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Old 04-02-04, 02:23 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Training Herps

Have any of you had much success with teaching your reptiles any "tricks?" The closest I have come is getting one of my bearded dragons to "sit up" or stand on his back legs when I offer him a super worm (and only a super worm). I can't really call this a trick since he really only does it in an attempt to get the worm, but I have been getting him to do it for progressively longer periods of time. How about you guys?
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Old 04-03-04, 01:04 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Tricks are better left to dogs. Reptiles simply aren't wired for that stuff. The type of learning they can do is survival-oriented conditioning, such as how to get out of a familiar place or take dead food instead of live. Small things that are natural in their ways. They can also learn to become more accustomed to people handling them and the like. They simply don't have the capacity or drive for "tricks".
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Old 04-03-04, 01:09 AM   #3 (permalink)
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So your saying a Boa won't fetch Linds? Or a chameleon won't shake hands? What kind of world are we living in?

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Old 04-03-04, 01:12 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Not a 'trick', but I find it odd that all 5 of my thamnophis will defecate within two minutes of being set on the grass. In summer, they almost seem to hold it until I take them oustide... Better for me as I don't have to clean the cages as often.

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Old 04-03-04, 01:14 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Well..... sometimes when I signal my snake to bite and put my hand in front of them they will, does that count?
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Old 04-03-04, 02:01 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Hehe. I'm surprised there aren't more success stories. I know fish can be trained fairly easily. There was an Oscar on TV that would jump through a flaming hoop over the tank for a worm or something. I've heard of them ringing a bell for food too. Mine's only trick is breaking heaters, uplift tubes, and thermometers.
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Old 04-03-04, 02:08 AM   #7 (permalink)
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My Hog nose roles over and plays dead on command. Woot, wut now yo'?
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Old 04-04-04, 03:08 PM   #8 (permalink)
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my beardeds will dirty in their cage within 5 mintues of cleaning it, is that a trick? Cuz I consider it a 'dirty trick'. lol.Little buggers!
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Old 04-04-04, 05:58 PM   #9 (permalink)
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i know this isn't a trick either but 2 of my snakes-my big female red tail boa and my new big ball python seem to come to me when i pat on the ground. i'm sure there only trying to find what the vibrations are, but its a way to get them to come to me.
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Old 04-05-04, 11:47 AM   #10 (permalink)
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I have a boa that puts his own tail in his mouth then rolls around like a bicycle wheel. He learned how to do it pretty quick but man was it hard to show him how! lol!

This one has to go on the list of TOP 10 silly reptile questions, it's right up there with "do they go to the bathroom?". LOL!
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Old 04-05-04, 11:56 AM   #11 (permalink)
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You could teach them 'tricks' that have to do with their survival (like the fish coming to the surface thing by tapping on the glass, conditioned by tapping before feedings) but reptiles are just not near dogs as far as intelligence and willingness to please their owners (those Beardies sure look pretty smart though)
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Old 04-05-04, 01:00 PM   #12 (permalink)
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OMG I can't believe people tap on their aquarium glass. That is such a stupid and cruel idea. Are you learning fish keeping from the Jigalow in Duece Bigalow? "Here fishie fishie" omg. You don't need to tap on the glass like some ape to get fish to come to the surface for food. They do it after a couple days of being in the tank anyways. Can you imagine living in a glass square full of water then having some beast come by knocking on it?

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Old 04-05-04, 01:05 PM   #13 (permalink)
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My fish started off being scared crapless when i opened the lid, after the first two feedings, they started coming to the top as soon as i approached the tank.. Now, i can hold a cube of tubefex worms on the waters surface and they come up and eat it right out of my fingers.. There's no need to tap on the glass, and fish/aquarium stores have those signs that say 'do not tap on glass' for a reason..
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Old 04-05-04, 01:27 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Depending on the type of fish and the type of food, I frequently will turn off or cut the intensity of the filtration system when feeding. Holy Pavlov Batman! Does the same thing as any of the others.

This isn't really training though, it's an exploitation of a natural instinct coupled with pattern recognition. Animals are built to adapt slightly to their environment, repeated application of an unrelated stimulus with something there is an instinctual response for will result in an association between the two being formed. It's not the same as teaching the animal anything, it's simply adding to stimulus recognition.

Now... if someone can get a fish to do something a fish would never otherwise do with either no reward or no utilization of an associated instinct (or a snake for that matter) then there's some training involved. Not gonna happen anytime soon though.

Instinctual isn't always the same as stupid and procedural memory can frequently produce much more desireable results than declarative memory from the standpoint of an individual animal.
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