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I've noticed the same thing

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Posted by: 53kw at Mon Nov 22 17:05:27 2010  [ Report Abuse ] [ Email Message ] [ Show All Posts by 53kw ]  
   

New additions learn by watching veteran specimens. I exploit that by making sure I have veterans around to teach new additions about food and other resources. It's effective with lizards and seems to work with snakes kept together.

Monitors are quick to step up when the latches securing their cages are opened, and although not as speedy as monitors, other lizards including Collared, Horned, Chuckwallas and desert iguanas all learn to come forward at feeding time. New additions to established groups revise their behavior faster when they have senior specimens to learn from.

I had some new additions to a garter snake cage holding long-term animals. The veterans came forward for food and within a few days the newcomers did the same. It took far longer to condition the first ones than to condition the new ones when there were long-term specimens they could learn from.

There are many reports of wild reptiles learning to accept food from people who live around them. Karl Angermeyer, a german-born naturalist guide and painter who settled in the Galapagos used to feed wild marine iguanas from his fingers. The iguanas would climb into his lap to be fed. I've read claims that sacred snakes living around temples accept food from temple workers. I'd bet new generations of snakes learn by observing their elders in such situations.


   

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