Today in cool things we didn't even know were possible: A man has trained lizards to wave when they want out of their enclosure.
But he's not just any man and these aren't just any reptiles.
In a fascinating new video uploaded to YouTube, an Australian zoologist and wildlife expert dubbed the "Croc Doc" explains how he used positive reinforcement — or what he calls "operant conditioning" — to shape the behavior of a pair of monitor lizards.
As he reveals in the six minute and twenty-six second clip (totally worth the extended run time IMO), he shares his home with two lace monitors (one named Alex, the other unknown) who reside in a roomy glass enclosure complete with a fake rock cliff, climbing logs, and a pair of basking areas where they soak up rays from a UV lamp hung above.
In an effort to provide them with enrichment, the lizards — both of whom sport stunning stripes — are given license to explore the living room, stare out the windows, and catch some 💤s on the sofa when he's at home (one can
And the coolest thing about it all: The critters have learned through a three-step process to wait patiently on the nest box next to the enclosure's sliding door and motion to him when they are ready to be released.
While he notes that this is "unusual" for the species, it's also something they've learned to anticipate — which cuts against the popular conceptions of lizards as "slow and dimwitted" animals.
Over time, he adds, he's slowly positioned his hand further and further away so they had to "intentionally reach" for it, hence their waving motion which sometimes even resembles a high five.
Is your mind blown? My mind is blown.
Watch it all in the video embedded below:
Have you taught your pets any cool tricks? Share them with us in the comments below!