|Content of The Insides and Outsides Of Monitor Lizards
Monitor lizards respond to touch in a number of ways. They all scratch or bite their
opponents and mates during fighting and courtship, sometimes to the extent that injuries
occur. Physical contact provides a number of important stimuli in the social interaction of
varanids, and may well trigger the release of some of the chemical signals discussed earlier.
Similarly, stroking a monitor lizard's back usually invokes a threat reaction, but "tame"
monitors respond by lying perfectly still in a manner very reminiscent of their behaviour when
confronted by a dominant lizard. Some lizards do not appear to find being stroked
distressing. They react to being rubbed gently just behind the ear opening by closing their
eyes and nodding their heads up and down in a manner not dissimilar to that of domestic
cats. If a monitor is turned upside down, and its belly rubbed gently in a circular motion, they
may become "hypnotised" and lie motionless, with eyes open for anything up to half an hour.
A sudden movement or prod will bring them round and they immediately flick themselves
over. This phenomenon has been observed in a number of lizard families.
|Attribution / Courtesy: Daniel Bennett. 1995. A Little Book of Monitor Lizards. Viper Press U.K.