worry...it can be figured out.

You said..."Thank you for all of this! Any further findings are appreciated"...you're welcome.

You said..."Ok new advancement - he just opened his mouth for the first time and tried to use his tongue and something about 1.5" came out, dark in color and stood straight up. What the heck is this? Insight please?"... It could be remains of the tongue or it could be the hyoid bone. Can you get a photo if he does it again...and don't be surprised if he does...they have to figure out that the tongue is gone.

There's a bone called the hyoid bone that is stored in the hole at the front of the mouth. The tongue folds over it like when you shove your sleeve up your arm...then it's all stores in the mouth.

I'm hoping the tongue was ripped off far enough back that there is no flap of it left that extends past the end of the hyoid bone so it won't bother the chameleon. Hard to explain.

If you want/need to feed him from a syringe, here's a recipe...
https://www.adcham.com/html/husbandry/bug-juice.html

Hope this helps and that he'll do ok. If he's having trouble, post here again.
 
Not an expert, but think it could be this portion in red. (processus lingualis in chameleon)

Not 100% sure but think this bone assist in shooting the sticky and muscle portion out and then the retractor muscles pull back in.

input anyone?




View attachment 320834
I bet you're right this seems about the exact size of what I'm seeing...poor guy what the heck!
 
You said..."Yes, the vet walked me thorugh a tutuorial with him on how to properly syringe feed so nothing goes down the trachea. Jeez I'm so nervous"...good that the vet did that. If you just ease the meds in and not squirt them in it will make it less likely that it will go into the lungs as well.

You said..."Tongue came out clear - root and all. No tissue left in the slightest"...it is actually better if it all came out so there's no muscle/tissue/flap left at the end of the hyoid bone. If there's a flap/tissue/etc left it makes it more difficult to be comfortable with the tongue gone and can lead to issues.

You said..."When you say "hand fed" does that mean hold the bug in my hand while it's flat? Or feed with syringe?"...neither. Hold the bug in your fingers or with tongs so the bug can't run away.

You said..."Also I was thinking of clearing everything out of the bottom of the tank and maybe letting bug lose for him to "ground hunt"?"...I wouldn't do that yet. Is try to keep it simple until the "remains" of the tongue have time to heal.

You said..."Very worried about water"...don't worry...it can be figured out.

You said..."Thank you for all of this! Any further findings are appreciated"...you're welcome.

You said..."Ok new advancement - he just opened his mouth for the first time and tried to use his tongue and something about 1.5" came out, dark in color and stood straight up. What the heck is this? Insight please?"... It could be remains of the tongue or it could be the hyoid bone. Can you get a photo if he does it again...and don't be surprised if he does...they have to figure out that the tongue is gone.

There's a bone called the hyoid bone that is stored in the hole at the front of the mouth. The tongue folds over it like when you shove your sleeve up your arm...then it's all stores in the mouth.

I'm hoping the tongue was ripped off far enough back that there is no flap of it left that extends past the end of the hyoid bone so it won't bother the chameleon. Hard to explain.

If you want/need to feed him from a syringe, here's a recipe...
https://www.adcham.com/html/husbandry/bug-juice.html

Hope this helps and that he'll do ok. If he's having trouble, post here again.
This is great info I really appreciate you Kinyonga! Thank you for the recipe. I will absolutely try and grab a pic since I'm watching him like a hawk and I will post. I will keep everyone updated! THANK YOU!
 

DonKeesh

Chameleon Enthusiast
I inherited a panther from a friend back in 2003 that had this same issue. Friend was trying to hand feed him as juvenile and like you said was caught off guard when tongue stuck to his hand and pulled back. This chameleon recovered and lived to be at least six years old. We tong fed him the rest of his life and since he had no tongue there was no risk of using tongs. He would still try to shoot his phantom tongue and you would see the hyoid bone deploy then we just place the feeder in his mouth. The biggest issue was hydration because the tongue is so important for them to lick dew on leaves. So I would hydrate him with syringe during each tong feeding session. Hope your guy adapts as well as he did!
 
I inherited a panther from a friend back in 2003 that had this same issue. Friend was trying to hand feed him as juvenile and like you said was caught off guard when tongue stuck to his hand and pulled back. This chameleon recovered and lived to be at least six years old. We tong fed him the rest of his life and since he had no tongue there was no risk of using tongs. He would still try to shoot his phantom tongue and you would see the hyoid bone deploy then we just place the feeder in his mouth. The biggest issue was hydration because the tongue is so important for them to lick dew on leaves. So I would hydrate him with syringe during each tong feeding session. Hope your guy adapts as well as he did!
Hi! Thanks so much for weighing in here. I'm sorry that happened to your little guy as well but am grateful for the insight! Yes, I saw his hyoid bone deploy yesterday. What foods ended up being his favorite? Same as before his tongue was injured? We are on day 2 after injury and I place Barney's favorite treats neaer him with tongs and he just turns away. Won't open his mouth at all. I'm assuming this is normal becuase he is sore? How many mL should I syringe feed him with during each feeding of water? You would pick your guy up each feeding and syringe in water? Sorry for all of the questions! I hope he can adapy and live to be 6! What an accomplishment for you.
 

DonKeesh

Chameleon Enthusiast
@emchristineb it was so long ago I might be foggy on details but he was a full grown adult by the time I got him so cannot offer advice on care immediately after injury. As an adult he ate any feeder I offered. I would just move the bug in front of him and he would shoot his hyoid out and then I would place the bug in his mouth before he chomped down. For water I would just drip water from a syringe on his lips he would drink until no longer thirsty not sure about how many MLs but I would drip the water slowly. And no I didn't not have to hold him he was completely normal besides missing tongue. My guess is you may want to feed a liquid diet until he heals. A sharp cricket leg on his wound may not feel great.
 
@emchristineb it was so long ago I might be foggy on details but he was a full grown adult by the time I got him so cannot offer advice on care immediately after injury. As an adult he ate any feeder I offered. I would just move the bug in front of him and he would shoot his hyoid out and then I would place the bug in his mouth before he chomped down. For water I would just drip water from a syringe on his lips he would drink until no longer thirsty not sure about how many MLs but I would drip the water slowly. And no I didn't not have to hold him he was completely normal besides missing tongue. My guess is you may want to feed a liquid diet until he heals. A sharp cricket leg on his wound may not feel great.
So extremely helpful! Thank you!
 
Hi everyone!

I just thought I would give an update. After a little over a week since Barney's accident and daily hand feeding/giving antibiotics/pain meds (which he absolutely hates) he officially crawled down to his feeding dish this afternoon and grabbed a few worms like a bearded dragon! He's learning! I have been so stressed wondering if he will learn to eat in a new way. At first he tried to stick his tongue out (which looks completely healed, no more blood clot) and after realizing that it wasn't going to stick, he just grabbed the hornworm with his mouth! CHOMP. I am so happy. This is a major moment for Barn. I was so worried about twice daily hand feeding the rest of his life. Now my only concern remains to be water but he seems like he's getting plenty and doesn't look dehydrated. In a couple weeks I will make sure he is weighing more than the day of his accident and now can start supplementing his food again. I still feel awful but am feeling so much better that we made the right decision in giving him a second chance and did not put him down! Thanks for everyon's advice, any is still welcome :)
 

PlanetRemulak

Avid Member
I know the following is quite a different scenario, but thought it might be worth mentioning: I’ll be getting a second chameleon soon, quite possibly a blue ambanja that was born with a defective tongue. The hyoid bone and tongue muscle are intact, he just doesn’t shoot his tongue. Apparently, he has been this way since day one. I was sent a video of him feeding by the breeder. You can see him on the verge of deploying his tongue at a feeder like he’s going to shoot it out, but in the end he gums the bug right off the branch/out of the feeder cup like a bearded dragon. Not 100% sure that I’ll end up with that specific chameleon just yet, but figured I should come up with ways to make feeding easier well in advance. I dug around here on the forums and found the following by @ferretinmyshoes..

Post in thread 'Born With Defective Tongue???'

So, they had a veiled cham with a tongue injury. They binder clipped a narrow cup to a branch so their boy could perch on it comfortably while being able to access the feeders at the bottom. Genius (but from what I understand, @ferretinmyshoes is a vet, so I think this kind of creativity is to be expected ✌🏻)! Just an idea for your little Barney moving forward. I’ll second what everyone else has already mentioned - the main thing is going to be making sure he’s getting proper hydration (keeping your night time humidity levels up as high as possible will help with this). Really though, you’ve already been given so much great advice on that front. With chameleons, we’re practically inspecting every poop and urate under the magnifying glass as it is, so you’re already in the habit of making sure he’s getting enough water. As long as urates stay nice and white, I think you‘ll both be okay. 🙂

I am so very GLAD to hear that Barney is already adapting and learning how to eat again, but I’m not surprised! Veiled chameleons are so tenacious. They tend to have such a strong will to live, and an even stronger will to eat (which, honestly? Same lol). The main thing to remember here is that beating yourself up over what happened won’t do you OR Barney any good. 💩 happens! It was a freak accident. I’m sure it will take you quite a bit of time to get the visual of your baby’s whole tongue stuck to your hand out of your mind 😣 and understandably so (I felt like I needed a shot of something strong just reading this, so I can only guess how YOU felt). You did the best possible thing you could have done by getting Barney to a vet right away.

Once again, I’m so glad to hear he’s eating and doing chameleon stuff! I’m rooting for you both! 💚
 
I know the following is quite a different scenario, but thought it might be worth mentioning: I’ll be getting a second chameleon soon, quite possibly a blue ambanja that was born with a defective tongue. The hyoid bone and tongue muscle are intact, he just doesn’t shoot his tongue. Apparently, he has been this way since day one. I was sent a video of him feeding by the breeder. You can see him on the verge of deploying his tongue at a feeder like he’s going to shoot it out, but in the end he gums the bug right off the branch/out of the feeder cup like a bearded dragon. Not 100% sure that I’ll end up with that specific chameleon just yet, but figured I should come up with ways to make feeding easier well in advance. I dug around here on the forums and found the following by @ferretinmyshoes..

Post in thread 'Born With Defective Tongue???'

So, they had a veiled cham with a tongue injury. They binder clipped a narrow cup to a branch so their boy could perch on it comfortably while being able to access the feeders at the bottom. Genius (but from what I understand, @ferretinmyshoes is a vet, so I think this kind of creativity is to be expected ✌🏻)! Just an idea for your little Barney moving forward. I’ll second what everyone else has already mentioned - the main thing is going to be making sure he’s getting proper hydration (keeping your night time humidity levels up as high as possible will help with this). Really though, you’ve already been given so much great advice on that front. With chameleons, we’re practically inspecting every poop and urate under the magnifying glass as it is, so you’re already in the habit of making sure he’s getting enough water. As long as urates stay nice and white, I think you‘ll both be okay. 🙂

I am so very GLAD to hear that Barney is already adapting and learning how to eat again, but I’m not surprised! Veiled chameleons are so tenacious. They tend to have such a strong will to live, and an even stronger will to eat (which, honestly? Same lol). The main thing to remember here is that beating yourself up over what happened won’t do you OR Barney any good. 💩 happens! It was a freak accident. I’m sure it will take you quite a bit of time to get the visual of your baby’s whole tongue stuck to your hand out of your mind 😣 and understandably so (I felt like I needed a shot of something strong just reading this, so I can only guess how YOU felt). You did the best possible thing you could have done by getting Barney to a vet right away.

Once again, I’m so glad to hear he’s eating and doing chameleon stuff! I’m rooting for you both! 💚
Hi there PlanetRemulak (love the username)! I really really appreciate the time you put into this response, it is very appreciated! Barney is 10 weeks old now and chugging along. I have found his favorite bugs are silkworms, hornworms and dubia. We have to avoid any hoppers or flyers as it's too difficult without his tongue. All worms he is grabbing independently from his cup but I have to tong feed him dubias. He is a stinker and we've had a few days where he will only eat his wax worm treat. He has not shed since the injury but I believe he's due this week for shedding. I do struggle with hydration, today his eyes were a bit sunken in. I syringe fed a tiny amount of water and increased misting. I also gave him a bit of the vet prescribed wet food (which contains water) to see if his eyes become hydrated again. I will look for healthy urate this afternoon! All in all, he's doing well and is a resiliant little fellow with lots of spice but he definietly needs extra attention and care, which I'm happy to give! I do worry who will care for him when I am traveling for work. I need to find an experienced reptile sitter in Los Angeles! Thanks again for your kind words. I was completely shattered with mom guilt for a couple of weeks after the accident but am learning to forgive myself. Thank you for rooting for us!
 

PlanetRemulak

Avid Member
Hi there PlanetRemulak (love the username)! I really really appreciate the time you put into this response, it is very appreciated! Barney is 10 weeks old now and chugging along. I have found his favorite bugs are silkworms, hornworms and dubia. We have to avoid any hoppers or flyers as it's too difficult without his tongue. All worms he is grabbing independently from his cup but I have to tong feed him dubias. He is a stinker and we've had a few days where he will only eat his wax worm treat. He has not shed since the injury but I believe he's due this week for shedding. I do struggle with hydration, today his eyes were a bit sunken in. I syringe fed a tiny amount of water and increased misting. I also gave him a bit of the vet prescribed wet food (which contains water) to see if his eyes become hydrated again. I will look for healthy urate this afternoon! All in all, he's doing well and is a resiliant little fellow with lots of spice but he definietly needs extra attention and care, which I'm happy to give! I do worry who will care for him when I am traveling for work. I need to find an experienced reptile sitter in Los Angeles! Thanks again for your kind words. I was completely shattered with mom guilt for a couple of weeks after the accident but am learning to forgive myself. Thank you for rooting for us!
What are night time temps like in LA? If you can get temps below 67 F at night, you can use a cool mist fogger to keep RH levels in Barney’s cage up to 80% or higher. Hornworms and silkworms are also great for hydration. Keep that up along with his prescription diet, and I know you’ll be able to keep him hydrated. it may always be a bit challenging, but I know it can be done! That he’s still here with us today is testament enough to that. Barney is so lucky you got him to the vet as quick as you did.

In regards to who will watch over him when you’re not at home, that can be challenging even with a cham that doesn’t have tongue issues. I’m right there with you :/ even the dog makes it hard for me to leave for extended periods of time lol
 

LizardMaster1298

New Member
He will most likely need an antibiotic. I would use the search window here and research others who had similar experiences to find what drugs were prescribed. What a horrific accident, Im so sorry this happened to you and your cham! Good Luck, sorry I don't know the drug you need but I don't want to give you the wrong info. Maybe someone will chime in on what else you should do.
 

MzLaurie11

Established Member
First off Petco should be shot for even selling a cham that is only 6 weeks old! i just bought a baby veiled from markschameleons.com and most breeders wont offer a baby until they are 3 1\2 to 4 months old. This is the most heartbreaking thing i have heard in a long time. Water is going to be an issue because they lick it off leaves. The good thing is that he is so young and trusting that training is very possible. I hand feed a rescue with many issues. I have also taught him to drink from an eye dropped. Actually took a bottle of eye drops cleaned it out real well and fill it fresh daily and give it twice a day now morning and late afternoon he learned pretty quick. The issue is going to be avoiding the airway which the tongue naturally covers. if the urates look orangeish he is not getting enough water as the urine is old and crystalizing. Hand feeding is easy. Dont use tongs unless you absolutely have to bevause they can cause mouth injuries. I grab the and pinch the back part of the cricket and offer it. You must be patient. I would add some fly larvea to his teeding bowl. Buy one of thw brown ones that the worms cant get out of and sand the back of it and glue it to a flat rock then place it on a board with several perches close to it. I will post a pic. Go to markschameleons.com and there is a good video of the babies eating lettuce that is tied to a branch. I prefer collard greens due to high vitamin A and k content. I hope my suggestions help. Was so hsppy to read it wasnt the whole tongue. I
 

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karmalover

New Member
No vents below his cage, ah!
Just submitted the 10.0 for return - thank you for clarifying, information differs everywhere online!
I'm reading my dang gage wrong - highest is about 82
I ordered some silkworms last night thinking this would be easy as they cling to the branches? I was thinking liquid diet only for a week or so while he's healing? What should I get for liquid diet?
This happened yesterday, exactly 24 hours ago around 3:30PM PST yesterday.
I was using a shallow feeder cup and he loved it, tongue was working perfectly and he was eating like a champ.
I am trying to wrap my head around how to create something he can grab but not something the bugs can crawl out of...can he live on silk worms forever? Ah! He does take food from me on tongs as well (or did) but now I will have to get them somehow in his mouth.
I will keep track of weight with kitchen scale.
I am so worried about his water intake...and who will watch after him if I ever go out of town!
This is dreadful. My poor baby. I'm hoping nature does what natures does and he becomes resilient and savvy.
i'm sorry to hear about your cham :( i have this very small feeder cup that would seem to work for your cham in regards to, "something he can grab but not something the bugs can crawl out of,". i'm able to put 3 bsfl in at a time without them crawling out, and it looks small enough for a baby cham to stick his head into. attached is the link to the feeder cup so you can have a look. https://www.amazon.ca/Living-World-...pd_rd_i=B0006JM1PC&psc=1&ref_=pd_bap_d_rp_3_t
 
Hello friends! Barney update: still doing well but the past 2 days his bowel movements have no urate attached! Should I be concerned? Also he is only eating hornworms, occasional dubia's and black soldier fly larvae as a treat. His diet is primarily hornworms due to his ability to grab them easier and their ability to retain hydration for him. Can a chameleon live off of horn worms? And is the hydration of the worms what's causing his bowl movements to shift? He is getting an upgraded much larger cage that arrives tomorrow! I'm constantly looking for ways to make this little survivor happy. Thanks in advance!
 
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