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The Lizard Taming ConundrumLizards are undomesticated, which essentially means they're wild animals, regardless of whether they are captive bred or not. To complicate matters, certain lizard species appear to have a greater proclivity towards becoming tame, while others seem to be naturally more skittish and even aggressive.The Bottom-Line on Taming Reptiles

First of all, forget

everything you've ever heard about how to tame a lizard. Literally. This means ignoring those well-meaning reptile enthusiasts who suggest handling your lizard regularly will eventually lead to a tame reptile, when in fact this is absolutely terrible advice. Leave your assumptions at the door, and then continue reading. The below instructions will go against your natural tendencies, but trust me, this method gets results. And in the end, isn't that what matters?

Forced handling of your lizard is actually

very detrimental to the taming process, and can in fact make the taming process much more difficult and lengthy, if not impossible. It understandably creates tremendous fear within your lizard, and it can display this in a variety of ways including biting, writhing, defacating, and even remaining motionless (something many reptile hobbyists incorrectly interpret as tame, when in fact the lizard is actually petrified).

The best method for taming a lizard is to simply give it some space. When you first unpack your lizard, place it in its cage and don't handle it. Resist the urge to interact with it. Over the ensuing weeks (or even months), here is your goal: to utilize food to create a bond between you and your lizard. This does not happen overnight, so be patient. The best things come to those who wait, right?

The Lizard Taming Method

Begin the rewarding process by placing food items like crickets, roaches, vegetables, and pinkies (this obviously depends on what should comprise your lizard's diet) into the cage, making sure the lizard sees that you're being non-aggressive. Continue this for a few weeks, and you should notice the lizard will probably perk-up when he sees you. You should still avoid any attempts to handle the lizard during this bond-building period.

Now, begin offering food items to your lizard with tongs, making sure not to make sudden movements. Don't force things—if the lizard isn't ready, he isn't ready.

After doing this for several days, you will likely notice the lizard actually seeking you out. This is because it is beginning to see you as advantageous to its survival.

In a matter of months (or perhaps

much sooner), the lizard will probably try climbing up your arm to explore the giant non-aggressive being who brings it food on a regular basis. Congratulations! You can now consider your lizard tame. Lizard Taming Summary
The key is letting the lizard determine how much it wants to interact with you, not the other way around. Interaction occurs on its terms, not your terms. This, coupled with no forced-handling (a bond destroyer), produces an environment very conducive to taming your lizard.Reptile Taming Hints and Tips

Perhaps the factor

most overlooked in taming any particular lizard is its history. This is primarily because wild caught specimens have often been put under irreversible stress due to capture, as well as lengthy transportation from across the world. They have so many obstacles to overcome just to survive, that taming is absolutely last on the list of priorities. The solution: starting with captive-bred lizards makes the taming process many times easier, as they have a clean history and are usually in very good health.

Starting with hatchlings, or very young lizards, is also a

huge advantage when trying to tame. This is because it can be very difficult to alter established habits and predispositions in a mature lizard. It's not impossible, just more work.

The species of lizard also makes a difference when trying to tame. While some could argue to the contrary, there are certain lizards that just seem to be nasty right out of the egg (Nile monitors, for example). Others, such as the Sudan Plated lizard, often seem to practically

want to be tamed. I believe that any species of lizard can be tamed when done correctly, but I also believe some take more work than others.

Some of the easier species of lizard to tame, based on my personal experience, are

(Pogona vitticeps), (Varanus exanthematicus), (Varanus rudicollis), (Phrynosoma), (Uromastyx aegyptica), (Gerrhosaurus major), (Chlamydosaurus kingii), (Varanus albigularis ionidesi), (Tupinambis merianae), and (Tiliqua scincoides), to name a few.

Some of the more difficult species of lizard to tame, again based on my personal experience, are Nile monitors (

Varanus niloticus), Crocodile monitors (Varanus salvadorii), Cuban Knight anoles (Anolis equestris), Cuban Rock iguanas (Cyclura nubila), and perhaps chief among them the Tokay gecko (Gecko gecko). Truth be told, I have a lot of stories about aggressive Tokays and Niles.

Generally speaking, I have found that there is a mild correlation between the size of the lizard, and the amount of work it takes to tame the lizard. While some could again argue to the contrary, my anecdotal experiences tell another story. Small lizards (such as anoles, skinks, and swifts) seem noticeably more skittish and apprehensive, and it makes perfect sense as they have more natural predators than a large lizard. Even large lizards, when young and small, are often more aggressive and less trusting-everything is a potential predator in their eyes. Hatchling Savannah monitors, for example, often times bite first and ask questions later. As they grow, they appear to become more secure and less apprehensive, which again makes perfect sense.


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