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Thread: Lizards detaching their tail

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
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    Canada
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    Default Lizards detaching their tail

    Hello everyone,
    I'm new and was wondering if anyone here has ever watched this live in action? I only found out about lizards being able to detach their tails today, since I usually occupy myself with frogs only. I think that is very fascinating! Especially since they can even grow them back? Looking forward to your answers.
    The early bird gets the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese. ~Author Unknown

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
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    3,515

    Default Re: Lizards detaching their tail

    Seen it a number of times in a variety of taxa. It's by and large something I prefer to avoid happening in the first place.
    The trend is to post names and numbers of "pets" here. That seems...um...bulky.
    23+ species of salamander
    28+ families and subfamilies of reptile, amphibian, and arachnid.
    Only one has a name. The Beast.

  3. #3
    Join Date
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    Edmonton
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    Default Re: Lizards detaching their tail

    The process if called autotomy and it stands for self severing or self amputation - it is basically a self-defense mechanism. Some lizards can do this to evade predators or when they feel threatened. Kind of a last resort tool. Its a good survival strategy but it can be costly to the individual animal. Tail dropping can happen in captivity but its never a good thing or something you'd want to experience. It is my understanding that tails can regenerate but never to be identical to what was dropped. This can be unfortunate for the look of a leopard gecko for example, especially various morphs, that have beautiful tail color patterns prior to dropping its tail.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Lizards detaching their tail

    It can be quite the spectacle depending on the species. In a lot of the gecko species, the tail will detach quite easily, and in many the muscles continue to contract causing the tail to squirm and wiggle to attract the attention of predators. I've timed this lasting as long as 1hr20min in some. In other lizards, it can take quite a lot of strain to cause the tail to drop and in these there is usually no subsequent muscle activity. Interestingly, the fracture plane in some is between the caudal vertebrae, and in some it is actually mid-vertebrae. However, it doesn't just involve the bone, but the blood vessels are also structured to easily snap and constrict so as to reduce blood loss.
    When the tail regenerates, the bone is lost permanently, only a cartilagenous rod regrows to provide structural support. In some, the scale pattern of the integument drastically changes, as does colour pattern.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
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    Default Re: Lizards detaching their tail

    mooat lizards will grow their tail back,but their are also others that lose their tail and it never grows back.
    0.1 piebald python
    2.3 crested geckos
    1 pueblan milksnake
    3 fishtanks
    1.0 pastel ball python

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
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    Edmonton, Southeast
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    Default ATT: MAY BE GRAPHIC! Lizards detaching their tail

    I have seen this in person.. a shock to say the least

    most ends fold up the would like a flower when the tail drops
    its made like a puzzle piece to just come apart without much damage or bleeding
    CRESTED GECKO TAIL (NOT MINE)
    ERAS SUPPORTER SINCE 1995!
    Bryce & Gaby Pollock

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Lizards detaching their tail

    ERAS SUPPORTER SINCE 1995!
    Bryce & Gaby Pollock

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Lizards detaching their tail

    In the wild almost 99% of Rhacodactylus (and other geckos aswell) have lost thier tail..
    In the mid 90's when cresteds were rediscovered NO ONE EVEN KNEW THEY HAD TAILS TILL THEY WERE BRED.. because cresteds loose their tail indefinately they had never been seen with tail intact till around 96 or so when the first captive bred eggs hatched

    just thought id share
    ERAS SUPPORTER SINCE 1995!
    Bryce & Gaby Pollock

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
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    365

    Default Re: Lizards detaching their tail

    Some geckos, such as phelsumas, can quite often grow back a tail that looks nearly identical to the original. Others, such as leos, will have a very different tail shape when it regrows, and still others, such as cresteds, will never grow one back at all. Kind of cool, but unfortunate to actually have happen to one of our pets!
    Bluemoon Geckos

  10. #10
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    Sep 2010
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    Default Re: Lizards detaching their tail

    Thanks for the great answers and photos! Its really quite amazing.
    The early bird gets the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese. ~Author Unknown

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