Look for These Common Reptile Behaviors

You might have thought pet reptiles were one-dimensional creatures who lounged in their enclosures all day. If you view your reptile more closely, though, he exhibits several rather interesting behaviors. Also, observing your reptilian friend regularly will alert you to an injury or developing illness. If you notice something unusual, get your reptile to your Upper Arlington veterinarian, who can diagnose the problem and provide proper treatment.

 

Security Needs

Reptiles like to feel secure in their habitats. Perhaps your lizard climbs on rocks so he can have the best vantage point in the neighborhood. On the other hand, your little reptile might burrow himself into a dark little hiding place where he thinks predators can’t find him. Make sure his habitat provides him with this choice.

 

Searching for Heat

Because your reptile needs heat to digest his food, you’ll notice that after his meal he plops his stomach on the warm ground. While he soaks up the heat, his metabolism gets to work, digesting his meal and producing internal energy. If he spends too much time under the lights and/or heat, or if he climbs on top of your cage lights, he’s probably telling you that his habitat’s ground temperature needs to be increased.

 

Hunting Trips

If your reptile typically preys on other animals or insects, he’s developed an instinctive hunting ritual that utilizes all his advantages. If he’s a green chameleon, for example, he lurks in green leafy habitats; if he’s brown, he takes up residence on the ground. Note, though, that chameleons can change their colors at will. His patience is unmatched; however, when his prey comes within reach, he’ll slurp up his meal with an impossibly long, sticky tongue.

 

Noisemaking and Head-bobbing

Some reptiles actually do make noise, although in the wild most of the racket is associated with self-defense or mating. Even more strangely, some reptiles – perhaps even your little pet – bob their heads, which also seems to go along with those behaviors. Assuming your pet isn’t trying to eradicate you from his habitat, perhaps he’s signaling that he recognizes or even likes you.

 

If you intend to handle your reptile pet, begin while he’s young, and use a very gentle touch. Ask your Upper Arlington vet for handling tips, too. While you’re holding or stroking your reptilian pet, watch out for his lightning-fast tail and sharp claws that can pack quite a punch.