Bearded dragon owners, this is for you! Concern often arises among bearded dragon guardians upon discovering a change in their pet’s tongue color, particularly when the tip displays discoloration. While a white-tipped tongue is typically within the bounds of normalcy for these reptiles, heightened attention is warranted if the tip darkens, turns black, or adopts a gray hue.
Unfortunately, such alterations may indicate the presence of illness or infection. In the subsequent sections, we delve into the appearance of a healthy bearded dragon’s tongue, the range of normalcy encompassing both white and black tips, reasons behind tongue protrusion, and further relevant information on this matter.
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Bearded dragon owners are sure to find this article interesting and informative. Learn everything there is to know about your bearded dragon’s tongue and be better equipped to take care of it properly.
What Bearded Dragon’s Tongue Is?
The bearded dragon’s tongue is a long, narrow, forked organ that protrudes from the mouth. It is used for sensing the environment and for catching prey. The tongue is covered with tiny, sharp papillae that help it to grip prey items.
The Remarkable Functions of the Bearded Dragon Tongue
Hunting – The bearded dragon’s tongue, an integral part of its anatomy, serves multiple functions. One such function is hunting. With a sticky, thick, and powerful tongue, these lizards possess the ability to propel it at impressive speeds to capture unsuspecting prey. The tongue adheres to the insect, enabling the dragon to retract it and pull the prey into its mouth. This highly effective hunting method allows bearded dragons to seize their favorite insects from a distance, showcasing their remarkable tongue function.
Cooling – Unlike mammals, lizards like bearded dragons lack the ability to sweat for temperature regulation. Instead, they employ their tongues to assist in cooling their bodies. If you notice your dragon’s mouth open, it indicates that the reptile is feeling hot. By keeping their mouths open, bearded dragons expose their tongues, allowing the vascularized organ to cool the blood reaching the surface. This cooled blood is then redirected to other areas of the body, effectively aiding in temperature regulation. Observing a bearded dragon with its mouth open while resting in the basking spot is a clear sign of utilizing the tongue for cooling purposes.
Grooming – Bearded dragons also utilize their tongues for self-grooming. While they may not be as proficient as cats in this aspect, they can still accomplish the task. These lizards often employ their tongues to lick their bodies, removing dirt and dust and maintaining cleanliness to some extent.
Smell and Taste – Bearded dragons have a keen sense of smell and taste, which they explore using their tongues. They frequently lick various objects, including their owners, to capture the scent and taste of these items. This behavior is made possible by the Jacobson organ situated on the mouth palate, enabling the detection of specific odors and flavors.
Bearded Dragon Tongue Problems
Bearded dragons can encounter various tongue-related problems that owners should be aware of. Some of these problems include:
Mouth rot – Mouth rot is a bacterial infection that causes the tongue to turn white. The severity of the symptoms may vary, but early detection and treatment are crucial. Mouth rot is an aggressive infection that can lead to tissue necrosis, septicemia, and even death. It is vital to address this condition promptly.
Ulcers and injuries – Accidents, bacterial infections, or parasitic infections can cause ulcers and injuries on the tongue. Bearded dragons sharing their space with other dragons are more prone to these issues, as they may display less patience or consideration towards their counterparts.
Viral infections – The common viral agent erythrocytic iridovirus can cause secondary infections, stomatitis, open ulcers, and colouring of the bearded dragons’ tongues. Unfortunately, iridovirus infections are incurable and often lead to a painful and slow decline, necessitating euthanasia in many cases. If you suspect your dragon may have an iridovirus infection, it is crucial to consult a veterinarian for guidance.
Cancer – Bearded dragons are susceptible to developing aggressive cancer, particularly melanoma. Melanoma manifests as black spots on the affected area, including the tongue. Expert veterinary intervention is necessary for addressing this issue, although treatment options may be limited.
Metabolic Bone Disease (MBD) – Although not a tongue-specific condition, MBD is a skeletal disorder linked to poor calcium absorption. Bearded dragons affected by MBD may exhibit symptoms such as bleeding or swollen tongues. Other indications include lethargy, difficulty moving and climbing, loss of appetite, and deformities in the spine or limbs. Advanced stages of MBD are fatal, underscoring the importance of seeking immediate veterinary assistance if these symptoms arise.
Fascinating Facts About Bearded Dragon Tongues
Tongue flicking – Bearded dragons employ their tongues to sense their environment. This behavior, known as tongue flicking, is common among reptiles. They may also lick various objects to taste them and categorize them mentally.
Tongue protrusion – Bearded dragons, being iguanian lizards, have the remarkable ability to protrude their tongues to approximately 30% of their total mandible length. They utilize hyolingual muscles to rapidly extend and retract their tongues while hunting.
Mating behaviors – During the mating phase, bearded dragons employ their lips and tongues in specific behaviors. Males produce smacking sounds using these organs to attract their potential mates, showcasing their unique pre-mating rituals.
Territorial marking – Bearded dragons exhibit territorial behaviors and utilize their tongues in the process. By licking objects, including their owners, they spread their scent and communicate their territorial boundaries to other dragons. This behavior may explain why your bearded dragon licks you when you pick it up, as it establishes a sense of ownership and familiarity.
Appreciation and affection – Contrary to popular belief, bearded dragons can display signs of affection. These lizards often lick their keepers as a gesture of comfort and affection, typically after a bond has formed between the dragon and its owner.
Reproduction – Bearded dragons flick their tongues to gather pheromones in the air, which helps them find the female and gauge her proximity and sexiness.
By maintaining a clean and well-maintained habitat, avoiding sharp decorations or substrates, and diligently monitoring your bearded dragon’s health, you can reduce the likelihood of tongue-related diseases or infections. Understanding the functions, potential problems, and fascinating aspects of bearded dragon tongues enables owners to provide the best care for their beloved reptilian companions.
How to care for bearded dragons
Bearded dragons make great pets because they are relatively low maintenance. They are also docile creatures that enjoy being handled, making them a good choice for those who want to interact with their pet lizard.
When caring for bearded dragons, you will need the following tips:
#1 – Bearded dragons need a source of heat.
You can provide this by using a basking bulb and a UVB light. The basking bulb should be placed on one end of the bearded dragon’s enclosure so that they can bask under it when they want to. The UVB light should be placed on the other end of the bearded dragon’s enclosure and should be left on for about 12 hours per day.
#2 – Bearded dragons need a hiding place.
You can provide this by placing a piece of driftwood, a rock, or a hide box in their enclosure. The hide box should be big enough for the bearded dragon to fit inside and should be placed on the cool end of the enclosure.
#3 – Bearded dragons need a source of water.
You can provide this by misting the bearded dragon’s enclosure with water every day and by providing a shallow dish of water for them to drink from.
#4 – Bearded dragons eat both plants and insects.
You can provide them with food by feeding them vegetables such as collard greens, turnip greens, and mustard greens. You can also feed them insects such as crickets, mealworms, and wax worms.
#5 – Bearded dragons shed their skin.
You can help them shed their skin by misting their enclosure with water and by providing a shallow dish of water for them to soak in.
By following these tips, you can easily care for bearded dragons and keep them healthy and happy.
Bearded Dragon’s Diet And What They Eat With Their Tongues
Bearded dragons are popular pets because of their docile nature and ease of care. Their diet is one of the most important aspects of their care, and bearded dragons eat a variety of food items. One of the most interesting things about bearded dragons is the way they eat with their tongues.
Bearded dragons are omnivorous, meaning they eat both plants and animals. In the wild, their diet consists mostly of insects, but they will also eat fruits and vegetables. In captivity, bearded dragons should have a diet that consists of about 50% vegetables and 50% insects.
Vegetables that bearded dragons like to eat include leafy greens like collard greens and mustard greens, as well as squash, sweet potato, and carrots. Fruits that bearded dragons enjoy include apricots, figs, and melons.
Conclusion – Bearded Dragon’s Tongue: Everything You Need To Know
The bearded dragon’s tongue is an important tool for the lizard. It helps them to catch prey, explore their surroundings, and communicate with other bearded dragons. Bearded dragon owners should learn everything they can about the function of their bearded dragon’s tongue so that they can provide the best care possible for their pet. Thanks for Reading!
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