4 Things Reptile Stewardship Will Teach You About Life

Rachel Presser
5 min readJun 17, 2022
Large and curious black and gray monitor lizard exploring a mossy stone wall on dirt floor in enclosure
Licensed via Adobe Stock // I wanna hold the baby!

In bringing you that hard-hitting varanid journalism, one picks up some unexpected morsels of life in interacting with big lizards.

There’s even more facets to reptile husbandry beyond the care and stewardship of monitor lizards, endangered Komodo dragons, geckos, snakes, and then their amphibious counterparts like frogs, toads, and newts. Caring for toads made me a less fatalistic person and there’s much to learn from regular interaction with amphibians.

The same is true for big lizards: here’s what being into and caring for those big, intelligent varanids has taught me about the human condition.

We need constant enrichment.

Wouldn’t you get bored doing the same things, wandering the same places, over and over again? It was discussed in the first two years of the pandemic so much: that if you weren’t risking death and long-term disability going to work, you were stuck at home doing Zoom meetings, housework, and catching up on games and movies. Baking sourdough boules went from meditative to overrated.

Giant lizards need enrichment too!

Monitors are so smart and even have long memory. Watch what happens when Elvis, a huge and sweet Asian water monitor, gets a puzzle feeder meant for dogs! (Cued it up for you.)

A lack of enrichment leads to boredom, and long-term boredom leads to stasis. Not only does regularly interacting and talking to your pet lizard provide enrichment, but so do activities and trying different kinds of food!

Not barring autism and other neurodivergences that make people gravitate to “samefoods”, most people will get bored having the same things over and over. Reptiles need variety just like humans do, while they still have their favorite foods. Who wouldn’t want a good excuse to make a giant lizard charcuterie board?

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Rachel Presser

Game dev, writer, small biz & tax consultant to indie devs. That loud socialist Frog Slut from The Bronx, now in Angel City. https://linktr.ee/sonictoad