There’s a whole lot of valuable information to be learned from a lizard’s diet – whether it’s a picky eater or a generalist, whether it’s eating pests, or plants, or even other lizards. The list goes on and on. So much of a lizard’s role in an ecosystem is wrapped up in who it eats, and where, that finding ways to answer that question is really useful.
Of course, once a lizard’s chomped down on something, there are only a very few ways to get it back. Slicing open the lizard is effective, but I much prefer that the lizard can run away to tell the tale after the ordeal. There’s the age old “just wait around” method, but, while effective, this one suffers on many fronts largely relating to having to identify small chunks of digested insect parts in a soggy poop-pellet. The last method, and the one I’ll be using, is stomach flushing.
A friend of mine, Adam Rosenblatt, just made a video very elegantly illustrating this method. I’d highly recommend giving it a look. I’ll make a companion video this summer flushing my lizards’ stomachs.
You’ll note the similarities in technique – a noose to catch the lizard, a little tube to pump the water into the stomach, and handy by-standers to hold the lizard and catch the effluvia. You may also spot a few differences, most notably, he does all of his catching at night, his lizards will happily redistribute a biologist’s body parts, and max out around 14 ft in length.
But. It’s pretty much the same. Enjoy the video!
You can catch more of Adam’s stories here, and you should follow him on twitter: @aroseadam