Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 43.djvu/705

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THE PSYCHOLOGY OF LIZARDS.

garden and came at my call. If I did not call, it came all the same. As I was accustomed to have hemp seed in my mouth, it would peck at me, picking my beard and mustache furiously till I had satisfied its appetite. It was satisfied that it had tamed me and made me its slave. My lizard is nearly in the same condition. It does not molest me, but when I take the box of worms it rises and snaps them from my hand and even from the box. It is well persuaded that man is the friend of the lizard. It has a delicate ear. When it is called from the end of the room, it turns its head to the right and the left, as if to get its bearings and find the direction whence the sound comes. It can hear the walk of an insect and a worm crawling on the ground. Its vision is likewise good, and it recognizes a meal-worm from a considerable distance.

The other lizards like their cage; and toward three or four o'clock in the afternoon they will all, if they are, for example, on the table, start to come down, using the chains to help their descent to the ground, and then climbing back into their abode and hiding by choice in their rag houses.

The Spaniard, notwithstanding his jealous, vindictive, and vengeful character, is more petted than the others, because we have him constantly in hand, and he is the easiest to take up and exhibit. For this reason too he is best at the little tricks we teach them. But, in view of the stupidity he manifested for several months, there is no doubt that the others, which, as I have said, with one exception became gentle and trustful in two or three days, if they had been the objects of the same careful attention, would have given still more marked proofs of capacity for education. If I turn the Spaniard on his back and make a sign to him with my finger, he will remain there for some time, but not without showing some impatience and raising his head. The animal is obedient to force, however mildly it may be exercised, but such obedience is a sign of reasoning.

It can not be denied that all its ways have a perceptible resemblance to those of the dog, particularly if we take into the account its poverty of means of expression. I saw in the London Zoölogical Gardens an Australian lizard, high on its legs, with the bearing and head of a greyhound, and very pleasant large eyes. I have forgotten its name. It impressed me as being easy to educate, so far as I could judge of lizards by the face. And what might we not get from large lizards if we should succeed in forming a domesticated race? We should not forget that my animals were captured adult. The conclusion of my long story is that the enormous intellectual differences which we usually assume as between reptiles and the highest mammals probably do not exist, and consequently that there is in the brain of reptiles sufficient avail-