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Not 1 tongue flick

Discussion in 'Black and White Tegu Discussion' started by JZrose, Oct 6, 2018.

  1. JZrose

    JZrose New Member

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    hi all. I am a newbie tegu owner (not new to reptiles). I have a (Archie) male b&w tegu purchased from a breeder. His hatch date was Sept. 3rd. I have had him for 10 days, in that time I have never seen 1 tongue flick, nothing. I have plenty of free time as I’m home all day. I have set up cameras to see if he’s just not comfortable with me, and havenot caught a tongue flick yet. I understand he is still new to me and his environment, but I am beginning to get concerned as he seems to have a hard time eating some things as well. So first.... he’s in a 7x2x2, 115F hot spot (megaray), cool side 80. Humidity is at 80-85%. He has ~10” of substrate to dig in, plenty of hides and greenery as well as a large water dish. The breeder clearly socialized his tegu hatchlings as Archie does not appear scared or skittish in any way. In fact if I sit by the enclosure, he comes over to meet me on the other side of the glass, and will stay until he falls asleep. If I open the door he climbs right into my hand. Now to the feeding: if I give him small bites of ground meat and wet dog food; he manages fine. However, if I give him roaches (far smaller than the space between his eyes), he can get them down maybe 50% of the time. He will almost appear to gag, and the roach seems to get stuck in the roof of his mouth. I have not seen his tongue when he is smelling me, food, water.... I have literally never seen his tongue. He does open his mouth when a typical tongue flick would occur. Does anyone have any thought here? Could it have been bitten off my a hatch-mate? Birth deformity? Or am I crazy? I have two videos; one of him attempting a roach... he tried to get it down for another 20 minutes after the video, I eventually pulled it out with tongs, and offered dog food instead, which he ate with no problems. The other video I tried to catch him “smelling” food on a different surface (maybe the change would get him interested enough to flick that tongue), as you will see he is far more interested in me... but you can see where he opens his mouth for a flick, without actually sticking out his tongue.



  2. dpjm

    dpjm Active Member 5 Year Member

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    I haven't run across this myself, so I have no experience. But a Google search for "tegu not flicking tongue" got a few hits, I would explore those. Let us know what you come up with before starting any intervention.
  3. JZrose

    JZrose New Member

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    Thanks for the reply. I have read most of what pops up on google. 1 lady had a hatchling tegu that had its tongue folded on itself within the mouth (vet was considering partial amputation). And another where a hatchmate bit off the fork of the tongue. But I haven’t found any answers. There also was a tegu that was shy with his flicks, but that hardly applies. The last post I found was of a similar situation on this forum (that’s how I landed here) the post was from 2015, I commented, and was advised to make my own post. That seems to be all I can find so far. It’s not often I run into an issue with a reptile and struggle to find similar cases, seems to be where I’ve landed.
  4. dpjm

    dpjm Active Member 5 Year Member

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    Have you considered trying to get the mouth open and looking inside? If you are experienced you could do this.
  5. JZrose

    JZrose New Member

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    Not a problem, I’ve opened many reptile mouths, that being said.. I’ve never looked in a tegu mouth; so I’m not 100% on their anatomy. Here is a pic.

    Attached Files:

  6. dpjm

    dpjm Active Member 5 Year Member

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    Hard to see much from the photos. Can you manipulate the tongue at all while you have the mouth open?
  7. JZrose

    JZrose New Member

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    There is no tongue to manipulate. Apparently he was either born without a tongue or it was bitten off quite far back by a hatchmate. When the mouth is open there is no visible tongue. Which explains his issues eating small roaches, they get caught in the roof of his mouth and he has no tongue to move them back. Raw meat slides down easier.
  8. EnjoysWine

    EnjoysWine Member

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    Poor guy . . . Have you told the breeder about this?
  9. JZrose

    JZrose New Member

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    I have spoke with the breeder, he has never had it happen with his tegu hatchlings before, but we are working it out.
    EnjoysWine likes this.