Skink having panic attacks or nightmares??

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kaekae007
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Skink having panic attacks or nightmares??

Postby kaekae007 » Wed Feb 14, 2024 12:54 pm

Hello all. I'm at a complete loss on this. I've tried doing research and I've only seen a few others with this issue with no answers on why this happens. Since he was about 1, my BTS has had freak outs while he was burrowed, sound asleep. What happens is, while he's sound asleep, all of a sudden he comes bolting out and sprinting from one end of his tank to the other, smacking into the glass and scaling the sides and falling every which way. During this time, me talking to him doesn't help, it usually lasts about 5-10 minutes before he's finally calmed down. The first couple of times this happened, I thought it could be bugs or ants in his tank biting him, but there was never any and it happened whether the substrate was new or needing to be changed. I found another thread that suggested maybe nightmares, but nothing anyone was ever really certain of. I've taken him to the vet, they looked him over and said everything was fine.
He's 15 now and it's happening more and more often, about 2-3 times a week or so and I'm very worried. He's an old boy now, could it be dementia? Experiencing nightmares more often?(if that was the case to begin with). I have no idea what to do. I'm worried one of these times he is going to drop his tail because it's happening so often now(surprised he hadn't dropped it before with the amount of panic he experiences during these episodes). Does anyone have any answers or advice? Thanks in advance.
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Re: Skink having panic attacks or nightmares??

Postby Janella » Wed Feb 14, 2024 8:43 pm

Could this be a form of seizure? I have never heard of such a thing. Have you ever recorded an episode and shown the vet?
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Re: Skink having panic attacks or nightmares??

Postby kaekae007 » Sun Jun 16, 2024 6:11 pm

Sorry for the delayed response. It's still an occurance but I actually haven't recorded it, in my panic I always run into the room to talk to him to try and calm him down, worried he's going to hurt himself or drop his tail.
I'm not sure it would be seizures but I couldnt be 100% sure. It's always while he's sleeping/burrowed. I've never seen the behavior while he's awake and active. I've even recently moved and gotten a brand new tank, substrate, lamps, everything and it still occurs quite often. I'll have to try and record it next time.
Also thank you for your response. I'm hoping I can find some sort of answers.
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Re: Skink having panic attacks or nightmares??

Postby bluemingsar » Tue Jun 18, 2024 7:04 pm

Recording one does seem like a good idea to share with the vet, since they may spot something you can't in the moment. Hopefully the vet can provide more insights.
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Re: Skink having panic attacks or nightmares??

Postby Janella » Sat Jun 22, 2024 6:39 pm

Your very welcome. I am very curious what the vet would think this is. If you get a video, please share.
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Re: Skink having panic attacks or nightmares??

Postby Nae » Sun Jul 14, 2024 9:57 pm

My 12 year old Zeke has also done the same in recent years.

One time I did take him to the emergency vet as I noticed the inside of his mouth was a bit swollen, which I assume understandably panicked him.
The vet did give him an injection to bring the swelling down (I can not recall what, I was quite some time ago now I will have to see if I still have the paperwork) and otherwise cleared him with instructions to bring him straight back if anything else happens. No idea what caused the swelling.

He still continued to occasionally panic but otherwise has had nothing else physically wrong.

I have been thinking its most likely age related - like becoming just more easily spooked or something.
Zeke can be a pretty lazy sleeper and often doesn't fully fully bury himself, so I fully covered the top of his enclosure, made his favourite sleeping spots super dense with soft substrate and lost of big thick pieces of bark to make burying himself more effortless and only switch his lighting on when he's awake, as I wanted to test if it could even be shadows passing over his parietal eye on the top of his head. I also put rubber under his enclosure to reduce vibrations.
So far he hasn't spooked in quite some time so I'm hoping my theory may be correct.

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