Mr. Nature: Head-Bobbing Lizards

Jambo. You are about to see a little “pet store chameleon” (a green anole, actually: not a real chameleon) decide he’s in the mood for love. He’ll try to attract the female by showing his dewlap and doing a lot of head-bobbing.

These same gestures are also used to threaten rivals.

Head-bobbing intrigues me because so many unrelated lizards, thousands of miles apart geographically, do it–and for the same reasons: courtship, threat, defense of territory. This is an aspect of lizard life that has no way of being preserved in any fossil record. Which in turn is a reminder that we don’t know an awful lot about animals–especially prehistoric ones.

None of my lizards ever head-bobbed at me. I must be a nice guy.

Oddly enough, real chameleons don’t head-bob.

I know some of you have bearded dragons. Do they eventually give up head-bobbing–or do they always find some occasion for it?

12 comments on “Mr. Nature: Head-Bobbing Lizards

  1. Aw, I wish they’d shown a happy ending, with the girl lizard dropping down from her log and giving the boy lizard a come-hither response.

    1. Once upon a time my fence lizards mated–they must have courted when I wasn’t looking–and I wound up with a bunch of eggs and then a bunch of perfect baby lizards.

    1. It’s comical, and we see it all the time, around here. A lizard will scurry, climb onto a rock, and then show off its push-up capabilities.

    2. It renders me harmless, but only because I’m laughing. They are funny as heck.

      My office is in a beautiful building which is adjacent to a green belt. From the area of the building nearest the green belt, there are Javelina, Bobcats, Lizards, Quail and Snakes galore. They have the occasional Diamondback show up, but there are plenty of harmless snakes. Conferences and meetings held in that end of the building are usually interrupted by animal sightings. My office used to be over there, so every day involved animal spotting.

      Recently, I was given a much better office from the standpoint of floor space, decor and visibility, which is a mixed blessing, because one wall of my office is entirely windows which look out onto a common area which make it it not much of a refuge. In former times, that would have been a Director’s office, but now it’s given to a lowly Network Engineer. This visibility also means that I have to keep my desk uncluttered, which may be the biggest challenge of all. 🙂

    3. They still gather there on hot days, to take advantage of the shade. I remember being in a meeting when a mother Javelina strolled by, with her young lined up behind her. That sight will stop a meeting in its tracks.

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