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Ahhh, Siblings–Reptile Siblings, That Is! It’s a Love/Hate Thing by Elaine A. Powers, Author

two tortoises on grass; small territorial tortoise is chasing large guest tortoise
Zoe lets Duke know to whom exactly the backyard belongs

I have a bunch of reptiles as pets, or family members actually, in my house. Some of my pets free-roam around my house, like dogs and cats. Some live in their own enclosures with roaming privileges inside and outside.  And finally, some live outside all the time because they are natives. With 20-odd reptiles in the household, there will be interactions.

People think reptiles don’t have much personality, but they really do.  Each animal is a distinct being with his or her own preferences and level of assertiveness. They are also very intelligent, they know the difference between people, and like to go where they’ve been told not to go. So it should come as no surprise that not all reptiles get along.

A rock iguana on top of an enclosure
Blue Rock Iguana roaming the Reptile Room

It’s to be expected that male iguanas might be aggressive toward each other, so they are kept apart. However, I did not expect the epic battles between Blue Rock Iguana and Duke Sulcata Tortoise. Iguanas fight by biting each on the backs of their necks. So Blue tries very hard to bite Duke’s back, but can’t get his teeth into the hard shell.  Normally Duke would ram his opponent, but in this case, he tries to bite Blue back.  All Blue has to do is lean to the side. Fruitless battles.

However, some of the reptiles are more effective at keeping Duke in his place. Zoe Desert Tortoise is not delighted when Duke comes outside and visits her yard. She will chase him around, nipping at his back legs. He weighs around 130 pounds, while she tops out at 20.

Ela doesn’t like Ezra catching some rays in the backyard

Zoe does get along with Ela, Desert Box Turtle, even allowing her to share her hibernaculum. And Ela shares Zoe’s defensive tendencies of the yard.  Here she is charging at Ezra Green Iguana, when he was just out enjoying some sun. Ezra, who is elderly, had to keep inching away from his attacker.

On tile floor, female red-foot tortoises sidle up to the large male sulcate tortoise
The red-foot female tortoises surely love a visit from big Duke

Lest you think my household is filled with hostility, many of my reptiles get along just fine.  The female Red-foot Tortoises find Duke quite attractive, and he likes all females.

A spiny-tail iguana, a green iguana and a red-foot tortoise share the space by a screen door
Rose, a Red-foot tortoise, with Krinkle, the Spiny-Tail Iguana, and Ezra, the Green Iguana, share the space by the screen door.

Many of the reptiles have formed inter-species friendships, such as some of my tortoises and iguanas. Here are Rose Tortoise, Krinkle Spiny-tail and Ezra Green Iguana sharing some morning sunshine.

Lyric Power Publishing is very proud of its comprehensive workbooks with a wide variety of activity sheets. The hands-on workbooks and activities are wonderful for supplementing your child’s education during the long summer. Check out our 47-page tortoise workbook and our 30-page iguana workbook. They are chock-full of interesting information and fun activities.

You child might also enjoy:

a green book cover with an image of freshwater turtles

A light blue and white book cover with an image of multi-colored river rocks
The Rock Cycle cut and paste project in this lesson comes from this workbook. It also includes work pages on rock collecting.
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