Reptile communication & behavior!!

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Reptile communication & behavior!!

Post  Admin on Mon May 14, 2012 7:41 am

Communication what does it mean to you ? To me communication is the way we express ideas, thoughts,emotions which we often show through speech writing, pictures, body language, facial expression these are all viable communications skills we all possess. Unfortunately reptiles don't have the communications skills we have they use body language only. It is very important to observe and understand what there gestures are, what they mean, and how they use them to express how they feel but also remembering one form of body language can be used in more than one situation. This is the area i believe we should be more aware of. In a number of species, head nodding, and scent is a common feature,color change instead of vocalizing or using pheromones, chameleons communicate visually by changing the colors and patterns. Different colors and patterns mean different things its down to us as reptile owners to learn and understand our animals form of communication,What are some forms of communication that your reptiles use to communicate with you?
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Re: Reptile communication & behavior!!

Post  The Herp Father on Mon May 14, 2012 8:28 am

Reptiles communicate with one another and other species. For example: rattlesnakes and the tail vibrating at perceived threats would be one form of intraspecies communication. Also in paper by Dr. Rulon Clark of San Diego State University has several papers regarding snake communication http://www.bio.sdsu.edu/pub/clark/Site/Publications.html. As mentioned above many people believe that chameleons change color to blend with their background and we are now seeing that while it is a camouflage technique it is also a highly developed level of visual communication used to not only display threatening 'emotions' if you will but also receptiveness of female chameleons to breed.
Head bobs to is another form of communication which sometimes can be hard to interpret as there could be frequency changes or even how the head is moved as in is there a pattern to the bobbing which may differ from another head bob? Another aspect that intrigues me and I think deserves looking into is that of territorial combats or combat over female species. How is the winner determined? How are ranges defined by reptiles and is there battles for territory?
How do reptiles which are very chemically acute sensory wise perceiving us?
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Re: Reptile communication & behavior!!

Post  Admin on Mon May 14, 2012 8:39 am

Head bobbing in tortoises is commonly seen as a threat and or display posture and is no doubt recognised by other Tortoises of the same species. Obviously, in courtship another commonly used device is shell ramming, and for those who keep species such as T ibera, there can be no doubt that this activity, driven by strong sexual urges is akin to SHOUTING!!! As for color change in chams its also used in male dominant and submissive color,and i believe females also use color to reject male advances or an indication of being gravid...communication between reptiles is a whole new world were only just touching the surface...
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Re: Reptile communication & behavior!!

Post  Stephan9268 on Mon May 14, 2012 8:43 am

could it be that tounge flicking with snakes at diffrent rates is also a kind of communication ? i have noticed with several of my snakes that watching ther rate of tounge flicking actually tells me what mood they most likley in , meaning if they angry ,ready to strike at me or just being nosey . any of oyu ever noticed that in a way and had the same thought or is there anything scientific on this ?
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Re: Reptile communication & behavior!!

Post  Admin on Mon May 14, 2012 8:56 am

The mechanisms of tongue flicking in snakes are still poorly understood, however what we do know is snake sticks out its tongue to collect data, it’s a kind of secondary or accessory sense of smell and For the male snake, the tongue is both a sensory organ, and a sensual organ. The tongue plays a vital role in snake courtship and reproduction, as the male snake's jerking body motions and rapidly flicking tongue either charms the female snake, or render her unresponsive.Maybe someone else could give a little more insight ?
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Re: Reptile communication & behavior!!

Post  The Herp Father on Mon May 14, 2012 9:08 am

Admin wrote:Head bobbing in tortoises is commonly seen as a threat and or display posture and is no doubt recognised by other Tortoises of the same species. Obviously, in courtship another commonly used device is shell ramming, and for those who keep species such as T ibera, there can be no doubt that this activity, driven by strong sexual urges is akin to SHOUTING!!! As for color change in chams its also used in male dominant and submissive color,and i believe females also use color to reject male advances or an indication of being gravid...communication between reptiles is a whole new world were only just touching the surface...
ah I had totally forgotten about the submissive color change and the females telling the males to pound sand when they weren't ready, wish humans would do that be a lot easier on men! All kidding aside though, I have seen the ramming behavior in I believe it was Testudo species we had to actually separate a few because they would just go all day refusing to give up. Also on the topic of tortoises a friend of mine had one of the giant tortoises and I don't recall the species off the top of my head but anytime he would enter the yard the male would try to ram him and chase him about as if my friend were another male tortoise.
I have also seen some studies that have tortoises watching another one and then learning how to perform a task to obtain food so that to me is another form of quasi communication I guess. I totally agree though that communication is a realm which deserves further inquiry in the reptile realms.
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Re: Reptile communication & behavior!!

Post  The Herp Father on Mon May 14, 2012 9:15 am

Admin wrote:The mechanisms of tongue flicking in snakes are still poorly understood, however what we do know is snake sticks out its tongue to collect data, it’s a kind of secondary or accessory sense of smell and For the male snake, the tongue is both a sensory organ, and a sensual organ. The tongue plays a vital role in snake courtship and reproduction, as the male snake's jerking body motions and rapidly flicking tongue either charms the female snake, or render her unresponsive.Maybe someone else could give a little more insight ?
Jo everything you have said is accurate to my knowledge and to that I would add that Crotalus species are known to stick their tongue out and hold it either in the upward or downward position as a show of aggression. Now then what would be interesting is to note whether this is with all species or just humans as I have never see them do it with other species but have seen it first hand and have actually photographed the Mohave rattlesnake I photographed on my 2011 Arizona trip.
I also caught a program today on BBC America where David Attenborough talked of the Crocodile skin being very sensitive to touch in regards to other crocodiles as in when mating occurs as you alluded to above.
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Re: Reptile communication & behavior!!

Post  Admin on Mon May 14, 2012 9:20 am

There was a study done I think in 2007 i may be wrong,on the vomeronasal organ (VNO), or Jacobson's organ,just cant rememebr the guy who did it other than he worked at the bronx zoo?
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Re: Reptile communication & behavior!!

Post  Stephan9268 on Mon May 14, 2012 9:27 am

I havent really paied attention to my crotals tounge movment since they always seem to be out to get me Wink , i have thouhg been watching this with vipers , mainly aboreals , and some of my pythons , so far i came to the conclusion that slow steady tounge movmnent means they searching , actually in a non aggreive mood , rather fast steady toungemovemnt , they hungry but not really showing aggresion , and fast unsteady tounge movment meaning ok dont open this door today . i know this isnt any sicentificly relevantobservation but its how i seen it over the years and mostly was right with those assments sofar but surley would love to learn more about it .
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Re: Reptile communication & behavior!!

Post  The Herp Father on Mon May 14, 2012 9:51 am

Could be possible, but also too there are so many factors that go into chemical signals as has been shown by Dr. Rulon Clark and others where snakes can be 'fooled' into eating abnormal foods meaning piscivores eating lizards etc. Even 'hard core' lizard eaters can be 'fooled' chemically to begin eating mice through scenting of the mouse. I am not so sure about reading it as communication as more than an chemical identification thing where the snake is smelling something different that we cannot. I have heard talk of pheromones and fear being sensed by canines and I am sure the same can be said with snakes as well. But we all agree this is a heck of a path to examine I would say if possible Stephan look up some papers on chemosensory in snakes as that may have some answers you could share.
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Re: Reptile communication & behavior!!

Post  Stephan9268 on Mon May 14, 2012 10:04 am

Will do so John , as for abnormal eating , i have done that to several of my Atheris species and also some Trimmeresurus ,especially with babys but also some adults , even though the adults i only feed with hairless mice or rats since hair seems to mess up there digesting system
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Re: Reptile communication & behavior!!

Post  The Herp Father on Mon May 14, 2012 4:48 pm

Stephan, what is the Trimmeresurus diet in the wild? I cannot recall off the top of my head and to be honest I am too lazy to get up and look in the books for it. Now that I think of it too I was thinking of Robert Applegate a well known breeder here and even he has come across some snakes that wouldn't be transferred over to mice so while snakes don't really have a sense of 'taste' like humans maybe there is something chemically significant about lizards that the snakes can sense reinforcing the idea that chemosensory may play a larger role in captivity than we imagine. My partner and I noticed that snakes didn't like the alcohol gel we used to clean our hands between snakes we handled but were not so 'restless' when we used mild hand soap and warm water. I wonder has anyone read any studies about what the chemosensory perception of a snake is when compared to humans? I know for instance that when I was training Schutzund (apologies for mispelling couldn't find the characters to make that right) I would explain to people that while we smell chicken soup the dog essentially smells every spice used in the soup. So I am curious to know if this has been tested with snakes? I am sure it has somewhere and I will probably hit up some science folks and see if I cannot get papers on this but if anyone has some already it would be interesting to read.
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Re: Reptile communication & behavior!!

Post  Stephan9268 on Mon May 14, 2012 5:49 pm

trimmmeresurus diet in the wild depending on species consists as babys and juveniles often of lizards and geckos of many sort , only later on when growing up they will convert to rodents and bigger geckos and even birds some not even eating rodents even when adult . As for someone that might be worth asking maybe you should contact Gernot Vogel who has wirten several books on asian pitvipers and even european and middle east vipers . if you need a Adress or phone number i can find that out rather fast ,guy lives an hour away from where i live .
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