Just like the movie stars who don’t get to star in every film you won’t have a big role to play in everybody’s life but in those people’s lives where you do play a big role make sure you play that part to the best of your ability.
These two were acting like complete teenagers. When I walked up, she was nuzzling her head against his shoulder. She giggled the entire time I talked with them, while he kept a big goofy grin on his face. And whenever I asked about their relationship, she clutched his arm, looked at him just like this, giggled, then said: “We’re not telling!”
"I just want to be financially independent while I’m still young enough to enjoy it."
"Are you close?"
"Well, I’ve still got two daughters that need to go to college. So no."
There has been much debate on this and I would love to hear a herpetologists say in it. There's a gif floating around of an uromastyx rolling over "to get its belly tickled" and I've seen so many people start to claim it's a trust thing. I'm pretty sure its defense and stress but id like to hear your say on it. Claim is "it sniffs the hand to make sure it's their owner then rolls over to get a nice belly rub" while it tries to claw at you though...
Your concerns are quite correct. The behaviour shown by the lizard in question is submissive. That is not to say that it necessarily indicates defense or stress; rather, it indicates that this individual knows its place in the hierarchy, and that it is subordinate to the keeper. It seems that the flipping behaviour as an indicator of submission is not common to all agamid lizards, but rather just a few species. Bearded dragons, for instance, are not known to flip in this manner.
I don’t want to overstep, but I think it may be a stretch to suggest that this behaviour is in any way detrimental to the health of the animal, or necessarily causing it stress (though the rubbing of its belly may indeed do so). I have seen assertions that reptiles cannot breathe very well on their backs, and while that might be true over an extended period (I have no evidence for or against that claim), such a short spell on its back is unlikely to cause any respiratory distress. Indeed, lizards seem to have no trouble breathing while on their backs for surgery. Perhaps theexoticvet can weigh in more significantly on that particular issue.
Herpetologists handling lizards flip them on their backs all the time. Many lizards, when placed on their backs, can be brought into an almost comatose state by sliding a finger along their bellies from snout to vent. We use this to examine and measure them. It causes minimal distress to the animals, and they immediately get up and go as soon as they are righted.
No, as far as I can tell, the lizard is acknowledging its place as a subordinate, but aside from being prodded in the belly, is not likely to be experiencing any physical or mental discomfort.
We must remember that not all lizards are dominant. It is perfectly legitimate for a lizard to assume its owner is the dominant individual, and display submissive behaviour in their presence. That need not be a stressful or uncomfortable behaviour for the lizard; it is merely a form of communication.
Nevertheless, that communication has clearly been misinterpreted by the owner of this lizard, who proceeds to tickle its tummy - an easy mistake to make for anyone who has spent even an hour with an affectionate cat. It should always be borne in mind that herp behaviour, while analogous to mammals in some ways, is completely different, and we should try not to confuse the two as much as possible.