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RE: movement of the amputated tail

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Posted by: John-C at Wed Oct 26 14:02:59 2005  [ Report Abuse ] [ Email Message ] [ Show All Posts by John-C ]  
   

The main reason for a tail to continue moving is for the animal's protection.
When tail autonomy occurs in many species of lizards it's usually for survival purposes. For example, When a lizard in which this occurs is chased by a predator whether it be another larger lizard, a bird of prey or even a bobcat etc, and the predator isn't fast enough to catch the main body of the lizard as it's fleeing for it's life, their tail can easily disengage (when it has been snagged,bitten or caught by the hunter) at most any of the vertebrae's tail joints. This is a common occurrence in nature and really offers the lucky lizard a second chance so to speak. The tail which is dropped continues to wiggle and more often than not attracts the hunter to it as the tailless lizard is able to escape into a crevice, a hole or under a bush for protection.
This also happens when they're in captivity. You can try to catch some of these quick/flighty lizards only to end up grabbing them by their tails and often the tails will disengage (tear free) and continue to wiggle for several minutes. Most of these species that do this will regenerate their tails in a few months with no ill effect and quite often grow a full tail back.

John


   

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