Bilateral damage to the central nucleus of the amygdala (CeAX) in the rat blunts need-induced NaCl intake and abolishes daily need-free NaCl intake when measured with a two-bottle test. Such a deficit could be the result of impaired taste function. To assess the taste function of the CeAX rat various taste stimuli were introduced directly into the oral cavity and taste-elicited oral motor responses were measured. Oral motor responses elicited by 0.62 M and 0.13 M sodium chloride, 0.3 M sucrose and 0.01 M citric acid, were similar in control and CeAX rats. Additionally CeAX and control rats acquired a taste aversion for fructose or maltose when either was paired with LiCl. Finally, in CeAX rats, like in control rats, the pattern of oral motor responses to 0.5 M NaCl was dependent on internal state; sodium depletion dramatically altered taste-elicited oral motor behavior. These results suggest that, in the rat, the deficits in NaCl intake behavior that follow CeAX do not appear to be a result of dramatic changes in gustatory function.