According to Hiccup in "Snotlout Gets the Axe", he lost both his arms in a "freak mutton accident."
Chosen by Spitelout Jorgenson in "Snotlout Get the Axe", he was the third choice for carrying the ceremonial axe, meaning he is most likely an influential member of their house. Either that, or he is just considered a better choice for it than Snotlout. However, Spitelout claims that Griplout "just couldn't get a good enough hold on the axe with his teeth", implying that he almost certainly uses his jaws to grab objects as to replace his missing arms.
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