Why Do Lizards Do Push-Ups?

Lizards aren’t vying for the title in a reptilian CrossFit competition, yet they engage in push-up behavior that piques human curiosity.

This display, often spotted in backyards and on rocky outposts, is a source of fascination and inquiry. Let’s delve into the science behind these scaly athletes’ peculiar practice.

Territorial Talk: Push-Ups as Communication

The push-up motion in lizards serves as a visual signal, a form of communication that’s as clear in the animal kingdom as a stop sign is to humans.

This behavior is particularly observed in male lizards, which use it to assert dominance, define territory, and ward off rivals without the risk of physical confrontation. It’s a survival strategy that says, “Back off, this turf is taken,” with the added benefit of a physical workout.

Sun-Soaked and Showing Off

Lizards are ectothermic creatures, relying on external heat sources to regulate their body temperature.

Push-ups increase their body heat as they bask in the sun, pumping up their metabolism. It’s a warm-up session that prepares them for the day’s activities, be it hunting or hustling away from predators.

The Mating Game: Push-Ups for Attention

When the season of love rolls around, push-ups become part of the lizard’s mating display. Quick push-ups combined with head bobs can be the lizard equivalent of swiping right. It’s a way to catch the eye of a potential mate and show off their prowess.

Only the fittest, flashiest, and most frequent push-up performers win the heart—or at least the attention—of the discerning female.

Conclusion: A Push-Up for Every Purpose

Lizards doing push-ups is a quirky but critical behavior that serves multiple purposes in their survival and social toolbox.

From declaring dominion over a sun-drenched rock to wooing a mate, these reptilian reps are more than just a whimsical wonder; they’re an essential part of being a lizard.