Does anyone know how long it typically takes a Northern Blue Tongue Skink to regenerate their tail? I feel absolutely terrible, I got distracted for one measly second and my husky launched into my skink’s enclosure and got the end of her tail. No, typically they are not around each other, let alone unsupervised. I was in the middle of cleaning her cage and had to turn around and that’s when it happened.
I have wound cleaner and other things to help, will keep an eye on it and an experienced exotics vet nearby should I need to take her in, but please let me know if you have dealt with this before and have any tips or recommendations.
Picture of Opal for attention [Taken prior to the attack by evil (but also adorable) Husky]
I can’t tell you how long it will take, every lizard can be different.
The important thing would be to make sure there aren’t other injuries that you may have missed because you focused on the obvious one. If anything seems out of sorts, you’re going to need a vet immediately.
Once that’s done…
Keep your BTS as clean as possible. On paper towels or fake reptile grass. Something easy to clean. This is to keep the wound site as clean as possible.
Make sure you’re feeding as well as you can. A good varied diet with supplements as needed will help them to heal faster.
Don’t use antibiotic ointment with painkillers. Just plain antibiotic ointment.
If you have the capability, I’d consider making a vet appointment for prophylactic antibiotics. While dog bites aren’t as bad as cat bites, they still harbor quite a bit of bacteria in their mouths. If it were anything other than a dog bite I’d say just monitor at home, but infection possibilities aren’t really to be messed with.
Otherwise I fully agree with @armiyana’s advice.
Accidents happen. Hopefully she heals up just fine. Next time just remember to shut the furry troublemaker out before cleaning and everything will be golden.
^^ If it was a bite and not the tail pulled then yeah, I agree with noodlehaus.
Lizard tails will tend to have a weird almost starfish like look to them when they drop them. If it looks more crumpled or crushed, then I would take that as a bite.
I did check her over and didnt see any other injuries, but she is right next to my desk and I am keeping a close eye on her in case she’s exhibiting any other injuries. Loki (dog) grabbed the tail and ran with it so he wasn’t interested in the rest of her.
I have the Veticeryn reptile specific wound care spray handy and use that.
Thank you for responding!
Yes, it was definitely a dropped tail, not a bite. I didnt see any scratches or punctures on her when I checked her.
And no, normally they are not allowed around each other. We’ve been keeping a close eye on Loki (dog) because his seizures (already on meds for them) have been getting bad again and Opal (Skink) had a FOUL smelling poop.
I’m definitely one to take a reptile to the vet if there’s the slightest hint of need, so she will go should anything look sketchy with the dropped tail site, demeanor, lack of appetite, etc. I’ve had lots of cresties with dropped tails that i have cared for so assumed it was similar, but have only had the skinks for a year.
Blue tongues are the most reluctant lizards to drop their tails that I know of. To me, it sounds like your dog bit the tail leading to her dropping it above the wound. When it comes to tail drops, you really don’t need to change anything care wise just keep the substrate clean and keep an eye on it. If you do want to change to something else, use paper towels. Blue tongues have very fragile toes and if they get caught in something like reptile carpet it could cause more damage than good. As for how long it should take, could you show a picture of how much is missing?
Bless your heart dear one! It sounds like you were trying to protect one (Loki) while maintaining the other (Opal)! Just being a good mom!
I researched just a tad bit and it seems that Opal will have a new tail within a couple of months. But it probably won’t resemble the old tail, may be a bit shorter and possibly a different color. But she will have a new tail nonetheless.
I know you will take great care of her in the interim!
I tried getting a photo, but shes too stressed out and is not handleable in general. She’s on paper towels to keep substrate out of the wound until it seals up and seems to be resting ok.
Thank you all for your responses! There’s not much info out there on the tail regrowth so I will try to post progress updates once she’s doing a little better.
WARNING GRAPHIC - PICTURES OF DROPPED TAIL
I thought I would include these in case anyone is interested to see the star pattern described by one of the repsonses above. This is similar to what it looks like when a crested gecko drops its tail, I’m not sure about other species.
I know someone kinda local that i see at reptile shows who does preservation and i thought they might be interested in this. We’ll see, but i think it would make a cool wet specimen.
Yeah, I tried to take pics while I was applying the reptile wound spray and making sure there was no devris in the wound, which she was really good about! She was never handled much before I got her so I’ve been working with her on allowing me to put her into a snuggle pouch. She’s peeking out of her hide now, so I think she’s doing better and will hoepfully eat a little tonight.
When a lizard drops its tail, it seals up right away. That is why there is never any blood unless it is physically cut off. Definitely isn’t a bad idea to keep her off substrate but just thought I would clear that up