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.
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