Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 43.djvu/701

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THE PSYCHOLOGY OF LIZARDS.

story. I do not even know—although like observations ought to be made on domestic animals like the dog—that the bearing of them as traits of animal psychology has been brought out. My Spaniard is certainly a lizard apart. He is somebody.

But before going into individual details, I will add the final to the incidents which I have already given concerning my lizards. I have had them three years, and they have kept in admirable health. They have not hibernated, for the house has been kept warmed all the time, and their cage has been near a register. They have therefore been all the time wide-awake and very active. From this we conclude that hibernation is not organic with them like the rest of plants, and that it is a consecutive of cold weather, which causes besides the disappearance of the insects on which they feed.

Their food, therefore, does not necessarily consist of living prey. They eat with the same appetite the remains of beetles, such as the skeletons of night borers, and all decayed or dried chrysalides. Last year, the cabbage butterfly being extremely abundant, I collected a stock of chrysalides which they devoured to the last one. They always refused raw and bloody meat. Nevertheless, when they were forced to swallow it, which was not easy, they digested it.

They are said to be fond of grapes, and in vine-growing countries, I was told, hunt for the fruit. But with me they never wanted grapes, not even the southern variety or the dried raisin.

On the other hand, they are fond of dates, and attacked them with avidity the first time they saw them. I made them up some balls of dates as large as a good-sized grape, of which they were able to swallow three or four one after another I received other ocellated lizards last year, and they all liked dates, one of them to my surprise gulping down a whole one in a wink. It agreed with him perfectly, his digestive powers, as I took pains to observe, proving adequate to dispose of the stone in a proper manner, although my friends feared that it would be caught in the sinuosities of the intestine, with perhaps fatal effects. It seems that this animal estimated rightly the capacity of his digestive apparatus. The preceding curious feature in the present case is that all the lizards at once recognized an eatable fruit in the date, although they had never seen or tasted dates or anything like them. They may have eaten figs at home, but they refused dried figs.

All my lizards lived, I might say, in freedom. During our summers in the country, they had a large room with latticed windows, with sunshine on three sides. They had stones and boxes of every sort, and for a gymnasium convenient scaffoldings furnished with rags in which they climbed, hid, and chased one another with evident amusement.