By Ben Wheeler

THIS DARING British man voluntarily underwent surgery to give him a permanent snake-like split tongue.

Veterinary Assistant James Reeve-Shillito, 28, from Peterborough had part of his tongue removed using a scalpel last year in a 20-minute procedure in London.

James Reeve-Shillito /


James, who lives with his partner David, developed a taste for body mods at an early age, having his first tattoos and piercings at the age of 14.

He had wanted to get his tongue split since he was 13 years old, but felt it was too extreme, before finally plucking up the courage to go through with his long-held ambition last year.

James Reeve-Shillito /


“I first became interested in tattoos and piercings because I wasn’t allowed them when I was younger,” he recalled.

“I eventually got my ear pierced when I was about 14 and my first tattoo at 14. Up until I was 18 it was mainly piercings that I had, but as soon as I turned 18 the piercings came out one by one and I started on tattoos.

James Reeve-Shillito /


“I wanted my tongue split since I was about 13 or 14 but it seemed too extreme, so I put it off for a long time.”

James went on to discuss his surgery in more detail before explaining the excruciating recovery process he had to endure following the procedure.

James and David. James Reeve-Shillito /


“I got it done in London in 2017 when I decided to just go for it after wanting it for 14 years,” he said.

“The whole thing took about 20 minutes from using a scalpel to cut it in half to stitching up the wounds and cost me £500.

“Getting it done wasn’t too painful at all, the pain came when the extreme swelling kicked in and that lasted for about five days.

James Reeve-Shillito /


“During the healing the only difficulties were eating and drinking properly and an insane amount of drool, but thankfully this all stopped once the stitches came out.

Finally, James spoke about how he feels about the results including how his new tongue differs to that of the average person and whether he would recommend others who are considering having the procedure to go ahead with it.

“I can lick both sides of my mouth at the same time, but I do have issues when it comes to licking an ice cream,” he said.

James Reeve-Shillito /


“I am very happy with the results, most people don’t know I have it unless I show them, my family and friends all think it’s pretty cool.

“It is one of the best things I have ever done, very rarely do I get a negative reaction to it, it feels completely natural now and as if it has always been there.

“Me and David have been together around six years now, he think my tongue is pretty cool and encouraged me to get it done if I really wanted it.

James Reeve-Shillito /


“Tattoos and body mods have become the norm and people are much more accepting of it these days.

“If you are willing to put with a week of rubbish sleep, lack of food and a horrible taste in your mouth then yes go for it.”