More Crazy Lizard Head-Bobbing

Even if you’re not interested in lizards, stay with me for a minute or two–because this is a mystery of nature.

This lizard is an Australian bearded dragon. He thinks his reflection in the mirror is another lizard, so he goes into a head-bobbing display to warn the stranger off his territory. He even has some idea of going behind the mirror to see if the interloper might be hiding there.

Travel halfway around the globe to, say, Florida, and you’ll find little green anoles performing the same display for the same reasons (courtship and threat). These groups of lizards are not related, and thousands of miles of planet lie between them. Behavior doesn’t show up in any fossil record. Why do these very different, widely separated lizards do this same ritual?

God’s work is endlessly fascinating: you never get to the bottom of it.

Meanwhile, I’ve had many different kinds of lizards as pets and by rights some of them should have head-bobbed (also known as lizard pushups)… but none of them ever did. I did have an anole who went totally ballistic when he saw his reflection in a hand mirror; I had to take the mirror away before he did himself a mischief.

Then there are the two large families of lizards, one in the Old World, the other in the New, who look just about exactly like one another but aren’t related at all. But that’s another post for later sometime.

The Affectionate Iguana

A lot of people won’t believe you if you tell them an iguana can make a very nice and affectionate pet; but I’m here–along with this video–to tell you that they’re wrong. Indeed, this iguana looks very much like mine, although mine was older and a little bigger. I had him for 17 years.

If you get your iguana as a baby and take the trouble to raise him not as a curiosity but as a real pet, you’ll get a real pet. My iguana had dog and cat friends that he liked to cuddle up with if it was a cold day. His cage was always left open; he always went back in when he had to do his business. Even my mother loved him.

Sometimes you don’t have to be warm-blooded to have a warm heart.

Dogs and Cats Meet Dragons

Lizards aren’t mammals. Dogs and cats are. They’re very different sorts of animals, and their interactions together can be tricky. My iguana, for one, had a cat and a dog for friends: all three used to cuddle up together. I’m guessing that was kind of unusual.

All the lizards in this video are bearded dragons. When they puff out the “beard” under their jaws, or bob their heads up and down, they’re annoyed and those are signals–which the cats and dogs ignore. They’re lucky they didn’t get bitten–although the lizards probably know that once they bite the other animal, the die is cast. So they exercise an admirable restraint.

P.S.–The squirrel would’ve gotten it but good, had the window been open.

God’s Stuff: Chameleon Zapping Flies

How does such a slow-moving animal as a chameleon–and believe me, they are really slow!–catch something as fast as a fly? We move much faster than chameleons, and half the time the flies escape the fly-swatter.

The chameleon is designed by God to be a world-class fly and bug catcher–as this pet chameleon demonstrates. As a pet, he’s perfectly content to ride on his owner’s hand and be brought near the flies–but not too near: and he’ll do the rest.

There are times in the summer when I really wish we had a chameleon in the house.

Little Cat, Big Lizard

This is a remarkably patient and tolerant lizard: he must have a good home. The kitten has no idea how close he is to being bitten. There’s just a tiny bit of lizard body language to suggest he wouldn’t mind if the cat went somewhere else. But these two are going to be good friends before long. Trust me, I’ve seen it done.

I don’t think the colossal green lizard we see at the end of the video is real.

Kitty, It’s Cold Outside!

That’s snow outside, unless I’m very much mistaken. But the cat and the lizard are inside–and loving it.

This is not as strange a scenario as it looks. My iguana loved to cuddle with cats and dogs. If you’re a lizard, what could be cozier than a nice warm mammal? As long as it’s not one that has designs on eating you.

Baby Lizards Hatching

I picked this video because I wanted to see what kind of lizards would hatch from these eggs that somebody says he “found” by his home. They appear to be baby geckos of some kind.

Here at Chez Leester, one of my fence lizards once astounded us by laying a whole batch of perfect little eggs. I phoned the reptile house at the Staten Island Zoo to find out how to care for the eggs (put them in sphagnum moss and keep them out of direct sunlight)–and what do you know? Every one of those eggs hatched, and I had a whole terrarium full of tiny little fence swifts.

When lizards hatch, they’re fully equipped to make their way in the world. It’s really something to see!

Smart Iguana vs. Cat

My iguana had cat and dog friends. But this is a neighbor’s cat, and the iguana in this house can’t quite decide what to do. He could charge the cat–that’s sometimes an option for iguanas, and it can be quite scary–but it seems he’d rather not. Note he’s perfectly okay with the dog with whom he shares the house.

And then watch how cleverly the iguana solves his problem. Somebody raised him to be a good boy!

(Iguanas are social animals, and if you want one to be a good pet, you have to bond with and train him while he’s still young and little.)

Dog & Iguana: Best Friends

My iguana liked dogs and always tried to make friends with them. The only dog who didn’t respond was Pepper, my parents’ dog, who always ran away and hid under the furniture. But the cozy scene you’re seeing in this video happened around here a lot, in real life.

We are told there’s another iguana in this video-maker’s household who doesn’t get along with the dog at all. Well, they’re individuals, like we are. They’ll do their own thing.

Cat Cuddles Lizard

My iguana used to like to cuddle between a cat and a dog, his friends, so I know there’s no reason why a cat and a bearded dragon wouldn’t do the same. Once a lizard learns that a mammal is warm, his whole attitude changes. You’d be surprised by how responsive they can be.

All any pet lizard needs is a cat who won’t try to eat him.