Can Iguanas Drop Their Tails? Most pet and wild lizards can drop their tails and then regrow them back. However, some, like the Iguana, don’t have that ability, which holds even for other parts of the body. Without care, your Iguana’s tail could be gone for good.
Do Iguanas drop tails?
Iguanas don’t drop their tails, unlike other lizards. If it happens, it’ll be an accident and not a willful defensive mechanism. When a lizard’s tail falls off, it’s usually in response to fear, such as when a predator is chasing them.
The bottom will wiggle around with the predator eating it, thinking it has eaten the lizard. This gives the lizard time to escape. Some of their tails can grow back, but it can take months. However, this is not the case for all lizards, as Iguanaons are an exception. Iguanas don’t drop their tails, and their response to fear is different.
Can Iguanas Drop Their Tails?
Iguanas cannot drop their tails at will like other lizards, and if they lose them accidentally, they will not regrow them back. They can lose their seats when grabbed too hard, shedding their skin, and through a tail rot.
If they lose their tails, stop the bleeding, then take them to the vet. Iguanas use their seats for balance, mating, and other activities. For this reason, you need to be careful since it’ll need more care once its tail is gone.
3 Major causes of tail loss in Iguanas
Since they don’t drop their tails due to fear, Iguanas can lose their tails in the following situations:
Fight & Injury
If you have more than one Iguana or lizard in the same cage, it’s common for tail loss to occur. If one lizard is scared, it might accidentally bite the tail of another Iguana or lizard in its cage. If your Iguana has a seat that looks like it was cut off with scissors, the chances are high that this happened due to tail biting from another animal in their habitat.
Aggression between lizards can be caused by territorial disputes or competition for food. A heavy object can also push down on a tail and eradicate it without any other effort needed by the aggressor. This can occur when the bottom is trapped under a feeder dish or other object, and the Iguana can’t get away.
Another way for tail loss in your Iguanas is physical injury. If they’re too close to an aggressive animal or human, their tail could be stepped on or accidentally slammed into something complexes like a wall or floor. You must know how to handle your Iguana so the tail loss doesn’t happen. Other pets in the home, such as dogs and cats, can also get playful and cut off the tail even by accident.
The tail could rot
Tail rot in Iguanas occurs when their tails get infected. Seats also can be susceptible to tail rot when another lizard or creature bites them, so Iguana owners need to make sure their pet lizards have a large enclosure with plenty of hiding spots and places where other animals cannot reach the Iguana’s tail.
Some pet owners may think that if the bottom drops off, then this means that there was an infection in the seat that caused it to fall off. However, in most cases, what causes tails to detach from bodies is usually trauma (accidental injury). This type of accident would result in damage being done directly around the seat’s base and often leads to bleeding out at the site of injury.
The tail loss can happen when shedding in Iguanas doesn’t go right. If tail shedding is not done correctly, the tail will be cut off when a tight layer of cells hampers blood supply to the bottom. Eventually, it dies off and drops.
3 Tips to prevent a tail drop in Iguanas
Ensure proper shedding
The best way to prevent tail loss is through a proper diet (a good quality food) and environment. The focus should be on the appropriate diet, adequate sunlight, and a stress-free environment. This way, shedding the skin goes smoothly.
If the cage is crowded, they could disturb one another during times of shedding. Such interruptions could lead to issues, one of which is tail rot. Don’t grab the Iguana by the tail.
While they’re not naturally inclined to lose their tails in fear, their seats quickly come off when you startle and grab them by the tail. This can be common in children who might even pick up the Iguana by the tail.
Prevent and treat tail rot early
When a Iguana starts to rot at its tail, it is often a sign that the reptile suffers from chronic health problems. This condition can be caused by parasites or injury and will need treatment as soon as possible if you want your pet to heal appropriately. Routinely check under their scales for any signs of swelling, cuts, or infection.
If you notice anything amiss, gently treat it with antibacterial ointment. Also, make sure they are getting plenty of water and fresh fruit. If the problem continues despite these efforts, consult an experienced vet immediately. Tail rot should never be ignored because, left untreated, which may lead to even more severe infections in other parts of the body.
Give them enough living space.
If you want to avoid tail loss in your Iguana, it’s essential to make sure they’re in a single-lizard habitat and have plenty of space to roam around. Give them lots of things to climb on, hide under and explore with their tail. This will help reduce stress levels and prevent tail biting from occurring. Also, provide enough climbing and basking areas for lizards to avoid tail biting and give them enough room to behave naturally without feeling stressed out or scared.
What To Do When Your Iguana Loses Its Tail?
If your Iguana loses its tail, it is essential to take it to the vet. In addition, it can be painful for your Iguana, and it may bleed and get infected if you don’t disinfect the area quickly. The tail will not grow back on its own, so you must help it heal with medication and a proper diet.
If left untreated, there are possible risks of infection setting in. The closer the cut of the tail is to the torso of the lizard, the higher the chances of bleeding heavily for the Iguana. It would help to prevent excessive bleeding by applying pressure using a sterile piece of gauze.
Interesting Further Reading
- Can Iguanas Eat Nectarines? 5 Steps To Serve
- How To Keep Iguana Cage Humid? [5 Easy Ways]
- How Long Does It Take For Iguana Eggs To Hatch?
Do Iguana’s tails grow back?
Iguana tails are comprised of keratin, and they don’t grow back. While other lizards, such as leopard geckos, will drop and regrow their seats (and other parts of the body) back several times over, Iguanas aren’t that way. Once the tail is lost, it’ll be lost for good.
Iguanas use their seats for balance, mating, social signals, and to scare off prey. Without it, you’ll need to provide more care to it than before. For example, the tail makes the Iguana larger to predators, which might scare it away. It also helps the Iguana fend off intruders during a fight.
10 Ways The Iguana Respond To Fear
Given that they don’t drop their tail when in distress, Iguanas react to fear in the following ways:
- clamp its mouth shut with its teeth
- hiss or puff up in an attempt to look larger
- roll over on its back (a defensive posture).
- they whip out their tails
- they bite
- their bodies turn black
- they start bobbing their heads up and down as if nodding
- they shake their heads from side to side
- A frightened Iguana will also sway back and forth on its hind legs while keeping the front limbs close to the body with all four feet in contact with the ground (sometimes this is followed by secreting foul-smelling fluid).
- they also close their eyes when displeased with the situation
94% of pet owners say their animal pal makes them smile more than once a day. In 2007, I realized that I was made for saving Animals. My father is a Vet, and I think every pet deserves one. I started this blog, “InPetCare”, in 2019 with my father to enlighten a wider audience.