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Understanding Your Lizards’ Social Behavior

Most desert lizards are territorial which suggests they’re going to protect some a part of their home territory from others of an equivalent species. Research within the Mojave of California has documented that enormous male chuckawallas will actively defend large rocky outcrops from other male chuckawallas, but will allow several females and even juvenile males to inhabit their area. Although this is often commonly thought to be a male behavior, females also can be territorial.

Desert lizards exhibit a spread of behaviors to discour­age other males from trespassing. Head bobbing, accompa­nied by flattening the body to offer the illusion of larger size, is observed in many species. If the visiting male doesn’t leave the world , as most will do, then a fight will ensue. The resident male is typically the winner and therefore the trespasser quickly leaves.

In captivity, lizards are forced to measure during a confined area that’s usually much smaller than the territory they occupy within the wild. If quite one male is present, the animals will often fight until one individual establishes dominance then aggressive behavior will decline. In effect, an un­easy truce is said because the submissive animal can’t flee the world because it would neutralize the wild.

Although this truce may appear as a harmonious rela­tionship to us, it are often extremely stressful to the submis­sive lizard. A hierarchical relationship isn’t natural to most lizards, since they’re going to most frequently separate them­selves within the wild with each defending its own territory. The submissive animal will often suffer stress that’s exhib­ited by a rise within the size of the adrenal glands, a de­cline within the efficiency of the system , decreased growth, and increased mortality. Researchers at the San Diego Zoo found that young male iguanas exhibit de­creased growth rates if they’re even within the same room with an outsized male iguana. They detect the opposite males by sight and smell.

The best approach to handling desert lizards is to stay males break away one another . Captivity in itself is stressful and therefore the presence of aggressive males can increase f the strain and reduce the health of your lizards. If animals must be kept together for brief periods, provide hiding places and rock piles which will allow them to avoid viewing one another if they so desire.

Once again, the simplest approach is to stay males separate. additionally , females will often show aggressive behavior toward other females if they’re gravid. Gravid female spiny-tailed lizards are very aggressive toward both males and females and may inflict serious injuries upon their cage mates. Separate gravid lizards if any signs of aggression are shown.

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