Do you speak Lizard?

Keeping exotics takes an enormous amount of preparation. First and foremost, you need to do some serious research into the captive care of these creatures to make sure you provide for all of their basic needs. You must also find a good exotics specialist vet who will be able to treat your animal should the need arise. However, I believe it is absolutely essential to research and understand their lives in the wild if you are to provide them with the happiest life they could possibly get in captivity.

For that reason, I am a firm believer that mimicking their natural habitat as best as you can enriches their lives and encourages their natural behaviour. Having said that, I appreciate that 'mimicking' their natural habitat is not always easy or practical. 

If you are a bearded dragon's human, you will have noticed how extremely expressive they are. It is not uncommon for them to have strong personalities and make sure that you know how they feel about the food or situation they are presented with - who's never received the 'stink eye' from their beardie at least once?

Even so, interpreting our reptile's behaviour can sometimes be very difficult to do without anthropomorphising them. In a way, mammals are a little easier to interpret - if not only because their behaviour and reactions are that much closer to ours. Wouldn't everything be much easier if we spoke Lizard?

Nonetheless, one of the reasons for our fascination with these mysterious creatures is in fact said 'interpreting game'. This may sound familiar to you but I sometimes find myself admiring my lizard for hours on end. Intrigued by his behaviour and falling deeper and deeper in love with every passing minute.

If you find your reptile's behaviour changes suddenly and you are worried this may affect their health, please take it to a specialised vet. Internet forums are great for general information, however I am astounded by the amount of people who are able to make instant 'assessments' with such limited information. Not even an experienced specialist vet would be able to make such a quick assessment without at the very least seeing your reptile and inquiring about husbandy and behaviour. In fact, depending on the issue, many vets would need some sort of internal analysis (i.e. faecal or blood tests) to be able to try and provide an accurate diagnosis. Remember, reptiles are masters at hiding illnesses.

I appreciate this is not most people's cup of tea. However, if like me you are fascinated by the amount of information one can get from excrement, the Practical Reptile Keeping magazine have a great article in their No.78 (Summer 2015) issue called 'Interpreting What Comes Out'. Trust me, it is definitely worth a read.